Oct 292012
 
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Vintage composition Mary Hoyer doll

Composition Mary Hoyer doll in crocheted outfit.
Photo copyright Withington Auction, Inc.

Click on a small photo to see a larger version.

Mary's Dollies knit and crochet patterns for Mary Hoyer dolls Before she started in the doll business, Mary Hoyer was a designer of knit and crochet patterns for children’s clothing. In the 1930′s, she opened her own yarn and craft shop in Reading, PA. Soon she added doll clothing and patterns to her inventory. To create a market for her doll designs, she purchased composition dolls from Ideal to sell along with the patterns. These dolls were 13″ tall with a double jointed torso known as a “body twist.” These early painted-eye dolls have Ideal markings. Photo courtesy of Nancy McKee.

Composition Mary Hoyer doll Composition Mary Hoyer doll When Ideal discontinued the style of doll she had been using, Mrs. Hoyer hired renowned doll designer Bernard Lipfert to sculpt a doll for her. Lipfert’s design, manufactured by the Fiberoid Doll Co., was slightly bigger at 14″ tall and also had painted eyes, but did not have the jointed torso. The earliest dolls are unmarked, but soon the Mary Hoyer logo in a circle was added to the back of the doll. Dolls with sleep eyes were also added to the lineup. The same model was used for both girl and boy dolls. Photos copyright Withington Auction, Inc.

Hard plastic Mary Hoyer doll Hard plastic Mary Hoyer doll In 1946 Mary Hoyer switched from composition to hard plastic dolls, using the same design. She continued to market her knit and crochet patterns, and sold finished outfits and sewing kits in her shop as well as by mail order. Photos courtesy of Nancy McKee.

Gigi by Mary Hoyer Doll Co. In the mid-fifties, Mary Hoyer decided to branch out by adding other dolls to her line. The first was Gigi, an 18″ hard plastic girl. She has the same markings as the 14″ doll, and several outfits available for her. Photo courtesy of Nancy McKee.

Vicky and Margie dolls by Mary Hoyer The company then decided to try vinyl dolls; they marketed high-heeled glamour dolls that were reportedly made for them by Ideal. The larger sizes were quickly discontinued, but they sold 10.5″ Vicky (similar to Ideal’s Little Miss Revlon) for a couple of years. The glamour dolls are unmarked and very difficult to identify. Margie, a 10″ vinyl toddler, and babies Cathy (10″) and Jamie (8″) were also offered.

The company had continued to sell its 14″ hard plastic doll throughout the fifties, but in the early sixties, they switched to a new vinyl doll called Becky. Mary Hoyer retired in 1972, but her company was resurrected in 1990 by her granddaughter, Mary Lynne Saunders. They continue today making high-quality play dolls for children and collectors. Mrs. Hoyer passed away in 2003 at the age of 101.

Copyright 2006-2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Oct 192012
 
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Cosmopolitan is best known for their 8″ hard plastic Ginger doll, a competitor of Vogue’s Ginny. She was introduced in 1954. The hard plastic Gingers underwent several changes during the course of production, which makes identification a little tricky.

Ginger doll by Cosmopolitan

Hard plastic Ginger wears outfit #883 from the 1955 North and South series. Photo courtesy of Tina Moreau. Check out her eBay listings.

Collectors should also be aware that Cosmopolitan sold Ginger bodies to other companies. The book “Small Dolls of the ’40s and ’50s” by Carol J. Stover gives detailed information on the Ginger variations.


Ginger doll by Cosmopolitan

Vinyl head Ginger wears outfit #444 from the 1955 Holiday Series. Photo courtesy of Tina Moreau. Check out her eBay listings.

In 1957, they started making Ginger with a vinyl head. She also “grew up” with her new medium “cha cha” heels.


Miss Ginger doll by Cosmopolitan

Miss Ginger doll by Cosmopolitan

That same year they entered the glamour doll market with 10.5″ Miss Ginger. Like Ginger, she had many extra outfits available. All-vinyl Miss Ginger is very similar to Little Miss Revlon and Miss Nancy Ann.


