timeline

born 1874

Kewpie fever hit in time for Christmas 1909, soon after Rose O'Neill debuted her friendly little cupid characters in Ladies' Home Journal. A self-taught artist famous for political cartoons, Rose had been a working illustrator since 13. But kewpies that made Rose's fortune. With her millions, she supported a large family {an Ozarks mansion for her beloved mother} and many an artist {at her bohemian salon+colony, Castle Carabas}.

Twice divorced, Rose challenged society's gender roles through the suffrage movement and her own art ~ critically fêted drawings, poetry and novels still widely admired today.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Rose O'Neill (21)

"Bah! why do artists always represent Fortune as a woman? Because of the way she smiles on the rich fellows, regardless of their other qualities."

Puck | april 1903

"You are a woman. So am I. We have the same problem. We are of one sisterhood. Let us help each other."

in The Times Dispatch {Richmond, Va.} | july 1914

"I see a greater kindness in the eyes of women for women. The women’s movement has caused this."

in The Times Dispatch {Richmond, Va.} | july 1914

"I amuse myself with the idea that my Kewpies are a symbol of the American spirit."

in The Times Dispatch {Richmond, Va.} | july 1914

"Fallen women, and women who marry for any reason other than love, are identical."

Woman’s the Virtues, Man’s the Stupidity, Is the Division the Gentle Inventor of Kewpies Makes | april 1915

"Woman is a sheep, placidly convinced of her unalterable sheepishness. She has yet to learn that she is far the greater of the two sexes."

Woman’s the Virtues, Man’s the Stupidity, Is the Division the Gentle Inventor of Kewpies Makes | april 1915

"Man has made and ignorantly kept woman a slave."

Woman’s the Virtues, Man’s the Stupidity, Is the Division the Gentle Inventor of Kewpies Makes | april 1915

"Men have been the specialists. Women have done all the rest."

Woman’s the Virtues, Man’s the Stupidity, Is the Division the Gentle Inventor of Kewpies Makes | april 1915

"Moral shocks are absurd."

Woman’s the Virtues, Man’s the Stupidity, Is the Division the Gentle Inventor of Kewpies Makes | april 1915

"We all die sooner than we want, and if we do not, that is a still greater tragedy."

Woman’s the Virtues, Man’s the Stupidity, Is the Division the Gentle Inventor of Kewpies Makes | april 1915

"I have a thrilling hope that women are going to do something glorious in the arts. It is my passionate conviction. I am always indignant when women are denied creative power in art."

Woman’s the Virtues, Man’s the Stupidity, Is the Division the Gentle Inventor of Kewpies Makes | april 1915

"The first step is to free women from the yoke of modern fashions and modern dress. How can they hope to compete with men when they are boxed up tight in the clothes that are worn today?"

Rose O’Neill in Campaign to Introduce her Novel Art Garb | april 1915

"May your Christmas fire burn merrily, and joy and peace abide. For it's in the flickering shadows that the good luck Kewpies hide."

Kewpie Christmas card | circa 1920

"I am in love with magic and monsters, and the drama of form emerging from the formless."

Rose O’Neill’s Sculptured Drawings | march 1922

"Let us be soft, / Let us not be brave; / Nor put more iron ships upon the wave"

"Soft Song" | october 1922

"Blow out trouble; Speed its going. Bring the New Year, Bright and glowing."

Kewpie New Year's card | 1923

"I wish...I didn't have an earthly thing to do, But sit around and think of lovely things I'd like to have this Christmas bring to you."

Kewpie Christmas card | 1923

"I’m so simple. It’s revolting. I give people a chance to think. I go towards them softly."

quoted in The New Yorker | 1934

"How much life is lost making a living!"

The Story of Rose O'Neill | 1940

"I was always rebellious against harness and hair-pins."

The Story of Rose O'Neill | 1940

"But in my youth the sight of the good paper sheet! (It might have been the beautiful blank page at the end of books.) The capable empty sheet with its hospitality, a white receptacle for the multitudinous possible—oh possible—guest! My heart leaped up as at a rainbow."

The Story of Rose O'Neill | 1940
  • Quotabelle profile
  • Rose O'Neill

curated with care by Meghan Miller Brawley {august 2014}