Love and Kewpies Are in the Air at the Balboa Island Museum
Balboa Island – Kewpies were one of the first mass-produced toys in the world. These grinning baby dolls with the funny little tufts of hair and chubby cheeks were created by self-taught artist Rose O’Neill, and were initially conceptualized as a cartoon intended for a comic strip in 1909. O’Neill said, “The idea grew from a baby brother when I was a little girl. I made drawings of him while I played with him. All his little looks and gestures came out later in the Kewpie.”
A collection of Kewpie dolls and memorabilia is now on display at the Balboa Island Museum located on Marine Avenue. Come take a walk down memory lane or discover Kewpie for the first time. You are sure to be delighted! A recent visitor at the Museum shared his Kewpie memory. “When I was courting my wife of almost 45 years, we had a wonderful day and evening together in San Francisco. The next morning, I planned a day to go to Santa Cruz to the Boardwalk. I announced to her with glee in the morning, ‘I’m going to take you to Santa Cruz and win you a Kewpie Doll!’ We are still on a wonderful journey together.”
These artifacts are on loan from Balboa Island resident and Museum President, Shirley Pepys, who was involved with the design and merchandising of the Kewpie doll.
The Museum’s Balboa Island Love Stories are also on display. Dozens of local residents have contributed stories detailing how they met and fell in love on Balboa Island.