Little Miss Ginger doll by Cosmopolitan

Little Miss Ginger wears Special Bride outfit #71 from 1958. Photo courtesy of Tina Moreau. Check out her eBay listings.

8″ Little Miss Ginger also has a grown-up figure and extra outfits. She is also all vinyl. She is very similar to Little Miss Nancy Ann. Learn more on the Little Miss Ginger page.


Baby Ginger doll by Cosmopolitan

Most Baby Ginger dolls have rooted hair. This is a rare molded hair version. Photo courtesy of Tina Moreau. Check out her eBay listings.

8″ Baby Ginger is an all-vinyl drink and wet baby doll, similar to Vogue’s Ginnette. She, too, has an extensive wardrobe.

Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Oct 142012
 
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Chi Chi Schiaparellii doll by Virga

1957 Elsa Schiaparelli 12″ Virga Chi Chi Teen Fashion Doll in her original Studio Box. Photo courtesy of American Beauty Dolls.

Beehler Arts, Ltd. was based in New York City and marketed dolls during the 1950′s. According to the book “Hard Plastic Dolls” by Polly and Pam Judd, dolls marketed under the Beehler, Fortune and Virga names were all manufactured by Ontario Plastics. In “Hard Plastic Dolls, II”, the Judds report that Virga was a division of Beehler. The company also marketed dolls under the Kim label. All of these companies are best known for their 8″ Ginny type dolls, but small high-heeled glamour dolls were marketed under the Beehler Arts, Kim and Virga names as well.


Vintage Virga Lolly-pop doll

Virga Lolly-pop dolls came in various pastel hair colors. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Tornikoski. Check out her eBay listings.

See also:

Copyright 2006-2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Oct 122012
 
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No history of vintage dolls could be written without Horsman. A native of New York City, E. I. Horsman began retailing toys and novelties imported from Germany in the mid-1800s. As the new century dawned, his company began producing its own cloth and composition dolls.
Click on a photo to see a larger version.

Babyland Rag Topsy doll by Horsman Babyland Rag Topsy doll by Horsman The Babyland Rag series of dolls ranged from 11″ to 30″ tall. They have hand painted faces and mitten style hands. Most of them, like this black doll called Topsy, are 14″ tall. They first appeared in Horsman’s 1893 catalog and were produced for over 30 years.
Babyland Rag Topsy Turvy doll by Horsman Babyland Rag Topsy Turvy doll by Horsman Babyland Rag Topsy Turvy doll by Horsman The Babyland Rag Topsy-Turvy doll has two heads – a white doll called Betty, and the black doll, Topsy. The long skirt hides the head on the opposite end.
Babyland Rag lithographed girl doll by Horsman Babyland Rag lithographed boy doll by Horsman In 1907, Horsman began offering Babyland Rag dolls with lifelike lithographed faces. Another style with a three-dimensional molded face was outsourced to Albert Bruckner, a New Jersey dollmaker. Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Composition Campbell Kid doll by Horsman Composition Campbell Kid doll by Horsman The composition Campbell Kid dolls, adapted from illustrations by Grace Drayton, were a huge seller for Horsman. The black doll is the earlier version from the 1910′s and ’20s with cloth body and compo hands. The white doll is the 1940s all-compo version. Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Horsman Jackie Coogan composition doll Horsman Jackie Coogan composition doll Jackie Coogan was a child actor of the 1920s who starred in the film “The Kid” with Charlie Chaplin. Horsman made two different versions of him in composition. This version has Jackie’s well known pageboy hair style, the other one has just a standard head that was also used for other dolls.

Composition Baby Dimples by Horsman Baby Dimples was a big seller for Horsman starting in 1927. She is a bent-leg baby with a composition head and limbs, and cloth body. There was also a version with a celluloid head imported from Germany. A straight-leg all composition toddler version called simply Dimples.

Dolly Rosebudy by Horsman Dolly Rosebud by Horsman Dolly Rosebud, introduced in 1928, has a composition shoulder head and limbs, with a cloth torso and a human hair wig. She was made in multiple sizes from 14″ to 24″. This doll’s dress is tagged “HORSMAN DOLL MF’D in U.S.A.”

