Few comic strips are more beloved than Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts, and few characters more enduring than Charlie Brown and his irrepressible beagle Snoopy. Schulz, a dog lover, even coined the phrase, “Happiness Is a Warm Puppy,” which provided an ironic counterpoint to the Beatles song, Happiness Is a Warm Gun, and was the title of a self-help book filled with aphorisms with illustrations of the Peanuts gang.
In Swann Galleries’ upcoming auction of 20th Century Illustration, there are four Peanuts-related lots illustrated by Schulz, including a presentation copy of the 1962 first edition of Happiness Is a Warm Puppy, inscribed and with an ink drawing of Snoopy on front free endpaper.
There is also a copy of the 1967 book Snoopy and the Red Baroninscribed with a drawing of Snoopy as the World War I flying ace on the front free endpaper.
And, there is a full four-panel Peanuts comic strip featuring Charlie Brown and Lucy from 1956 that also displays an inscription–this one with an interesting back story. It offers “sincere best wishes” to Freya Hulmer, a longtime California schoolteacher who befriended Schulz, as described in a local newspaper, “when she began taking her daughter to ice skating practice at Schulz’s Redwood Empire Ice Arena in Santa Rosa … she graded homework and assignments and had occasional coffee and conversations with Schulz himself, with the late cartoonist picking her brain for insight into her young students.”