Charles Monroe Schulz was a 20th-century American cartoonist best known worldwide for his Peanuts comic strip.
Charles M. Schulz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Dena and Carl Schulz and grew up in Saint Paul. His uncle nicknamed him "Sparky" after the horse Spark Plug in the Barney Google comic strip.
Schulz attended St. Paul's Richard Gordon Elementary School, where he skipped two half-grades. He became a shy and isolated teenager, perhaps as a result of being the youngest in his class at Central High School. After his mother died in February 1943, he was drafted into the United States Army and sent to Camp Campbell in Kentucky. He was shipped to Europe two years later to fight in World War II as an infantry squad leader with the U.S. 20th Armored Division. After leaving the army in 1945, he returned to Minneapolis where he took a job as an art teacher at Art Instruction, Inc.,
from which he had taken correspondence courses before he was drafted.
Schulz's drawings were first published by Robert Ripley in his Ripley's Believe It or Not!, then in a Catholic comic book series called Topix. His first regular cartoons, Li'l Folks, were published from 1947 to 1949 by the St. Paul Pioneer Press; he first used the name Charlie Brown for a character there, although he applied the name in four gags to three different boys and one buried in sand. The series also had a dog that looked much like Snoopy. In 1948, Schulz sold a cartoon to the Saturday Evening Post; seventeen single-panel cartoons by Schulz would be published there.
In 1948, Schulz tried to have Li'l Folks syndicated through the Newspaper Enterprise Association. Schulz would have been an independent contractor for the syndicate, unheard of in the 1940s, but the...