Jan 162013
 
Share
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
 
Share

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 292012
 
Share
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 252012
 
Share

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
These include a rabbit, cat (dressed as Puss In Boots), monkey and pig, with a Patsyette type human body (e.g. hands instead of paws). The rabbit is 12″ tall because of the ears, others are 9″ to 9.5″.

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 are 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, plush or terry cloth 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.



Learn More:

cover
Collector’s Encyclopedia of
American Composition Dolls
1900-1950
by Ursula R. Mertz
Find it on eBay.
cover
Collector’s Encyclopedia of
American Composition Dolls
1900-1950, Volume II
by Ursula R. Mertz
Find it on eBay.
cover
Compo Dolls 1928-55
by Polly and Pam Judd
Find it on eBay.

Copyright 2005-2014 by Zendelle Bouchard

Oct 152012
 
Share
Cindy doll by Dee an Cee

Dee an Cee’s 17″ Cindy was sold in the late 1950s in a variety of outfits, including a bridal gown.

Dee an Cee was a Canadian doll manufacturer from 1938 to 1964. The name was derived from the first letters of the last names of the two founders, Max Diamond and Morris Cone. The company motto was “Quality above all”.

Through the 1940s, the company made composition dolls, mostly babies, including Snuggles, Sweetums and Little Darling. They briefly experimented with rubber dolls before switching over to vinyl beginning in 1949.

Many of the their products were licensed from U.S. companies and made from the original molds. They held the Canadian licenses to produce Mattel’s Chatty Cathy and Alexander’s Marybel. Sometimes the dolls names were changed; American Character’s Baby Dear was sold by Dee an Cee as Dream Baby, while Mattel’s Scooba-Doo became Kookie in Canada.
The company produced their own original dolls too. Mandy and Dusty, designed by Morris Cone, were black brother and sister dolls with realistic features and molded hair, first produced in 1956.

Dee an Cee was the first Canadian doll company to advertise on television. After the firm was sold to Mattel in 1962, manufacturing in Canada was gradually discontinued. The name was no longer used after 1964.

Dee an Cee dolls show a variety of markings, including D&C, Dee an Cee, Dee and Cee, and DEE & CEE.

More Dee an Cee dolls:

Copyright 2000-2012 by Zendelle Bouchard