Beloved by generations of fans all over the world, Charles M. Schulz, creator of the beloved “Peanuts” characters, was born on this day in history, Nov. 26, 1922. 

Schulz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was nicknamed “Sparky” by an uncle within days after his birth, according to multiple sources.

Schulz’s parents were Carl, a barber of German heritage, and his mother, Dena, who hailed from a Norwegian family. 

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“Throughout his youth, father and son shared a Sunday morning ritual [of] reading the funnies,” cited the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California. 

A quiet boy, Schulz had a fascination with comics like Popeye, Skippy and Mickey Mouse, the Minnesota Historical Society stated.

He graduated from St. Paul’s Central High School in 1940 and took a correspondence course with Federal School of Applied Cartooning to learn lettering, perspective and the basics of cartooning, according to the same source.

Schulz proudly served in the 20th Armored Division of the U.S. Army from 1943 until the end of World War II. 

Following his service, Schulz returned to Minnesota. 

He was hired to do lettering for a Catholic comic magazine, Timeless Topix, the same source chronicled.

Shortly after, Schulz became an instructor at a correspondence school, and during this tenure, Schulz developed his own cartooning style, which would eventually become the inspiration for certain “Peanuts” characters, according to several sources.  

The first “Peanuts” strip appeared on Oct. 2, 1950, in seven newspapers nationwide.  

“He sold intermittent one-panel cartoons to The Saturday Evening Post, and enjoyed a three-year run of his weekly panel comic, “Li’l Folks,” in the local paper, St. Paul Pioneer Press,” said the Charles M. Schulz Museum. 

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These early published cartoons focused on concise drawings of precocious children with large heads who interacted with words and actions well beyond their years, the same source recounted.

The first “Peanuts” strip appeared on Oct. 2, 1950, in seven newspapers nationwide.  

Charles M. Schultz

“Although being a professional cartoonist was Schulz’s lifelong dream, at 27 years old, he never could have foreseen the longevity and global impact of his seemingly simple four-panel creation,” the same source noted.

Eventually, the strip would appear in over 2,600 newspapers worldwide.

The characters in the “Peanuts” strip each had a personality, and through the years, “readers came to intimately understand Linus’ attachment to his security blanket, Charlie Brown’s heartache over the Little Red-Haired Girl, Schroeder’s devotion to Beethoven, Peppermint Patty’s prowess in sports and failure in the classroom, and Lucy’s knowledge of … well … everything,” noted the Charles M. Schulz Museum. 

The “Peanuts” phenomenon extended beyond newspapers to include books, animated television specials, theme parks and a Broadway musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

The fun-loving beagle, the ever-cute Snoopy, rose in popularity through the decades along with his sidekick Woodstock, a yellow little bird. 

Schulz married Joyce Halverson in 1951 and adopted her young daughter, Meredith. 

Charles M. Schultz and characters

The family grew as the couple had children of their own: Charles Jr. (Monte), Craig, Amy and Jill all arrived by 1958, according to Biography.com.

After several years in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Schulz moved west to Sonoma County, California. 

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In 1969, he opened the Redwood Empire Ice Arena in nearby Santa Rosa. Known as “Snoopy’s Home Ice,” the arena began hosting an annual hockey tournament in 1975, the same source stated.

The couple divorced in 1972, and the following year Schulz married his second wife, Jeannie Clyde.

Charlie Brown and Linus

The “Peanuts” phenomenon extended beyond newspapers to include books, animated television specials, theme parks and a Broadway musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

Schulz retired from drawing “Peanuts” in Jan. 2000.

He passed away soon after, on Feb. 12, 2000, in Santa Rosa, California.

In Feb. 2000, Gallup polled fans of the comic strip to name their favorite “Peanuts” characters. 

The adorable beagle Snoopy topped the list, with 31% picking him. Charlie Brown, the strip’s lead character, followed with 26%.

Linus, best known for toting a blue security blanket, is the claimed favorite of 13% of fans, while another 8% named Lucy as their favorite, followed by Pig Pen with 3%, cited Gallup.com.

Both the young at heart and a new generation of young fans continue to cherish the “Peanuts” circle of characters. 

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