Tillie was every women’s envy and every man’s dream.
Tillie the toiler was a comic strip created by Russ Westover in the early part of the 20th century. The strip was based on a flapper character and was originally called “Rose of the Office.” After Rose became Tillie, the name change was effective enough to cause syndication in newspapers, which lasted from 1921 to 1959. In our day of working women with many women oriented cartoons and comic strips, such as Sally Forth and Cathy, it is hard to imagine how unusual Tillie was, being a working “girl.” Women marveled at her worldliness, her ability to command herself in business and her ability to keep every hair in place.
Russ Westover created Tillie and oversaw the
production process until 1954. The strip was
drawn by his apprentice, Bob Gustafson, after
that and continued until March 15, 1959.
Until “Winnie Winkle, the Breadwinner,” comic strip in 1921, women were not portrayed in the workplace. But, with the success of Winnie, King Syndicates was open to running Tillie and she soon took her place in the Sunday papers as well as the daily. Tillie was assertive with just the right amount of feminine cunning. She wrapped her guile in the most sophisticated fashions of the day, merging her office performance with modeling the clothing line of J. Simpkin’s women’s wear company.
Tillie, Mr. Simpkins and Mac are touring the USA
with Simpkin’s new clothing line. They meet the
Mayor of a stop-over city. Tillie flirts with the Mayor
while Mac awkwardly tries to say something profound.
Working for Mr. Simpkin’s and watching out for his interests, Tillie had many unusual ways to accomplish the company’s business goals. She usually did less office work than other employees, but brought in contracts and sales in spectacular eleventh hour dramas. Mr. Simpkins actually did fire her on occasions, and then hire her back, but most often she turned his scorn into adulation when she came through for the company, once again.
Tillie was never at a loss for words when handling her suitors.
Many years have passed since Tillie and her comic friends brought happiness to the nation’s children. As with many paper dolls from the 20th century, comics were printed as part of periodical magazines and newspaper. Being seen as temporary, most comics were used as packing or thrown out with little regard for the hours of creative endeavor involved. A few were saved, however, by those who considered comics and their paper doll enticements to be art, therefore worthy of collecting. As each paper doll is a treasure, they are too good to be hidden away. Believing that, Sunbonnet Smart is ready to share their Vintage Paper Doll Collection with you
The comics and paper dolls from the Sunbonnet Smart Vintage Paper Doll Collection have been scanned from the originals, published nearly a century ago. The images have been enlarged to show detail and to help small hands cut them out with more success. Here we begin to share a lifelong love of paper dolls as a tribute to the inexpensive pleasures they bring. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.