Jan 162013
 
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Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls, Inc. is best known for their 4.5″ to 7″ bisque (and later, hard plastic) dolls, mostly of storybook characters, dressed in an endless variety of outfits and sold in polka dot boxes from the ’30s through the ’50s. But the company sold lots of other dolls, and this page is about them.

For details on the storybook dolls, see the Nancy Ann Storybook dolls page and the Nancy Ann Storybook series page.


_baby1 (1K) _aobaby (4K) The babies are some of the earliest dolls sold by the company. They were purchased from other companies and dressed by Nancy Ann. Many were made in Japan. These painted bisque babies are 3.5″ and 4.5″ tall.


_pink1 (3K) _pink2 (3K) After having great success with the Storybook Dolls for a number of years, in 1952, Nancy Ann branched out to other types of dolls with the Style Show series. These dolls are 18″ tall, all hard plastic with stunning outfits. These dolls are unmarked and difficult to identify unless wearing a documented outfit. They were only produced for a few years.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller luving_dolls


_red1 (4K) _yellow1 (2K) _face (4K) In 1953, the 8″ hard plastic toddler, Muffie, was introduced. She was similar to Vogue’s very popular Ginny doll. Muffie’s head was made of vinyl beginning in 1957 and she was produced into the 1960s. She had an extensive selection of extra outfits available.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.


_basic1 (4K) _basic2 (5K) Debbie was a slightly larger version of Muffie at 10.5″ tall. She was a hard plastic walking doll. Some Debbies were made with vinyl heads as well.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.
_basic3 (4K) _debbie3902 (6K)
_green1 (2K) _mnafull (2K) _lmna1 (4K) _tagged (3K) 10.5″ Miss Nancy Ann was the company’s answer to Ideal’s popular Little Miss Revlon. An 8″ Little Miss Nancy Ann was also made. These dolls are all vinyl with mature figures and high heeled feet. They had extra boxed outfits available. For more information, go to the Miss Nancy Ann and Little Miss Nancy Ann pages.

In the late fifties, Miss Abbott became ill with cancer and the company struggled to keep up production. She died in 1964, and her partner, Mr. Rowland, who was also ill, was unable to keep the company afloat. Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls closed its doors in 1965. The assets of the company were sold to Albert Bourla, who produced a series of Muffie Around the World dolls in 1967. Aline, a low-quality Barbie-type doll, and her little sister Missie were produced during the ’70s. Mr. Bourla owned the company for nearly forty years before selling it (on eBay!) to the current owners, Claudette Buehler and Delene Budd. The company has undergone a renaissance with a new sculpt by Dianna Effner in the tradition of the original Storybook dolls.





Copyright 2004-2013 by Zendelle Bouchard.

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

Jan 022013
 
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Wake Up Thumbelina is a baby doll made by Ideal in 1976. She was the last of the moving Thumbelina dolls made by Ideal, continuing the line that had begun in 1961 with the original Thumbelina. The earlier versions moved by means of a pull string; but Wake Up Thumbelina requires 2 D-cell batteries. When you press the switch in her back, she raises her head and arms, and turns over.

Wake Up Thumbelina doll by Ideal


Photo courtesy of eBay seller dreamalong.

Body Construction
Wake Up Thumbelina is 18″ long, and has a vinyl head with rooted hair and painted eyes. She has a very unusual body construction with hard plastic torso and arms, and stuffed cloth legs which are part of her sewn-on outfit. She is jointed at the neck and shoulders. She has a battery compartment in her rear end with the switch in her back. She was sold as a white doll with blonde hair and blue eyes, or a black doll with brunette hair and brown eyes.

Wake Up Thumbelina doll by Ideal


Photo courtesy of eBay seller dreamalong.

Markings
She is marked “©1976 // IDEAL TOY CORP. // WB-18-H-251″ on the back of her head and “©1976 // IDEAL [in an oval] // HOLLIS N.Y. 11423″ on her upper back.

Wake Up Thumbelina doll by Ideal


Photo courtesy of eBay seller dreamalong.

Clothing
Wake Up Thumbelina wears a one-piece non-removable sleeper. The white top is a nylon knit, with the yellow bottom part of synthetic flannel. The legs of the sleeper are soft stuffed to form the doll’s legs. The “trap door” in back accesses the battery compartment. A pink ribbon in her hair matches the pink ribbon on the front of her outfit.

Wake Up Thumbelina doll by Ideal

Packaging
She was sold in a cardboard box with all over graphics illustrating and describing her movements. She came with a sheet of operating instructions.



Copyright 2013 by Zendelle Bouchard.

