BRANSON, Mo. (AP) - The iconic Kewpie doll with its wide-eyed stare is turning 100 this year.
The Springfield News-Leader reported that the doll is the brainchild of southwest Missouri artist Rose O'Neill. She created the Kewpie character in 1909 in her studio at the family home of Bonniebrook near Branson.
Readers inspired by the stories and illustrations began requesting Kewpies they could hold. A German factory made the first dolls in 1912, and they quickly became a global sensation.
The head of the Bonniebrook Historical Society, Susan Scott, says O'Neill made models for 12 sizes of Kewpies. Scott says O'Neill took a personal interest in the dolls' production. She made sure the dolls' painters knew the smallest Kewpie needed the most attention because those were the ones poor children's families could afford.