Charles Schulz was the illustrator behind the most iconic cartoon strip in history. The first Peanuts comic ran in nine papers on Oct. 2, 1950. The misadventures of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the gang ran for 17,897 strips until Schulz’s death in 2000.
While Schulz’s life was forever intertwined with his comic creation, he was also human, with adult interests and issues that had nothing to do with Linus and his security blanket. For instance, one of his most difficult experience was also one of his most romantic. In 1970, during his turbulent first marriage, a 48-year-old Schulz crossed paths with an eager fan, 25-year-old Tracey Claudius, who snuck into an interview to thank the artist for his work. He was instantly taken by Claudius and began penning her letters with accompanying cartoons. The relationship evolved, a report by NPR stating that Schulz even proposed to Claudius — twice. The romance concluded after eight months, with Schulz going on to divorce and remarry. But there’s no mistake looking back at the affair and the artwork left behind: Schulz was in love.
Claudius’s family recently auctioned off her collection of letters from Schulz, giving us a glimpse into this surprising and passionate moment in romantic history:
Matt Patches is a writer and reporter living in New York City. His work has been featured on Vulture, Time Out New York, and The Hollywood Reporter. He is the host of the pop culture podcast Operation Kino.