This year marks the 100-year anniversary of Little orphan Annie in her original form, the comic strip. First published in the New York Daily News on August 5, 1924. It was later adapted into a radio program in 1930, debuting on Chicago’s WGN in 1930 before moving to NBC radio in 1931. The show was initially sponsored by Ovaltine and written by Ovaltine Chicago’s ad agency staff.
While living in Lombard, IL. Harold Gray got his inspiration for Little orphan Annie while walking the streets of Chicago. He met a scruffy young girl named Annie and depicted his character after her. Gray felt that writing Annie as an orphan kept her free of ties, allowed her freedom and enhanced her personality. Daddy Warbucks was inspired by Robert McCormick, owner, and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. His history can be found at Cantigny Park and will feature a Little Orphan Annie exhibit this year along with The Lombard Historical Society and The Villa Park Historical Museum.

Image donated by Shelly Swanson.

Villa Park Historical Society & Visitors Center

220 S. Villa Ave, Villa Park, IL 60181

Operated by the Villa Park Historical Society, a 501C3 non-profit organization, partnering with the Village of Villa Park