The Teenie Weenies was a comic strip created and illustrated by William Donahey that first appeared in 1914 in the Chicago Tribune and ran for over 50 years. It consisted of normal-size objects intermingled with tiny protagonists. The comic strip characters were two inches tall and lived under a rose bush. They lived with “real world” size materials made from discarded objects like hats, jars, barrels, kegs, and boxes – all of which were gigantic to them.

The strip was inspired by Palmer Cox’s The Brownies and was done in the form of text with a single large picture. Unlike the Brownies where the text was written in verse, Donahey wrote in prose. The Teenie Weenies first appeared in black and white in the women’s section of the Chicago Tribune on June 14, 1914. This first story was of the Top Hat house burning down. The comic strip ran as a one panel story with a picture until 1923. It then moved to the comics page as a strip cartoon. Color versions soon appeared in the magazine section of the newspaper printed in rotogravure.

Donahey drew the comic strip until October 26, 1924 when it was then temporarily discontinued. Donahey’s comic characters then went into advertising when the newspaper feature was stopped. It was then a symbol for Reid Murdock. Donahey did advertising for them in The Saturday Evening Post and on their Monarch canned foods line.

Several books of the strip comic characters were also published by Beckley-Cardey Company and Reilly & Lee. In an effort to stimulate new interest in the Teenie Weenies, Reid Murdock and Company in 1927 issued an eight-page pamphlet called The Teenie Weenies: Their Book. On September 24, 1933, the daily comic strip was added again to the Chicago Tribune newspaper. It went then only for about a year and was suspended again on December 2, 1934.

In 1940 and 1941 four of The Teenie Weenies books were reprinted. On May 18, 1941, the Sunday comic strip feature came back permanently. It continued until Donahey’s death. During this third time that it was published, two sets of reprints came out. Whittlesy House published three books between 1942 and 1945. Ziff-Davis published two standard-size comic books in 1950 and 1951. Donahey retired in 1969. The last newspaper comic strip episode appeared February 15, 1970. Donahey died February 2 of the same year and never saw the last episode published.


UPDATE 09-12-2016

125 pages/strips Teenie Weenies 1934
040 pages/strips Teenie Weenies 1942
033 pages/strips Teenie Weenies 1943
025 pages/strips Teenie Weenies 1947
012 pages/strips Teenie Weenies 1948
014 pages/strips Teenie Weenies 1949
014 pages/strips Teenie Weenies 1950
033 pages/strips Teenie Weenies Various



14 strips 1933


One response »

  1. […] had no idea at the time that my father’s ideas came from comic strips and picture books about these characters, in addition to product advertising, like the examples […]


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