Born in 1874, Rose O'Neill demonstrated her artistic talents early when at the age of 13 she won an newspaper art contest. By the age of 19, she was living in New York City as a professional artist, illustrating books, magazine articles, and advertisements. In the December 1909 issue of Ladies' Home Journal O'Neill's most famous creation appeared, the chubby cheerful Kewpie, whom O'Neill described as "a sort of little round fairy whose one idea is to teach people to be merry and kind at the same time". Her Kewpie cartoons were a popular hit and in 1912 the German doll company J.D. Kestner began to manufacture her appealing imps in bisque. Kewpie dolls would later be made in cloth, celluloid, and composition, and O'Neill would expand her cast of Kewpieville characters to include others, such as the toddler Scootles and Doodle Dog, a canine companion to the Kewpies. O'Neill published and illustrated a number of children's books featuring her Kewpies, but she was much more than the creator of the Kewpie. She wrote and illustrated novels and books of poetry and continued to produce fine artwork. After studying with famed French sculptor Auguste Rodin, O'Neill created sculptural works as well. An ardent advocate for women's rights, O'Neill was active in the suffragist movement, creating cartoons and posters promoting the right of women to vote.
This trio of bisque Kewpie dolls belongs to member Beverly Evans. The pudgy pup is Doodle Dog.
This composition Kewpie was the childhood doll of member Sylvia McDonald and is wearing a dress crocheted by Sylvia's grandmother. Sylvia members her parents struggling (ultimately with success) to restring her beloved doll, using a strip of rubber from an old inner tube from the family car and a bent a coat hanger.