Sunshine Family Dolls by Mattel (1973-1980)

 Mattel  Comments Off on Sunshine Family Dolls by Mattel (1973-1980)
Feb 212017

Mattel’s Sunshine Family showing the front and back of their original box. Photo courtesy of Franklin Lim-Liao.

The original Sunshine Family dolls sold by Mattel beginning in 1973 include dad Steve, mom Stephie, and their baby Sweets. 10? Steve and 9? Stephie have vinyl heads with inset plastic eyes and hard plastic jointed bodies. Sweets is all vinyl. Their outfits changed every year or so, but Steve generally has a knit shirt with dark pants, while Stephie wears a long flowered dress and usually an apron. Sweets has the same inset eyes but has a one piece vinyl body, and wears a one piece knit outfit.

Closeup of the Sunshine Family dolls by Mattel. Photo courtesy of Franklin Lim-Liao.

Closeup of Sweets doll from Mattel’s Sunshine Family. Photo courtesy of Franklin Lim-Liao.

Grandma and Grandpa were added in 1976 and could be purchased as a pair, or together with the rest of the family. The Sunshine Fun Family is an updated version that came out in 1979 and includes Steve and Stephie, Sweets (now a toddler) and a new baby brother. The black versions were called the Happy Family and Happy Fun Family.

Steve, Grandpa and Stephie from Mattel’s line of Sunshine Family dolls of the 1970s. Photo courtesy of eBay seller king-auctions.

The Happy Fun Family by Mattel is the updated version from 1979 with Sweets toddler and new baby brother. Photo courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

The Sunshine Family had several playsets including a house with furniture, a nursery set for Sweets, craft kits and camping gear.

The Steve and Stephie dolls were also used for Mattel’s Americana-themed Star Spangled Dolls line including a Pilgrim Couple and Southern Belle.

Pioneer Daughter and Colonial Girl from the Star Spangled Dolls series by Mattel. These dolls utilized the Stephie molds. Photo courtesy of Sandy Blaine.

Copyright 2016 by Zendelle Bouchard

George & Martha Washington – Cherrie Historical Portrait Dolls

 Artist  Comments Off on George & Martha Washington – Cherrie Historical Portrait Dolls
Feb 212017

Cherrie Historical Portrait Dolls were made by Josephine Aldrich Harris of Birmingham, Alabama. Ms. Harris, also a noted local poet, was born in 1919. It is not known when she made her dolls. Besides George and Martha Washington, she also made Abraham Lincoln, Louisa May Alcott and Florence Nightingale. They are all rare; there may be others in the series.

Copyright 2016 by Zendelle Bouchard

Bonnie Bride Doll by Deluxe Reading

 Deluxe Reading  Comments Off on Bonnie Bride Doll by Deluxe Reading
May 312016

Bonnie Bride doll by Deluxe Reading. Photo courtesy of Diane Martz.

Deluxe Reading took the perennially popular bride doll to the next level with this unusual doll. Not only does Bonnie Bride “walk” down the aisle, but she “throws” her bouquet as well! She probably dates to the early 1960s. Like many other Deluxe Reading dolls, she was sold only in grocery stores.

Body Construction
Bonnie Bride is a 21″ doll with a hollow rigid vinyl body and legs, and softer vinyl head and arms. She has blue sleep eyes with brush lashes, and painted lashes below each eye. Her brunette hair is in a short bob style. She is jointed at the shoulders, neck and hips. Her right hand has a hole in it to hold her bouquet. Bonnie’s most remarkable feature is a mechanism, consisting of a metal lever in her back connected to her right arm, that enables her to “throw” her bouquet.

She is marked “21HH K61” on the back of her head below the hairline.

Bonnie wears a long sleeved satin bridal gown with lace and pearl appliqués and a bow at the waistline; matching bridal cap with fingertip tulle veil; a hooped underskirt; white panties; white plastic heels; and her bridal bouquet. Her dress is not tagged.

Bonnie comes packaged in a cardboard box with colorful graphics. See photos below. She comes complete with a white plastic mechanical stand. When you pull back on the lever, the wheels turn and propel her forward.

Bonnie Bride’s mechanical stand needs no batteries to operate. Photo courtesy of Diane Martz.

Copyright 2000-2016 by Zendelle Bouchard

Sweet Ann / Sweet Gail Dolls by Deluxe Reading

 Deluxe Reading  Comments Off on Sweet Ann / Sweet Gail Dolls by Deluxe Reading
May 232016

Sweet Ann doll by Deluxe Reading has a sweet face. Her box has an illustration of her against a blue background. Photos courtesy of Francie Owens.

Sweet Ann and Sweet Gail are the same doll, only the color of their gown differentiates them. They were sold in grocery stores in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Body Construction
Sweet Ann and Sweet Gail are among Deluxe Reading’s larger glamour dolls at 30″ tall. They are made of rigid vinyl or hard plastic, with a softer vinyl head, jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips.

She is marked “AE251/3” or “AE251/4G” on the back of her neck.