Flirty-eyed composition baby doll by Horsman Babies have always been a huge part of Horsman’s lineup. This flirty-eyed baby, advertised in the 1942 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalog, has eyes that move from side to side as well as open and close.

Horsman Baby dolls in 1950 Montgomery Ward catalog These babies, advertised in the 1950 Montgomery Ward catalog, have hard plastic heads and softer vinyl bodies.

1950s Horsman Gold Medal Boy doll 1950s Horsman Gold Medal Boy doll Horsman used the name Gold Medal multiple times over the years. This Gold Medal Boy, also called Fairy Skin Boy was sold in the 1950s. He has a one piece body jointed only at the neck. There was a corresponding girl doll as well.
1950s Horsman Cindy glamour doll 1950s Horsman Cindy glamour doll High-heeled Cindy was a major part of Horsman’s lineup in the late fifties. She was available as a 15″ or 18″ doll with a stuffed vinyl body, jointed only at the neck and shoulders, with ball-jointed elbows; and as a 21″ doll with a rigid vinyl body, jointed at the hips as well. She was sold in various costumes, including as a bride and as a ballerina. She was also sold under other names including Bright Star.
See also:

Vintage 10" Cindy glamour doll by Horsman There was a 10″ version of Cindy as well, similar to Ideal’s Little Miss Revlon doll. She was available in a variety of outfits and trunk sets.
Family Trio set of dolls by Horsman Horsman’s Family Trio Set includes a glamorous mother doll with two children. Read more about them on the Family Trio page.
Horsman Jackie doll Horsman’s Jackie was sold in the early ’60s to capitalize on the popularity of first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Go to the Horsman Jackie page to learn more about her. Photo courtesy of John Medeiros.

Horsman Peggy Ann doll 1963 This doll in the 1963 Sears Toy book is unnamed, but she appears to be Horsman’s Peggy Ann, a vinyl sub-teen girl doll with a sweet smile. She was sold for several years, often in sets like this with extra outfits.
Miss Top Knot doll by Horsman This is Miss Top Knot from 1964. Read more about her here. Photo courtesy of Charlene Blank.

One of Horsman’s most popular vinyl dolls is Poor Pitiful Pearl, a homely doll who wears a floral dress with a bright red patch on the front, and a matching red head scarf. Originally produced by the Brookglad Corp. in the ’50s, Horsman began making Pearl in late 1963 in 18″ and later 11″ size, and brought her back again in the 1970s.

Action Bed by Horsman from the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks Action Bed by Horsman from the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks This Action Bed toy was a tie-in to the Disney film “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” released in 1972. It includes a 6.5″ doll representing the character played by Angela Lansbury in the movie. A hard to find item, it is also sought after by Disney collectors. Photos courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out Lisa’s eBay listings.

Horsman began making ventriloquist dolls in the 1970s, and continued with its successful lines of play dolls. In the 1980s, the company struggled, but eventually found renewed success by focusing on niche markets and adding collector dolls to its lineup. Several of Horsman’s early composition dolls were reissued in vinyl versions. The new millennium brough new challenges, and today, the company now known as Horsman Ltd., manufactures fashion dolls for collectors exclusively.

Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Sep 142011
 
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I picked this item up at an auction last night. This cardboard wardrobe measures 18.5″ tall, 12″ wide and 6″ deep. It has double doors on the front, a wooden bar to hang the clothes from, and another wooden bar holding up the shelf above. The colors and the logo on the top indicate that it was made for Cosmopolitan’s Ginger doll, a hard plastic toddler introduced in 1954, who was a competitor to Vogue’s Ginny doll.  I call it Ginger’s Mystery Closet because it is a mystery why an 8″ doll would have a wardrobe so huge. She has a wardrobe trunk that is in scale for her, about 9″ tall. Why would she need this behemoth? If you hung her little dresses on the rod, there would be several inches of empty space underneath. Any thoughts?