(Excerpted from Kenneth Barker's artiCle in
Nemo, the Classic Comics Library #8; August 1984;
Fantagraphics Books, Stamford, CT)
Little Orphan Annie began with Annie in a home for orphans run by Miss Asthma, a dour, severe disciplinarian. Annie had been an occupant of the home since infancy. When later asked, the first thing she remembered, she replied, "Bein' in th' "Home" and how mean Miss Asthma was. I guess I must have been there, right from th' time I was born, almost."
Family records existed in Miss Asthma's safe; indeed, on one occasion, Annie came close to overhearing details of her family history. But the records were destroyed in the fire which gutted the home on November 18, 1928 and not even "Daddy" was able to persuade Miss Asthma to reveal what she remembered, beyond the comment that Annie had been left as a waif at the door of the home.