Way Back When... 1922
Rose O’Neill, the creator of Kewpie, a brand of dolls and figurines that were conceived as comic strip characters by O’Neill in 1909, owned a mansion in Westport.
The illustrated cartoons, appearing as baby cupid characters, began to gain popularity after the publication of O’Neill's comic strips in 1909, and she began to illustrate and sell paper doll versions of the Kewpies.
The characters were first produced as bisque dolls in Waltershausen, Germany, beginning in 1912, and became extremely popular in the early 20th century.
In 1922 O’Neill bought a 10-acre estate on the Saugatuck River.
According to Connecticuthistory.org, O’Neil purchased her 11-room Westport mansion (Castle Caraba) in 1922, “where she welcomed artists, writers, cartoonists, and musicians, including such notables as Martha Graham and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.”
While an array of O’Neill’s art was eventually exhibited at galleries in Paris and New York to much acclaim, it remains the Kewpie doll for which O’Neill is best remembered.