Before we had the Web to amuse us with its endless supply of photographs and videos of kittens and cats, people around the world eagerly turned to the funny pages of their daily newspapers to follow the antics of a dog. His name was Snoopy, and this white beagle with a black nose and tail (he originally had a black spot on his back, too) was just one of the characters populating the Peanuts comic strip, created in 1950 by a St. Paul, Minnesota, cartoonist named Charles M. Schulz. Running from October 2, 1950, to February 13, 2000, the strip was published by more than 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries, at one point boasting a daily readership of more than 355 million, which is a Web-scale number well before its time.

The Peanuts gang, as they are usually called, grew out of an even earlier strip called Li’l Folks, which ran in the St. Paul Pioneer Press from 1947 to 1950, the year Peanuts was born. That first year, the characters were limited to Charlie Brown, Shermy, Patty, and Snoopy, whose first appearance was on October 4, 1950, two days after the strip’s debut on October 2. Other early characters from the 1950s included Schroeder, who played Beethoven on a toy piano; Lucy, who dispensed psychiatric advice for a nickel; Linus, who carried his security blanket everywhere; Pig-Pen, who moved through the world in a cloud of dust; and Charlie Brown’s little sister, Sally, who was in love with Linus. No adults are ever seen in the strip, making it a kid’s world on kid’s terms.

The 1950s laid the foundation for Peanuts, both in terms of its growth as an enterprise and the development of its characters and austere look (Schulz rarely bothered to pencil in backgrounds behind his squat, round-headed subjects). To encourage the former, Peanuts appeared in numerous comic books, from a handful of issues of United Comics (also known as Fritzi Ritz) to numerous issues of Sparkle, Tip Top (issue 188 featured a Peanuts cover), and Tip Topper, all published by United. Dell also published a number of Peanuts four-colors, including the highly sought Dell 878 from 1958, which featured Charlie Brown watching television from a green easy chair (with Snoopy poking his head from under the chair’s seat cushion.

In fact, television is what broadened the strip’s popularity when, in December of 1965, the first of six Peanuts animated television specials in the 1960s aired. Titled “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the show continued the surprisingly adult themes of the strip (in particular, Charlie Brown’s struggles with depression) and introduced overtly religious content in the form of Linus reciting passages from the New Testament. The special even featured a jazz soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi. The whole thing should have been a flop, but half of all United States households with television sets tuned in, making it one of the most watched programs of the decade, winning an Emmy and a Peabody.

Schultz’s reality-based whimsy was soon the stuff of school lunch boxes (some rectangular, others domed to resemble Snoopy’s dog house), character dolls, jigsaw puzzles, and record players. Rubber squeeze dolls manufactured by Hungerford had been around since the late 1950s, when Charlie Brown’s head was still more of an oval than a circle. By the time Boucher started producing vinyl Peanuts dolls in the mid-1960s, though, the geometry had gotten more circular. Other early Peanuts products include toy drums, musical buses, and tin lithographed battery-operated space ships featuring Snoopy as a helmeted astronaut (albeit with a hole in the front to accommodate the dog’s protruding profile).


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood

Embrace your inner child on this website from the Victoria and Albert Museum, filled with high-quality images and i… [read review or visit site]

Advertising Antiques

Advertising Antiques

This classy looking British site features hundreds of high resolution photos of antique porcelain pre-war (enamel) … [read review or visit site]

Ad Access

Ad Access

Duke University's library has pulled together an impressive collection of over 7,000 ads printed in U.S. and Canadi… [read review or visit site]

Plan 59

Plan 59

From the Nostlagia Factory in Virginia comes this celebration of 'mid-century automotive advertising illustrations'… [read review or visit site]

American Package Museum

American Package Museum

Ian House's gallery of early 20th Century American package designs. Browse the exhibits in slide show mode or view … [read review or visit site]

