on this U.S. postage stamp, Annie, in a red dress and on her knees, huggs her orange dog, Sandy

Little Orphan AnnieHarold Gray

Coping during the Depression

On being an orphan, being poor, and being different from others, friendless and teased. On being lost and alone, having hard luck, and destined for trouble. On having the ground beneath her feet fall suddenly away. On being plucky and bringing sunshine to everyone she knows.

Much on her own

At the orphanage, Miss Asthma routinely abused little Annie and Miss Treat made her scrub floors and feel guilty for the little she was given. But Mr. and Mrs. Warbucks are not the family that Annie needs. Mrs. Warbucks is cruel and Annie’s presence embarrasses her. Oliver Warbucks cares about Annie but he is often away from home on business. Circumstances often leave the girl to fend for herself in unintended adventures.


Annie rescues Sandy as a puppy from a group of abusive boys. She gives the dog to Paddy, and eventually her kindness is returned when Sandy rescues Annie who had been kidnapped by gypsies.

Protected by magic

Characters of mysterious origin have magic powers for extracting Annie from serious danger. * Warbuck’s friend Henry Morgan gives Punjab, a large Oriental in a turban, to guard Annie and protect her from harm. Actually, Punjab is a genie. He can appear and disappear at will. By covering Annie in his cape he can make her temporarily disappear. By covering villains in his cape he can send them permanently into another dimension. * The Asp is Warbuck’s right-hand man. He uses his magic ability to disarm assailants. * After Boris Sirob’s gang shoots and stabs Warbucks and The Asp, the jovial Mr. Am appears and brings The Asp back to life “just for practice,” whereupon he brings Warbucks back to life. * These characters are a miraculous blessing both to Annie and to Harold Gray, the cartoonist.

Benign capitalism

Wealthy people like Warbucks had to work hard so everyone else would have a job, said Harold Gray.