Schulz’ Muse

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Donna Mae Johnson (born circa 1929 in Minneapolis, Minnesota) is the maiden name of Donna Wold, who was Charles M. Schulz’s inspiration for the character “the Little Red-Haired Girl,” Charlie Brown’s crush in the Peanuts comic strip.

Johnson graduated from high school in 1947 and was working in the accounting department of the Art Instruction, Inc., a correspondence school where Schulz worked. Johnson was romantically involved with Schulz for a time, but when Schulz proposed to her, she turned him down, ended the relationship and abruptly married fireman Allan Wold, on October 21, 1950. Though devastated, Schulz and Johnson-Wold remained friends for the rest of his life. Schulz said of the relationship, “I can think of no more emotionally damaging loss than to be turned down by someone whom you love very much. A person who not only turns you down, but almost immediately will marry the victor. What a bitter blow that is.”

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