Jan 162013
 
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Six Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls

Clockwise from top left— Goose Girl, Dainty Dolly Pink and Blue, See-Saw Marjorie Daw, Flossie Came From Dublin Town, Over The Hills To Grandma’s House, and There Was a Maiden Bright and Gay.
Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

This page is about the small bisque and hard plastic Storybook character dolls produced by Nancy Ann Dressed Dolls and Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls, Inc. from 1936 through the 1950s. For info about the company’s other dolls, go to the Muffie, Style Show and Other Dolls by Nancy Ann page.

Nancy Ann Abbott (real name Rowena Haskin) was born in 1901 in California and worked as an actress and dress designer in Hollywood before opening a book lending shop in San Francisco in 1935. In her shop, she also offered dolls for sale that she dressed herself in the evenings. Prior to this, dolls had been just a hobby, but when they proved popular, she was inspired to leave the bookshop to start her own doll company, Nancy Ann Dressed Dolls. In 1937, Les Rowland joined her firm as a partner, bringing to it his financial and selling skills, and they were off and running.

The first dolls were made in Japan and dressed here. Later on, the company had its own production facility. The first dolls made in the USA were marked “Judy Ann”. By the mid-40s, the company was called Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls.

Nancy Ann Storybook Doll marked

Early Nancy Ann Storybook Doll marked “JUDY ANN” wearing her original dress.

Nancy Ann Storybook character dolls only came in a few variations of size and body construction; instead they are identified by the outfit they are wearing, and many of the outfits look very similar. A doll without her original box or wrist tag can be very difficult to identify. Most of the dolls were produced as Caucasian girls; boys and African-American girls are much less common. The same molds were used for both genders and races.

Body Construction
The Storybook dolls were produced in bisque from 1936 to 1948, when they changed to hard plastic. They are mostly 5.5″ tall, but can range from 4.5″ to 7″ tall. They may or may not be jointed at the hips or neck; all dolls are jointed at the shoulders. Most dolls have glued-on mohair wigs; a very few dolls have painted hair. Many of the hard plastic dolls have sleep eyes, but all the bisque dolls and some hard plastic have painted eyes. For more information see the Nancy Ann Dolls website.

Vintage Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls

Clockwise from top left: Here I am Little Joan, To Market To Market,
I’m Going A-Milking, Little Betty Blue, He Loves Me He Loves Me Not and Mistress Mary.
Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Markings
Most dolls are marked on their back, but the markings may be faint if the mold had been used for a long period of time. A variety of marks were used. Most of the marks include the words “Story Book” but some of the earlier dolls are marked “Made in Japan” or “Judy Ann.” For more information see the Nancy Ann Dolls website.

Series
Most Storybook dolls were produced as part of a series. Go to the Series List for individual doll photos.

Six Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls

From the Dolls of the Month Series – Clockwise from top left: A Shower Girl for April, A Very Independent Lady for July, A November Lass To Cheer, A Breezy Girl and Arch To Worship Me Thru March,
A February Fairy Girl For Ice and Snow, A Rosebud Girl to Love me Thru the June Days .
Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Packaging
Most dolls were packaged in white boxes with large pink, red, silver or blue polka dots. Some of the earlier boxes had different backgrounds or graphics. The hard plastic dolls have “Nancy Ann Storybook Doll” written in between the dots. Beginning in 1941, each doll had a gold foil wrist tag bearing her name. Prior to that, gold stickers were attached to the doll’s outfit.



Copyright 2006-2013 by Zendelle Bouchard

Jan 162013
 
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Most Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls were produced as part of a series. Click on a photo to see a larger version.

See also:

