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Author photo. Credit: Gertrude Käsebier, circa 1907 <br>(LoC Prints and Photographs Division, <br>LC-DIG-ppmsca-12045)

Credit: Gertrude Käsebier, circa 1907
(LoC Prints and Photographs Division,
LC-DIG-ppmsca-12045)

Rose O'Neill (1874–1944)

Author of The Kewpie Primer

Includes the names: Rose O'Neil, Rose Cecil O'Neill

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Short biography
Rose Cecil O’Neill loved to draw as a child. By the age of 15, she was illustrating periodicals to help support her family. Her father took her to Chicago to see the World Columbian Exposition of 1893 and then on to New York City to work. She became an extremely popular illustrator and eventually made a fortune. In the September 19, 1896 issue of True Magazine, Rose O'Neill became the first American women cartoonist with her "The Old Subscriber" cartoon strip. She wrote novels such as The Loves of Edwy (1904) and The Lady in the White Veil (1909), as well as a collection of poems. Rose O'Neill was also the inventor of the world famous"‘Kewpie" dolls. In 1896, she married Gary Latham, a young man she had met in Omaha; he appeared as a model in many of her works at this time. The marriage was unhappy and the couple divorced in 1901. The following year, she married Harry Leon Wilson, a novelist and literary editor of Puck magazine, for whom Rose drew illustrations; they divorced in 1907. Rose O'Neill became a women's rights advocate and presided over a salon in her Washington Square apartment frequented by poets, actors, dancers, and the intellectuals of her day.
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