Photo courtesy of Nancy McKee. Visit Nancy's shop.
American Character's Toni doll is almost identical to their Sweet Sue Sophisticate. The two dolls were made using the same molds, but with slightly different face paint. Toni most often has painted lashes at the outer corner of each eye, while Sweet Sue Sophisticate has painted lashes below each eye. It should be noted that while this is the identifying feature, it is not a hard and fast rule. The company most likely used whatever dolls were on hand to fill their orders. Toni was marketed as a tie-in to the Toni home permanent made by the Gillette Co., and came in 14", 20" and 25" sizes. Each doll was packaged with a Toni Playwave Kit consisting of a comb, brush, curlers and play-wave solution in squeeze bottle.
Toni Ballerina is a different doll, similar to Sweet Sue with Flexible Foot.
Toni is a walking doll, all vinyl and jointed at the neck, shoulders, waist and hips. Her shoulders are flange jointed, allowing them to move backward and forward only, held close to her body. Her waist and neck joints rotate, but do not tilt like Sweet Sue Sophisticate. Her rooted hair is good quality and was made in blonde, red and brunette shades. It is most often styled in a curly bob with bangs but varied occasionally according to the outfit she was dressed in. She has blue sleep eyes with brush lashes. A flirty-eyed version was also available, with the added feature of strung shoulder joints, allowing for greater posability.
The 14" version of Toni is completely unmarked. The 20" version has "AMERICAN © CHARACTER" in a circle on her back. The 25" size has "AME. CHARACTER DOLL COR./©" on the back of her neck.
Toni was sold wearing outfits which were different from those of Sweet Sue Sophisticate. The larger sizes of Toni did not have as many outfits as their 10" sister, but were available in a nice assortment of day, evening and bridal wear.
A stretch lace teddy identical to the one worn by the 10" doll has been found in 20" size; however, it is not known whether the larger size Toni was ever sold as a basic doll wearing it, or whether it was underwear for another outfit.
Click on the name of the outfit to see the booklet illustration.
The earliest version of American Beauty is a ball gown with black bodice and full skirt of deep pink nylon tricot over taffeta; matching pink stole; combination marquisette slip and panties; hose; silver shoes with rhinestones; rhinestone or pearl earrings and pin. This doll's hair is in a curly updo. All sizes.
The earliest version of Bride is a short-sleeved wedding gown with lace bodice and two wide bands of lace on the tulle skirt; hooped petticoat; rounded satin cap with pearl edging and fingertip tulle veil; bouquet; lace-edged taffeta panties; hose; white shoes with rhinestones; solitaire ring; pearl earrings. All sizes. (Betsy McCall had an identical bridal outfit.)
Country Club is a sheer white blouse with elbow-length sleeves and big bow at neckline; multi-gored skirt has alternating panels of plain black and black-and-white checks; black beret; black shoes. This doll has a side-part hairstyle. All sizes.
Dinner Date is a blue taffeta dress with dropped waist, bubble skirt accented with a velvet bow, attached stole; pillbox hat with tulle; evening bag. All sizes. Color variations exist.
Love in Bloom is a strapless party dress with stole, held in place by a wide belt. All sizes.
Romance with Mink Stole is a pale pink satin sheath dress with side slits with velvet ribbon accents; brown real mink stole; string of pearls; pearl earrings; pink shoes. 14" and 20" sizes only.
Sunday Best is a pale pink nylon blouse with a wide shawl collar and three rhinestones down the front of the bodice; skirt with cummerbund; hat of pale pink braid; purse. 20" size only.
Town and Country is a black and white striped taffeta dress, lined in red; long red and black felt vest with snap closure; matching hat; matching hatbox; black heels with rhinestone accents. 14" and 20" sizes only.
Toni was packaged in a box similar to that of the 10" version, with 50's graphics in pink and blue. (Click here to see photos of the 10" doll's box.)
Thanks to Susan Lawson and Wendy Bailey for help with this page.
Additional sources for this page include:
- American Character Dolls by Judith Izen
- The Doll and Teddy Bear Department edited by Thomas W. Holland
- Glamour Dolls of the 1950s and 1960s by Polly and Pam Judd
- Dolls and Accessories of the 1950s by Dian Zillner
- "Modern Collectible Dolls, Volume III" by Patsy Moyer
- "Modern Collector's Dolls, Eighth Series" by Patricia R. Smith
Copyright 2000-2010 by Zendelle Bouchard.
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