Nancy Ann Storybook Doll Southern Belle Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Southern Belle Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Quaker Maid The American Girl series included the Southern Belle pictured at left and center. Like most of the Storybook Dolls, her outfit varied, but she usually has a wide-brimmed straw hat. To her right is the Quaker Maid. Other dolls in the series are Colonial Dame and Western Miss.
Left and right photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Chinese Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Dutch Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Norwegian The Around the World series includes dolls representing 17 different countries. Pictured L to R are Chinese, Dutch and Norwegian.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.
Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Swiss Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Mexican Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Scotch 3 more from the Around the World Series: Swiss, Mexican and Scotch (sic).
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.
Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Swedish Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Swedish Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Swedish Here are three different variations of the Swedish doll from the Around the World series.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.
Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Belgian Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls French Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Irish Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Portuguese L to R: Belgian, French, Irish and Portuguese from the Around the World series. Other dolls in the series include Italian, Spanish, English Flower Girl, Russian, Hungarian and Poland.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Mammy and Baby Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Bride Nancy Ann Stoybook Dolls Margie Ann Mammy and Baby (at left) are part of the Family Series, which also includes the wedding party dolls and Margie Ann (at right).
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Little Boy Blue Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Pretty Maid Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Goldilocks Little Boy Blue, Pretty Maid and Goldilocks are all from the Storybook Series. This is the largest series with about 50 different characters represented.
Photos at center and right courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.
Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Topsy Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Ring Around the Rosy Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Pretty As A Picture More from the Storybook series: L to R: Topsy, Ring Around the Rosy and Pretty As a Picture.
Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Queen of Hearts Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Queen of Hearts Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Queen of Hearts Three different versions of Queen of Hearts from the Storybook Series.
Photos at left and center courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Wednesday's Child Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Saturday's Child The Dolls of the Day Series are seven dolls representing the characteristics of children born on each day of the week, according to the old rhyme: “Monday’s child is fair of face, Tuesday’s child is full of grace” etc. Wednesday’s Child (at left) carries a hankie to indicate she is “full of woe.” Saturday’s Child (at right) “must work for a living” so she carries a broom.
Photo at right courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls March Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls March Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls March The Dolls of the Month series includes “A Breezy Girl and Arch, To Worship Me Thru March.”

Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls Antoinette Antoinette from the In Powder and Crinoline Series. This series was named after a children’s fairy tale book published in 1912. It had fabulous Art Nouveau illustrations by Danish artist Kay Nielsen. Some of the other dolls in this series are Princess Minon Minette, Prince Souci, Charmaine and Delphine.

Other Series include Nursery Rhyme, Operetta, Seasons, Sports, Flower Girl and Masquerade.



Copyright 2013 by Zendelle Bouchard

Oct 252012
 
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Ralph Freundlich started in the doll business in New York City during the 1920′s and in 1934 relocated his manufacturing operations to Clinton, MA. The company made composition dolls including mama dolls, celebrity dolls, storybook characters and military dolls. Their products were mostly cheaper quality but have personality. Most of their dolls are unmarked. After a fire destroyed the factory, the company filed for bankruptcy in 1945 and their assets were sold.

“Doll Collectors Manual 1967″ published by the Doll Collectors of America, Inc., has a wonderful collection of photos of manufacturing operations taken by Richard Merrill at the Clinton plant in 1938. Anyone interested in how composition dolls were made would appreciate seeing them. This book out of print but often available from online sources.

Note: these dolls are all unmarked, with the exception of Baby Sandy. Click on a small photo to see a larger version.

Baby Dolls
Several different models made, with painted hair and eyes, including 12″ Baby Bunting in oval box, 8″ or 12″ Nursing Doll in trunk, 9.5″ baby with basket, bedding and scale.

14" Little Orphan Annie doll by Freundlich Little Orphan Annie was made in at least three different sizes by Freundlich. The 14″ version pictured at left looks a bit different than the smaller dolls. Go to the Little Orphan Annie page to learn more. Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Feather Weight Doll
28″ tall, composition head, forearms and lower legs, stuffed cloth body, sold in assorted dresses with matching bonnets and panties.

Baby Sandy doll by Freundlich Baby Sandy doll by Freundlich Baby Sandy
This doll is the easiest Freundlich doll to identify, marked “BABY SANDY” on the back of the head. Made in 8″, 12″ and 16″ sizes, it is an all-composition portrait doll of the ’30s child star Sandra Henville. Made with either sleep eyes or painted eyes, molded hair. Baby Sandy is usually a toddler doll, but there was also a bent-leg baby version. Right photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Goldy-Locks
Composition head with big blue side-glancing eyes, blonde mohair wig in ringlet curls, pink plush body.

Trixbe
11″ Patsy type girl doll, all composition, has bent right arm and straight left arm, third and fourth fingers molded together, molded short bob hairstyle, unmarked. Both white and black versions were sold.

General Douglas MacArthur doll by Freundlich General Douglas MacArthur doll by Freundlich General Douglas MacArthur
18″ portrait doll of the World War II hero has a molded hat, military uniform, right arm bent to salute. Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Military dolls
15″ All composition dolls with molded hair and hats, dressed as Soldier, Sailor, WAAC and WAVE. All came with shield-shaped paper tags pinned to the clothing.

Animal dolls
Including 12″ rabbit, 9.5″ cat dressed as Puss in Boots, Monkey, and probably others, with human-type bodies (e.g. hands instead of paws).

