bum rap

Kewpie doll (toy)

Kewpie dolls and figurines are based on comic strip-like illustrations by Rose O'Neill that appeared in Ladies' Home Journal in 1909. The small dolls were extremely popular in the early 1900s. They were first produced in Ohrdruf, a small town in Germany, then famous for its toy-manufacturers. They were made out of bisque and then celluloid. In 1949, Effanbee created the first hard plastic versions.

Their name, often shortened to "Kewpies", is derived from "cupid, the Roman god of beauty and non-platonic love. The early dolls, especially signed or bisque, are highly collectible and worth thousands of dollars. The time capsule at the 1939 New York World's Fair contained a Kewpie doll. The term "Kewpie doll" is sometimes mistakenly applied to the troll doll.

Many other articles were made using their images, for example, coloring and poem books, cups, plates, curios, etc. The incredible success of these characters made their creator rich and famous. It's a rare example of a woman becoming successful in the media business at such an early date. Kewpies should not be confused with the baby-like Billiken figures that debuted in 1908.

The Kewpie doll was mentioned in Anne Frank's diary. She received one on her first St Nicholas Day in the Annex from Miep and Bep.


The Kewpie doll is the mascot of Kewpee Hamburgers, a chain of fast-food restaurants originally founded in 1923 in Flint, Michigan by Samuel V. Blair under the name "Kewpee Hotel Hamburgs". With only five locations left (three in Lima, Ohio, one in Lansing, Michigan and one in Racine, Wisconsin) it has been called America's smallest hamburger chain. The one in downtown Lima is the only remaining Kewpee with the original building structure.

Q.P. Corporation is a Japanese food manufacturer, famous for its popular brand of Japanese mayonnaise sold in plastic squeeze bottles with a Kewpie doll logo.

The Kewpie is the current mascot of Hickman High School in Columbia, Missouri. It is the only known school in the world with a Kewpie as its mascot. The name dates back to 1914 when a student working for the Columbia High School yearbook, the Cresset, drew a Kewpie holding a sign that dedicated the book to the basketball team "whose loyalty to the school and the Kewpie motto ‘Keep Smiling’ has won the State Championship."

External links

  • Kewpie Dolls Resource Center Kewpie Resource Center: 2004 - 2007 Cameo Kewpies now manufactured by Charisma Brands
  • "Gathering Place" for all Hickman High School Kewpie Classmates


Further reading

  • Kewpies Dolls & Art With Value Guide: Dolls & Art, With Value Guide September 2001, ISBN 0-87588-589-6
  • Bum Rap In Branson Kewpie dolls and Rose O'Neill play a prominent part in this mystery novel by J.R. Ripley (Glenn Meganck), Beachfront Publishing, 2004, ISBN 1-892339-89-7
  • Kewpies And Beyond Shelley Armitage, University Press of Mississippi, ISBN 0-87805-711-0

Manufactured by Charisma Brands in Irvine California

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