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Rose O'Neill, Editorial Cartoons

 Collection — Box: 001
Identifier: MS-0500

Scope and Contents

The papers consists of original artwork and prints, original Kewpie comics, newspaper and magazine clippings of O'Neill's artwork, and photocopies of letters to and from Jamie O'Neill while in school in Nebraska.


  • circa 1888-1936

Conditions Governing Access

The papers are only minimally processed but are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with the University of Nebraska. Copyrights are retained by the creators of the papers or their designees. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections.

Biographical / Historical

Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and raised in rural Nebraska, Rose O'Neill (1874-1944) taught herself how to draw and created the first comic strip published by a woman in the United States. She first achieved artistic success at the age of thirteen when she won a drawing prize from the Omaha World-Herald. At the age of nineteen, O'Neill moved from Nebraska to New York City to start her illustration career, and quickly had her work published in magazines including Truth, Life, Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, and Good Housekeeping. O'Neill moved to Missouri in 1901.

In 1909, O'Neill created the Kewpies, which resembled and were named after Cupid, the Roman god of love. Kewpies frequently featured in Good Housekeeping and Woman's Home Compamnion and, due to public demand, became manufactured as porcelain dolls. O'Neill became a millionaire from the sales of the dolls. O'Neill continued her career in illustration and became an artist for companies such as Jell-O, Kelloggs, and Eastman Kodak. O'Neill died in 1944 and was buried at her Bonniebrook home in the Missouri Ozarks.


3 Linear Feet (1 OS box)

Language of Materials


Finding aid prepared by Sarah Glover, 2022.
(cc) 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries Repository

Archives & Special Collections
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries
P.O. Box 884100
Lincoln NE 68588-4100 United States