Sep 052012
 
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I read somewhere that if you have three of something, you have a collection. Well I guess that makes me a collector of Raggedy Ann and Andy! Let me introduce you to my dolls.

Raggedy Ann and Andy illustration by Johnny Gruelle

Raggedy Ann and Andy sprang from the imagination of Johnny Gruelle, an artist and illustrator from Connecticut. His young daughter Marcella found an old faceless rag doll in the attic, and he gave it a face, and made up stories about the doll to entertain her. After Marcella died at age 13, he published the stories as a book. She had loved Raggedy Ann so much, he patented a design and had family members make dolls for sale. The first commercially produced Raggedy Ann and Andy were made by P.F. Volland in 1920. They have been continually in production by various companies ever since.

Sewing patterns to make your own Raggedy Ann and Andy have been available since 1940. Two of my Raggedy pairs are homemade. This pair is 18″ tall, with red yarn hair, black button eyes and appliqued noses. You’ll notice they don’t match exactly – Ann has plaid legs and corduroy shoes, while Andy’s legs are black and white striped, and his shoes are a different ribbed material.

Vintage homemade Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls

My other homemade pair stands 20″ tall, with yellow yarn hair and embroidered features. They don’t quite match either! Ann has a nose and mouth to match her hair, while Andy’s are rose colored. His eyes have pupils and hers don’t. And although they both have striped legs, they are of different fabrics. Originally I had planned to keep just one pair; but I never could decide which pair I liked better.

Vintage homemade Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls

My newest pair of Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls arrived in the mail last week. These are the new dolls being produced by Aurora World, and they were kind enough to send me a sample. I was happy to see these latest versions still have the sweetness and charm that have made Raggedy Ann and Andy the best loved dolls of all time.

Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls by Aurora World.

I have very few memories of my childhood. But I do remember the very first doll I owned, Raggedy Ann. I’m sure she had been loved to death by the time she left me. So it’s fitting that now the circle is complete, and I have become, albeit accidentally, a collector of these iconic dolls.

What was the first doll you can remember having?

Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Aug 302012
 
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The photos below show three dolls by Ideal – left to right they are Glamour Misty, Pos’n Misty and the later version of Pos’n Tammy, called Grown Up Pos’n Tammy by collectors.

Vintage Misty and Tammy dolls by Ideal

L to R: Glamour Misty, Pos’n Misty, “Grown Up” Pos’n Tammy

Glamour Misty is a regular Misty doll with platinum blonde hair, who was sold in a set with special markers to color her hair. She has straight (non-bendable) legs.

Pos’n Misty has soft vinyl legs wired for posability. All versions of Misty have the same torso and wired, posable arms.

“Grown Up” Pos’n Tammy has the same arms, too, but a different torso than the Mistys, with a smaller bust. She has the same flexible, wired legs as the Pos’n Misty. Her head mold is different also.

Vintage Ideal Misty and Tammy dolls

Note Misty and “Grown Up” Tammy have different torsos.

There was also a “Grown Up” Tammy (not shown) who had straight legs like the regular Misty and Glamour Misty dolls. Because the “Grown Up” dolls are much slimmer than the earlier versions of Tammy, most Tammy fashions don’t fit them well.



Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Apr 182012
 
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Studio doll by Sasha Morgenthaler

Studio doll by Sasha Morgenthaler.
Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Sasha dolls are unique in the doll world. They started out as the vision of Swiss artist Sasha Morgenthaler, to create a play doll representing the universal child. The original doll’s skin tone was deliberately of a medium color depicting no particular ethnic group. She began in the 1940s creating them in her studio, but the high production costs meant that very few families could afford them. In 1965 she licensed production to Götz-Puppenfabrik GmbH of Rödental, Germany, where they were made until 1970. Beginning in 1966, the dolls were also made in England by Frido/Trendon/Sasha Dolls Ltd of Stockport. Production continued there until 1986. From 1995-2001 they were again produced by Götz.

The original Studio dolls were made of gypsum, a composition like material. Some dolls, like the one pictured above, had cloth bodies. Other were entirely of gypsum. The mass-produced dolls are of rigid vinyl with rooted synthetic hair. They are 16″ tall, jointed at the neck and shoulders and strung with elastic cord. They are well made dolls that offer lots of play value.

Although the dolls are collectively known as Sasha, the boy dolls were called Gregor; when black dolls were introduced in the early 70s, the girls were named Cora and the boys Caleb. The most recent series of Sasha dolls were given individual names. Babies were also produced starting in the 1970s, and are 12″ tall with bent legs.

One reason that Sasha dolls are so popular with collectors is their wonderful wardrobe. The clothes are very well made in simple, classic styles. The size of the dolls makes them easy to sew for and easy to dress.

Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Mar 112012
 
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At an auction today I picked up a boxlot which included several photos of Shirley Temple. Some of the photos are of her holding a doll, so I thought I would share them with you. This first photo shows her with one of the rare Shirley Temple Baby dolls issued in 1935. The Baby has a composition head and limbs and a cloth body.

In the second photo, Shirley and her doll are both wearing the polka dotted dress from the film “Stand Up and Cheer.” The dolls were sold in several different variations of this dress. The doll is made of composition with a mohair wig.
The pleated dress with glued-on daisies on the yoke was from the film “Curly Top.” There was also a version with smaller embroidered flowers.
This photo shows Shirley holding a cloth sailor doll. Shirley amassed a huge collection of dolls, many of which were gifts from friends, admirers and film industry people. At one time her collection was displayed at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It’s always fun to see what dolls you can spot in her movies.
The striped cotton dress is also from “Curly Top.” As with the other outfits Ideal made for the Shirley dolls, there were color variations. All of the Ideal Shirley Temple dolls were sold wearing a pin featuring a photo of Shirley.
The Ideal composition Shirley Temple dolls were the biggest selling dolls of the 1930s. The dolls were available in nine different sizes and sold in the millions. They remain very popular with collectors and command high prices if in excellent condition, or if wearing a rare outfit. Do you have a Shirley Temple doll in your collection?
Mar 072012
 
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In January I bought a box full of vintage paper dolls at an auction, and really enjoyed going through and sorting them out so I could list them on eBay. Most of them were from the late 1930s and early 1940s. There were some movie stars, including two different sets of “Gone with the Wind” paper dolls. One of them, pictured below, featured dolls of every major character from the film with multiple outfits for each one. It was put out by Merrill Publishing Co. in 1940.

There was also a Deanna Durbin set, published by Merrill in 1941.

The ’30s and ’40s paper dolls had the most wonderful artwork. Look at this fabulous set of Polly Pepper Paper Dolls, published by Saalfield in 1936.

Military paper dolls were very popular during World War II. This is Navy Scouts, issued by Merrill in 1942.

Lots of newspapers had paper dolls, usually in the Sunday comics section. Many of them were fashionable ladies. This Halloween themed doll is so cool.

In trying to identify my dolls, I consulted several books by Mary Young. I also found Paper Goodies from Judy’s Place, a great website for the vintage paper doll lover. Most of the paper dolls published now are for collectors, not for children, and there are many reproductions of vintage sets available.

I grew up in the 60s and 70s, and although paper dolls were still being produced then (lots of Barbie sets) the golden age was over. I never played with them as a kid, although I appreciate them now. What about you?

Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard