Monday, July 28, 2014

Kewpie Dolls at Tuesday Morning

I've been interested antique and vintage Kewpie dolls for a while now. Such adorable little faces with precious side glancing eyes. Imagine my surprise to walk in to Tuesday Morning and find new Kewpie dolls on the shelf!

The History of Kewpie

In case anyone isn't familiar with Kewpie Dolls, here's a little background information. Rose O'Neill, born in 1874, was an American illustrator, artist and writer. In 1909, she created the popular comic characters, Kewpies. According to O'Neill, the idea for Kewpies came to her in a dream. Her first Kewpie illustrations were printed in the December 1909 issue of Ladies' Home Journal, and from there, Kewpie became internationally popular. Her Kewpie illustrations were sculpted into dolls in 1912.

The first Kewpie dolls were made of bisque by J.D. Kestner in Germany from 1912-1915.

Kewpie dolls were an international hit, and by 1914, O'Neill had become the highest paid female illustrator in the country. The Kewpie brand became a household name, and her illustrations were used to advertise products from Kellog's Corn Flakes to Jell-O, Colgate, and Sears.

Composition and celluloid Kewpie dolls were produced in the United States from 1916 to the 1930's.

Composition Kewpie

Celluloid Kewpie
Sears Catalog 1922
Wow, can you believe composition Kewpie dolls were only 58¢ each from the Sears Catalog in 1922?

In 1949, Effanbee created the first hard plastic Kewpie dolls. Soft rubber and vinyl Kewpies were produced by Cameo and Jesco starting in the 1960's.

Kewpie Today 

I am excited to see that after 100 years, Kewpie dolls are still popular enough to be found in stores today.

These come in a clear plastic box with a pink and green cardboard liner. The front of the box simply says Kewpie An American Treasure.

The back says ©2011 Charisma Brands. Kewpie is a registered trademark under license from Jesco. It also mentions that Kewpies were created in 1909 by illustrator Rose O'Neill. The bottom right corner says This is not a toy. For the adult collector over 14 years of age. I'm not sure why they are recommended for ages 14 and up, since they're vinyl dolls. I guess they were designed for collectors.

Here's little Kewpie Bunny Hop out of her box. The dolls stand about 8" tall (not including their costumes).

Her pink jacket with ruffled sleeves has a tag attached that says Kewpie Handcrafted in China for Cameo Collectibles.

Her furry white and pink bunny ear headband is removable.

Under her pink jacket, she is wearing a white eyelet sundress with gathered top, pink and white floral trim, organza sleeves, and pink tulle attached underskirt.

The dress closes in the back with two hook and eye fasteners. She is marked Jesco on her back.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a little red heart actually painted on her chest, reminiscent of the red paper heart sticker the first Kewpie dolls had. She has white bloomers, white lacy socks with tiny pink bows in the back, and pink shoes.

Her complete ensemble.

She has painted side-glancing eyes with tiny painted upper lashes, the classic watermelon smile, and rosy chubby cheeks. She has molded tufts of hair on the top, sides, and back of her head.

She is jointed at the neck, shoulders, and hips.

She has cute dimpled knees and the impression of her big toe sculpted on each foot. She can stand well on her own with or without her shoes.

She has chubby starfish shaped hands.

I like her best dressed in her eyelet dress sans the jacket and bunny ears. I'll save the jacket for winter and the bunny ears for Halloween or Easter. For now, I like seeing her cute little molded tufts of hair.

My 11 year old daughter picked Kewpie dressed in a Sock Monkey costume.

The little Sock Monkey hat is so adorable and it is very well made with embroidered monkey face, a big pom pom on top, and smaller pom pom tassels hanging from the hat's ear flaps.

Actually, all of the Kewpie clothes are very well made with embroidered details, lining, finished seams, snaps, and hook and eye fasteners (no velcro). The back of the Sock Monkey costume closes with two snaps. There's even a little curled monkey tail.

There are little monkey footprint toes embroidered on the bottom of the feet.

My 8 year old daughter chose the cat themed Kewpie wearing a frilly pink dress.

She is wearing a removable grey furry hat with pink cat ears, darker grey lining, and bright pink pom poms.

Her adorable dress is bright pink with layers and layers of ruffles.

Her dress closes in the back with one snap and one hook and eye fastener.

Underneath all the layers of ruffles, she has on white bloomers.

She has white socks with pink tulle ruffles and grey shoes with embroidered kitty faces.

I haven't seen Kewpie dolls at any other stores. I did find them on for $34.99 each, but they appear to be out of stock. I think these are an excellent deal at Tuesday Morning for just $14.99.

I also have to show you this vintage bisque Kewpie that I got for my birthday Saturday. Local antique store find. The sticker on the bottom says Made in Japan.

I'm adding this picture of Kewpie with Mini American Girl Kit for size comparison. Mini American Girls are 6" tall. Kewpie, at 8",  is a little taller and of course chubbier.

What do you think of the Kewpie dolls from Tuesday Morning? Any Kewpie collectors out there? Please leave a comment below.

Have a great week!


  1. They're cute (and larger than I would have expected). I actually hadn't realized that Kewpie dolls were still in production, so it's interesting to see what they look like these days!

    1. Thanks jSarie! I just added a picture of Kewpie with Mini American Girl Kit to help show the size of these Kewpies. Kewpies have been made in all sizes over the past 100 years, from less than one inch to over 20" tall.

  2. I saw these when I was look for more J-Dolls/mini-Pullips at our local TM but I wasn't sold on them since I stick to fashion dolls. The monkey-suited one almost came home with me since I do collect monkeys, but I just couldn't convince myself.

    1. Hi Scraps! I agree that Kewpie's are a different type of doll than fashion dolls. Well, they do wear clothes and can be dressed like fashion dolls, but the look is different. They were designed to look like cupid, so it gives them a younger appearance, similar to a chubby baby or toddler doll. I tend to like a wide variety of types of dolls. Don't you think it's great that every collection is different and personalized? It keeps things interesting. :) It's best to only add what you love to your collection.
      Happy collecting!!!

  3. I am very excited about my Kewpie I have to small Kewpies

  4. Kewpie she is Very sweet loveable little doll I ever new of my little girl very excited about her


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