Kewpie dolls and figurines are based on illustrations by Rose O'Neill that appeared in Ladies' Home Journal in 1909. These illustrations, which incorporated words and pictures with the recurring Kewpie characters, are considered to be early versions of the comic strip medium. The small dolls were extremely popular in the early 1900s. They were first made out of bisque and then celluloid. In 1949, Effanbee created the first hard plastic versions.
Their name, often shortened to "Kewpies", in fact is derived from "Cupid.". The early dolls, especially signed or bisque, are highly collectible and worth thousands of dollars. The time capsule at the 1939 New York World's Fair contained a Kewpie doll.