Charles M. Schulz was born in 1922 and was raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. Nicknamed “Sparky” after the early 1900’s comic strip horse, “Sparkplug,” Schulz’s fascination with comic strips started early. Sunday comics from four different newspapers were read with his father each week. “My ambition from earliest memory was to produce a daily comic strip,” said Charles Schulz. Schulz attended Central High School in St. Paul and then enrolled in a cartooning correspondence course at what is known today as the Art Instruction School in Minneapolis. Following three years in Europe as an infantryman in WW II, Schulz returned to this school as an instructor where he worked with Charlie Brown, Linus and Frieda, who later lent their names to the PEANUTS comic strip.
In 1950, after many mailbox rejections, Schulz boarded a train from St. Paul to New York with a handful of drawings for a meeting with United Feature Syndicate. On October 2 of that year, PEANUTS, named by the syndicate, debuted in seven newspapers with Charlie Brown, and it now appears in over 2,600 newspapers worldwide. “It seems beyond comprehension of people that someone can be born to draw comic strips, but I think I was,” said Charles M. Schulz, creator of PEANUTS. And that was exactly what Schulz did everyday since PEANUTS debuted on October 2, 1950 until he passed away on February 12, 2000, only hours before his last original strip was to appear in Sunday papers.
Although the strip remained his first love, Schulz was an avid sports enthusiast with a longtime passion for golf (he regularly participated in the Pro Am at Pebble Beach, California) and also enjoyed tennis. Above all, he loved ice skating and the game of hockey, and was the only non-hockey professional to be presented the coveted Lester Patrick Award for his contributions to the game. To share skating with the community, he built the Redwood Empire Ice Arena near his home in Santa Rosa, California and St. Paul now has the Charles M. Schulz Ice Arena in Highland Park in his memory.
Santa Rosa, California was a major part in the life of Charles Schulz. After coming to the area in 1958, Charles spent over 40 years writing his PEANUTS comic strips in Santa Rosa. On August 17, 2002, the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center opened in Santa Rosa, across the street from the Redwood Empire Ice Arena. Here visitors can see Schulz’s extensive collection of comic strips and drawings, photographs, books, and many other treasured media items and memorabilia.
Beginning in May of 2005, The City of Santa Rosa is proud to recognize Schulz’s work and community contributions with “It’s Your Town, Charlie Brown,” Santa Rosa’s tribute to Charles M. Schulz.
Please visit http://schulzmuseum.org for more information about Charles M. Schulz.
PEANUTS © United Feature Syndicate, Inc.