Pinocchio
16″ doll with compo head and body, wooden limbs, brightly painted with red hair, blue eyes, pointy nose. Wears orange pants, green jacket with orange collar and cuffs.

Red Riding Hood set of dolls by Freundlich Red Riding Hood set
Each 9.5″ tall, simple cotton clothing, no shoes, sold in a lithographed schoolhouse box.

Three Little Pigs set
10″ pigs (each identical except for the colors of their plaid dresses), 9.5″ wolf has a different head mold than the Riding Hood wolf, with shorter snout. Sold in a boxed set.

Goo-Goo Eye Dolls
14″, 19″ and 27″ dolls with composition heads and stuffed cloth bodies. Flat celluloid eyes with moving pupils. Hair ribbon or hat stapled to head, printed fabric body. Available in white and black versions.
15″ Topsy and Eva Goo-Goo dolls were more elaborate with flesh-colored bodies, separate outfits and wigs.

Ventriloquist dolls and marionettes
A variety of ventriloquist dolls were made, including 14″ Dummy Clown and 20″ Dummy Dan, with composition heads and arms, cloth body and legs, large painted side-glancing eyes, moving jaws. 12″ Charlie McCarthy-type is all compo, jointed only at the jaw. 17″ Marionettes have compo head, hands and feet, wooden dowels for legs and moving jaws.

Dummy Don
All composition, 10″ tall, similar to Dummy Dan but without the jointed jaw.


Copyright 2005-2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Oct 052012
 
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In the early to mid-twentieth century, Effanbee made some of the world’s best and most popular composition dolls, including Grumpy, Bubbles, the Patsy family and Little Lady.

The company was started in 1910 by two businessmen who operated neighboring shops on Atlantic City’s boardwalk. Bernard Fleischaker and Hugo Baum began by selling toys and dolls; within a couple of years they were having doll heads made especially for them, and by the 1920s were making their own composition parts. Although the company was officially called Fleischaker and Baum, they began using the trademark EFFanBee (from the first letters of their last names) by 1915, and eventually that became the name of the company.

Read about rubber, hard plastic, and vinyl dolls by Effanbee here.

Click on a photo to view a larger version.

Effanbee Baby Grumpy Jr. doll Effanbee Baby Grumpy Jr. doll In the teens and early twenties, many Effanbee dolls were composition copies of popular German bisque head dolls, like Grumpy, who was produced in several sizes and variations. The doll at left is Baby Grumpy.

Coquette doll by Effanbee Coquette doll by Effanbee Coquette is another copy of a German bisque doll. The same doll was also sold as Naughty Marietta.

Effanbee Kid Body Composition doll Effanbee Kid Body Composition doll The kid bodied doll has a composition shoulder head, arms and lower legs. She dates from 1920. This is the type of doll that had been imported from Germany, and became unavailable during World War I.

Bubbles doll by Effanbee Bubbles doll by Effanbee Bubbles was a huge success for Effanbee beginning in 1926. Bubbles has an interesting composition shoulder plate that extends down under her arms. She was sold as a bent leg baby as well as a straight leg toddler. As with many early Effanbee dolls, a lot of variations exist. Bubbles was sculpted by Bernard Lipfert, who also designed Shirley Temple for Ideal, the Dionne Quintuplets for Madame Alexander, and Effanbee’s Patsy.

Patsy Ann doll by Effanbee Patsy Lou doll by Effanbee In 1928, Effanbee came out with a doll that was so original she would vault them to the forefront of the business. The doll was 14″ Patsy, and she was a sensation. Patsy was so popular that Effanbee introduced several other “family members” – similar dolls in different sizes, including 19″ Patsy Ann, pictured far left, and 22″ Patsy Lou, pictured near left. Patsy was extensively copied by other manufacturers. She also has a place in history as the first modern fashion doll, for whom extra outfits were sold.Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Skippy doll by Effanbee Skippy, a comic strip character created by Percy L. Crosby, was advertised as Patsy’s boy friend. At first he was made using Patsy’s body, but later versions have a cloth torso. Skippy was often sold in uniform, including as an aviator, baseball player, soldier and sailor.

Patsyette doll by Effanbee Wee Patsy dolls by Effanbee 9″ Patsyette (far left) & 6″ Wee Patsy are two of the smaller members of Patsy’s extended family. They were produced mostly as girls, but occasionally as boy-and-girl sets.

Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Patsy Babykin doll by Effanbee Patsy Patsy Babykin was the first all-composition baby in the Patsy line, in 1932. Prior to her introduction, there had been a cloth-bodied Patsy Baby available briefly. The all-compo version is marked Patsy Baby but was advertised and sold as Patsy Babykin.

Photos courtesy of Nancy McKee and Withington Auction, Inc.

Patsy Babyette doll by Effanbee Patsy Tinyette doll by Effanbee Patsy Babyette (far left) and Patsy Tinyette are the other babies in the Patsy family. Patsy Tinyette is marked Baby Tinyette but was never sold under that name by Effanbee. She was sold initially as a bent-leg baby, and later as a straight-leg toddler.

Tinyette photo courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out Lisa’s eBay listings.

Patricia doll by Effanbee Patricia, introduced in late 1934, was advertised as Patsy’s older sister. She is 15″ tall and has a different face from the other Patsy family girls. There were also dolls sold with Patsy marked heads and Patricia marked bodies; these are known as Patsy-Patricias by collectors.

Clippo the Clown marionette by Effanbee Clippo the Clown marionette by Effanbee Clippo the Clown (1937) is one of a series of marionettes designed by Virginia Austin. The others in the series are Emily Ann, Liza Lee and Lucifer. They have composition heads, hands and feet, with wooden body parts connected by cloth tape.

1625 Historical doll by Effanbee 1625 Historical doll by Effanbee The Historical Series of dolls are 14″ tall and represent different periods in American history. Pictured at left is the New York Settlement, 1625 doll. They were produced in 1939.

Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Effanbee Suzanne composition doll Effanbee Suzanne composition doll 14″ Suzanne (pictured) and 12″ Suzette are all-composition girl dolls made by Effanbee in the early 1940s. Suzette can have either painted eyes or sleep eyes. The same doll was also used for Effanbee’s Portrait Series.

Composition Brother doll by Effanbee Composition Brother doll by Effanbee Brother and his companion, Sister, were wartime dolls that had composition heads with cotton floss wigs and cloth bodies. A larger girl doll was made with the same construction as well.

Butin-nose doll by Effanbee Butin-nose doll by Effanbee Butin-Nose, sometimes called Betty Butin-nose, is an 8″ all composition doll with molded hair. She was sold in various outfits as well as international costumes, and was sometimes sold in pairs as a boy and girl.

Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Composition Candy Kid doll by Effanbee Candy Kid from 1946 is a 14″ all-composition molded hair toddler, who may be dressed as a boy or girl. A black version was made as well. Candy Kids were also made in vinyl in the ’50s.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out Lisa’s eBay listings.

Composition Mickey doll by Effanbee Mickey had a composition head and hands, and a cloth body. Some dolls had compo legs as well. Mickey was made in various sizes and often had flirty eyes. The same doll was also sold under the names Tommy Tucker and Baby Bright Eyes. Mickey had a twin sister too, sometimes called Katie and sometimes Janie, who wore a matching outfit. In the ’60s Effanbee sold a vinyl Mickey, who was a completely different doll.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out Lisa’s eBay listings.

Little Lady dolls by Effanbee Little Lady dolls by Effanbee In 1935, the company entered into a contract with independent doll artist Dewees Cochran to design the American Children series of dolls. These dolls had hard rubber arms with separated fingers, with the rest of the doll made of composition. Effanbee continued this construction with their Little Lady (pictured left) dolls that sold through WWII.

Read about rubber, hard plastic, and vinyl dolls by Effanbee here.

Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Aug 262012
 
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Vintage Wettums composition doll by Reliable

Wettums is an all-composition drink-and-wet baby doll made by Reliable of Canada in the late 1930s and early ’40s. Since moisture causes composition to deteriorate rapidly, most of these dolls have not survived in good condition.

Body Construction
Wettums is jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips. She has painted eyes, molded painted hair and a nurser mouth. The drink-and-wet feature was enabled by a rubber tube leading from Wettums’ mouth to his/her bottom, with a metal grommet at either end. Wettums was made in multiple sizes. The doll pictured is 12.5″ long.

Markings
Wettums is marked “RELIABLE // DOLL // MADE IN CANADA” on the back of her head.

Clothing & Packaging
The book “200 Years of Dolls” by Dawn Herlocher pictures an all original Wettums doll, wearing a sleeveless undershirt and diaper. The lettering on the box has the doll’s name spelled “Wetums” and the wording “She drinks, she wets, you’ll love her.”

Vintage Wettums composition doll by Reliable