The papers of Marjorie Henderson Buell—known as “Marge” to Little Lulu’s millions of fans—now live at the Schlesinger Library, thanks to the generosity of her sons, Lawrence Buell, the Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard, and Frederick Buell, professor of English at Queens College, City University of New York.
An exhibition of selections from the “Marge” collection includes early drawings and illustrations from Buell’s teenage years through her early published works from Life Magazine, Colliers, and the Saturday Evening Post, including her syndicated strips, “The Boy Friend” and “Steaming Youth,” which capture the zeitgeist of the Roaring Twenties.
Buell, who was born in 1904 and grew up in Philadelphia, was the first woman cartoonist to achieve worldwide fame as well as commercial success. Moreover, she kept the rights to the Little Lulu character from its inception in 1935 until 1972 when she retired with her husband, Clarence Buell. Meanwhile, Buell presided over a merchandising empire that included Little Lulu dolls, lunch boxes, clothing, toys, puzzles, and candy, some of which are included in the exhibition.