Found in Moms Basement

Found in Moms Basement

Paula Zargaj-Reynolds’ blog, an extensive collection of 20th century vintage advertising, is a visual feast. Scro… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage 1940's Fresh Roasted Peanuts 19" Lighted Metal Sign~worksVintage Usaf Type P-4b Jet Pilot Flying Helmet & Liner Personalized W/snoopy Classic & Rare 1969 Snoopy Astronaut Peanuts Toy Figurine W/ Original Box Mib!!!Peanuts Merry Christmas Music Box Danbury Mint Charlie Brown Snoopy WoodstockNasa Silver Snoopy Award Gemmy Prototype Christmas Snoopy Helicopter Inflatable AirblownVintage 1958 Snoopy Playing Tennis Watch By United Feature Synd.Gemmy Prototype Easter Happy Easter Snoopy Inflatable AirblownSquirrel Brand Salted Peanuts Cardboard Advertising Store Display Sign UsaSuper!! Snoopy & Woodstock Rubber Floor Matt Rug Vintage Travel Trailer CamperSnoopy Peanuts Charlie Brown Lucy Hallmark Wireless Christmas Band Figure 2011Hallmark Keepsake Peanuts 9 Beagle Scout Out Beagle Scouts Rock In The GrooveVintage Sterling Silver Snoopy Figurine Pendant United Feature Syndicate 1958T633. Vintage Peanuts: Astronaut Snoopy Plastic Figure Made In Hong Kong 1969 ~Hallmark Peanuts Gallery Figurine Countdown Calendar Charlie Brown So Cute MibPeanuts Figurine Snoopy The Flying Ace Mint In Box Jim Shore Sopwith CamelOld Snoopy Woodstock Charlie Brown Radio In Box Charles Schulz Free ShippingVintage 1971 Twin Flat & Fitted Sheet Happiness Is Being Part Of The Gang Snoopy1965 Letter From Charles M. Schulz, Creator Of Peanuts. Not AuthenticatedPeanuts Vintage Metal Lunchbox And Thermos Lunch BoxPeanuts Danbury Mint "thats What Christmas Is All About Charlie" OrnamentSnoopy Peanuts Schroeder Hallmark Wireless Christmas Band Figure 2011Snoopy Peanuts Charlie Brown Vintage Determined Rare Ceramic Figurine 1975Snoopy Peanuts Charlie Brown Vintage Ceramic Christmas Ornament Figure 19761971 Peanuts Snoopy Felt Pennant Banner America You're Beautiful Patriotic White% Toy Stamp & Vintage 50's Peanuts Schroeder Composition Bobblehead 5" Tall1990 Salton Snoopy's Hairdryer - New In Box-we Ship WorldwideVintage Snoopy United Feature Syndicate 1968 Music Box Tested Yellow Dog HouseSnoopy Fireking White Milk Glass Coffee Mug. I Think I'm Allergic To Morning!Hallmark Peanuts Keepsake Collectibles Porcelain Figurine Set Of 10 Items 7217%3Rare Vintage Large Snoopy Ceramic Bank 1958,1966 12" Tall X 6" Wide Very Nice!Snoopy Peanuts Charlie Brown Silver Deer Limited Ed Crystal Corvette Figure 1992Original U. S. Air Force Vietnam Period Snoopy Soulder Patch And Photo Hallmark Keepsake Peanuts 7 Lucy All Set For School Kissed By A Dog Gemmy Halloween Snoopy In Pumpkin Inflatable AirblownHallmark Keepsake Peanuts 10 Merry Christmas Charlie Brown School Days SnoopyHot Wheels Super Van White Custom Snoopy "flying Aces" One Of A Kind Clear CoatGemmy Christmas Snoopy Inflatable AirblownVintage 1969 Peanuts Character Snoopy Astronaut Space Toy Vintage Rare Snoopy Toys Lot Of 61 Very Old Great Shape Hard To Find CollectionVintage Lot 23 New & Used Peanuts Snoopy & Woodstock Key Chains Fobs Flying AceDanbury Mint Snoopy Peanuts Christmas Train Nib With CertificatesPeanuts Chess Set Collector Baseball Edition Blue Tin Snoopy Charlie Brown LucySnoopy Peanuts Flying Ace Clock~marquis By Waterford Crystal~2001~germanyVintage 1958 Peanuts Snoopy Ice Cream Cereal Bowl Sweet Treats Fire KingLot Of 11 Mixed Vintage Peanuts Snoopy Diecast & Plastic Toys Cars-avivaVintage Snoopy Ceramic Plate Japan New In Box Hard To FindVintage Peanuts Snoopy Great Pumpkin Halloween HoneycombVintage Silver Plated Snoopy On Kennel Money Box Coin Bank. Excellent ConditionHallmark Keepsake Peanuts 5 Peanuts On Ice Christmas Hugs Suppertime Snoopy Be Cool Metal Sign Kids Room, Arcade Garage ShopVintage Snoopy "hero/uncle Sam?" Enamel/metal Badge/pin 1970's Loook!!M367 Vintage Peanuts Snoopy Limited Edition Christmas Plate 1981 ~Estate 5 Snoopy, Peppermint Patty Production Animation Cels W/minor Paint NeededSnoopy Peanuts Charlie Brown Vintage Schmid Ceramic Annual Bell Ornament 1983Snoopy Peanuts Charlie Brown Linus Hallmark Wireless Christmas Band Figure 20111968 Snoopy Dog House Thermos Brand Lunchbox & Thermos - PeanutsSnoopy Peanuts Figurine Best Friends 2004 Tivolitoo 604 Of 1000 Mint NrVintage Snoopy Woodstock Peanuts Globe Lamp - 15" Tall - Super CleanVintage Report That Man To Mission Control Snoopy Sticker, 1969