Sweet Ann wears her fabulous red gown with silver and white underskirt, with red mitts. The bright red satin fabric fades to a duller red or orange over time. Around her neck is a pearl choker, and she wears drop pearl earrings and a tiara of silver sequins. Sweet Gail wears the same style gown, except that it is royal blue instead of red. This blue has often faded to purple over time.

Sweet Ann’s original box is pictured above. Sweet Gail’s is the same basic design, but the dress is blue and the background is red.

This doll has lost her jewelry, but her dress retains its vibrant red color.

Copyright 1998-2016 by Zendelle Bouchard

14″ First Lady Dolls by Madame Alexander – First Series (1976-78)

 Alexander  Comments Off on 14″ First Lady Dolls by Madame Alexander – First Series (1976-78)
May 172016

Madame Alexander issued six series of 14″ First Lady dolls beginning in 1976 and ending in 1990. The first series, available from 1976 through 1978, included Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Martha Randolph, Dolley Madison, Elizabeth Monroe and Louisa Adams. The dolls are not portraits of the actual women, and Madame Alexander used creative license in selecting the hair and eye colors of the dolls. They are made of rigid vinyl, with rooted hair and sleep eyes with brush lashes. They are jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips, and wear beautifully made outfits. In addition to the outfit pieces described, each doll wears white stockings.

Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was the wife of George Washington, our nation’s first President. She was a young widow with two toddlers when she married Washington in 1759. Although the doll has light blonde hair, the real Martha was a brunette. She is remembered today as a warm and gracious hostess who treasured her privacy.

Martha Washington wears a silver and taupe brocade gown trimmed with champagne lace and ivory braid, with an attached lace stole and a lace mob cap. Her white cotton and net petticoat and pantalettes are trimmed with pink satin ribbon and white lace. She carries a brown velveteen bag adorned with an ivory lace motif. Pink satin shoes and a graduated “pearl” necklace complete her ensemble.

Abigail Smith Adams, wife of John Adams, got her feet wet by being the Vice President’s wife (now sometimes called Second Lady) before becoming First Lady when her husband was elected President. In 1825 she also became the mother of a President when her son John Quincy Adams was elected. Her admonition to her husband to “remember the ladies” as he worked with the Continental Congress to build a new nation is still quoted today.

Abigail Adams wears a long sleeved royal blue satin gown with a delicate leaf print, with white lace at the cuffs. Her white lace shawl is attached at the neckline and held in place with a rhinestone pin at her bodice. Her white cotton and net petticoat and pantalettes are trimmed in white lace and pale blue satin ribbon. She wears a blue velvet ribbon in her hair and black velveteen shoes. A graduated “pearl” necklace provides a finishing touch.

Martha Jefferson Randolph was the daughter of the third American President, Thomas Jefferson. She acted as his occasional hostess due to the death of her mother several years before. She and her husband had twelve children – her son, James, was the first child born in the White House, in 1806. Known as Patsy to her family, Martha took devoted care of her father in his declining years.

Martha Randolph wears a short sleeved pale pink taffeta gown with an ivory lace panel down the front. Her pink taffeta petticoat and pantalettes are trimmed with pink satin ribbon and white lace. She wears a pink organdy wrap around her head and a long black cape trimmed in fancy brocade ribbon. A graduated “pearl” necklace and pink satin shoes complete her outfit.

Dolley Payne Todd Madison was the wife of America’s fourth President, James Madison. She was the first First Lady to embrace a public role, and helped to found a home for young orphaned girls. When the British burned Washington during the War of 1812, she refused to evacuate the White House until Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington was removed from the wall and secured.

Dolley Madison wears a sleeveless champagne satin dressed flocked with silver glitter in a floral pattern, and decorated with champagne and silver metallic braid. She wears a matching long coat and an ivory organdy head wrap. Her white cotton petticoat and pantalettes are trimmed with white lace and pink satin ribbon. Champagne satin shoes provide the finishing touch.

Elizabeth Kortright Monroe was only seventeen years old when she married the future fifth President of the United States, James Monroe. Due to her frail health, her oldest daughter often assumed the duties of hostess at the White House.

Elizabeth Monroe wears a long sleeved gold and pink satin brocade gown, trimmed in satin ribbon and lace. Her white cotton and net petticoat and pantalettes are trimmed with white satin ribbon and lace. A lace shawl attached to a long brocade panel at her back is held in place with a goldtone bow pin at her waist. She wears a rhinestone tiara and a rhinestone pendant necklace on a goldtone chain. Champagne colored satin shoes complete her ensemble.

Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, was born in England, to a British mother and American father. She wrote music and poetry, and played the harp. She followed her husband in his diplomatic travels around the world, once crossing Europe by coach in the winter to join him.

Louisa Adams wears a short sleeved white satin gown decorated with white and silver metallic braid, and ruched bands of tulle. Her white taffeta and net petticoat and pantalettes are decorated with gathered white lace. She wears graduated “pearl” necklace and a cluster of rosebuds in her hair.

Copyright 2016 by Zendelle Bouchard