Rose O'Neill - Mother of the Kewpies
Rose O'Neill, born 1874-JUN-25 in Wilkes Barre (Pennsylvania), had originally designed her Kewpies for the Ladies' Home Journal. After publication of her drawings, she received lots of letters from children asking her to make these Kewpies so that they could actually hold them in their hands. Since the early 1900s the German region of Thuringia was well-known for its porcelain but also for its huge number of toy and doll factories. Rose decided to travel there and search for a manufacturer who could help her produce the Kewpies.
She found more than one and chose doll producer Kestner & Co. (Ohrdruf) as main supplier. That factory was soon unable to comply due to the dramatic increase in orders which interfered with their regular production runs. Next in priority came the factory of Hermann Voigt (Schaala near Rudolstadt), then Gebrüder Voigt (Sitzendorf), and finally the company of Hertwig & Co. (Katzhütte). The job of deciding upon which factory received specific orders and then importing the finished figures was given to the company of George Borgfeldt & Co. (New York). Even if that is known today one can not really say at what factory which Kewpies were produced, perhaps with exception of the the 'rider' kewpies which were definitely produced at the factory of Hermann Voigt (Schaala).
Talking about Kewpies often ends up with having to discuss the "reproductions" (some people say 'fakes') made and sold by Roland Schlegel, proprietor of the German Doll Company.
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