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Rose O'Neill: 1907

Rose O'Neill: 1907

New York, 1907. Studio portrait of illustrator Rose O'Neill, originator of the Kewpie doll. View full size. Dry plate glass negative by Gertrude Käsebier.


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Cigarettes and Rose

I visited Rose O'Neill's home near Branson, Missouri. The tour guide mentioned that Rose was a notorious smoker. The tour guide said that the family told stories of Rose getting off of trains with a cigarette in her hand. Her mother and family members were quite embarrassed by this and tried to get her to hide her smoking. But Rose would not listen and did little to hide her habit.

This could explain why this picture is retouched.

Rose's Cig

I think that's a cigarette, the white isn't a band, it's the cigarette paper. I think there's been an attempt to retouch the photo and get rid of it. In 1907, a woman smoking was considered scandalous.

Sometimes a cigar...

Yeah, that is odd. It appears that the whole hand area has been retouched, the cigar and smoke painted in. The cigar band just happens to line up with the finger behind it?


Great portrait, if a bit artsy and posed, like other works by Kasebier I've seen here on Shorpy (amazing site, btw). The fabric of her robe (kimono?) is especially beautiful. It makes me want to see it in color. Also, is that a cigar between her fingers?

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