Nov 252012
 
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Vintage composition Dopey doll by Knickerbocker

Composition Dopey doll by Knickerbocker.
Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

The Knickerbocker Toy Co., founded in 1927, is undoubtedly best known for its Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, which it produced from the early 1960s through the 1980s. The company made many other cloth dolls during its long history, including Disney characters such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, cartoon characters such as Little Lulu, Little Orphan Annie and the Flintstones, and girl dolls with molded faces similar to the ones produced by Georgene and Mollye. The company also produced some wonderful composition dolls including the characters from the comic strip Blondie, Disney’s Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Holly Hobbie was a big seller for Knickerbocker in the 1970s, in both cloth and vinyl versions. Knickerbocker was bought out by Hasbro in 1983, but they continued to produce dolls under the Knickerbocker name, including the wonderful line of Magic Attic vinyl play dolls designed by Robert Tonner in the 1990s. In 2001, Marie Osmond and her husband purchased Knickerbocker and changed its name to Marian LLC. That company later became part of Charisma Brands.

This is a very partial list. Click on a small photo to see a larger version.

Composition Grumpy doll by Knickerbocker Composition Snow White doll by Knickerbocker Knickerbocker’s Snow White doll is all composition, with molded black hair. Her satin dress has a velveteen bodice. The 7 Dwarfs are dressed in velveteen outfits, and have mohair beards. Photos courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out her eBay listings.

Composition Pinocchio doll by Knickerbocker Composition Pinocchio doll by Knickerbocker Pinocchio‘s composition arms and legs are molded to look like jointed wood. Photos courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out her eBay listings.

Cloth 7 Dwarfs dolls by Knickerbocker The cloth versions of the 7 Dwarfs have velveteen outfits that are part of their bodies, and molded mask faces. The doll on the left may have a replaced beard. Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

1964 Raggedy Andy by Knickerbocker 1964 Raggedy Andy by Knickerbocker 1964 Raggedy Ann by Knickerbocker 1964 Raggedy Ann by Knickerbocker Knickerbocker began producing Raggedy Ann and Andy in 1963. This pair dates to 1964. Photos courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out her eBay listings.
Bedtime Raggedy Andy by Knickerbocker Bedtime Raggedy Ann by Knickerbocker Bedtime Raggedy Ann and Andy wear flannel pjs and nightie instead of their usual outfits. Their printed eyes are safer for babies. They were made starting in 1979. Photos courtesy of Paul Muhlbach. Check out his eBay listings.

Beloved Belindy doll by Knickerbocker Beloved Belindy is another character from the Raggedy Ann stories. The Knickerbocker version doesn’t resemble Johnny Gruelle’s original illustrations very much though. Photo courtesy of Paul Muhlbach. Check out his eBay listings.

Nancy cloth doll by Knickerbocker Nancy cloth doll by Knickerbocker In 1973, Knickerbocker made a series of miniature rag dolls of cartoon characters, including Nancy and Sluggo. Photos courtesy of Sandy Blaine. Check out her eBay listings.
Miniature Fred Flintstone rag doll by Knickerbocker Miniature Pebbles Flintstone rag doll by Knickerbocker Flintstones characters Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm were also part of the Miniature rag dolls series. Photos courtesy of Dennis Mah. Check out his eBay listings.

Floppy Sox doll by Knickerbocker The Floppy Sox dolls from 1974 are made to look like homemade sock dolls. There was a boy and girl doll made.

Holly Hobbie's friend Heather by Knickerbocker Holly Hobbie's friend Heather by Knickerbocker Holly Hobbie rag dolls by Knickerbocker Holly Hobbie and her friends were made in several sizes in the mid-70s. Vinyl versions were made too. Photos courtesy of Sandy Blaine. Check out her eBay listings.
Cowpokes dolls by Knickerbocker The Cowpokes dolls, copyrighted 1981, are a cute Western-themed boy and girl. Read more on the Cowpokes page.

Star Trek Captain Kirk cloth doll by Knickerbocker Star Trek Mr. Spock doll by Knickerbocker Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock from Star Trek were made in 1979, with vinyl heads and cloth bodies. No other characters from the series were made. Photos courtesy of King Auctions. Check out their eBay listings.

Vinyl Snoopy doll by Knickerbocker Vinyl Snoopy doll by Knickerbocker Peanuts character Snoopy and his sister Belle were made as 8″ all vinyl fashion dolls in the early ’80s, with extra outfits available. Snoopy was always accompanied by his little sidekick, Woodstock. Photos courtesy of Dennis Mah. Check out his eBay listings.
Vinyl Snoopy doll by Knickerbocker Vinyl Snoopy doll by Knickerbocker The 5″ vinyl version of Snoopy (with Woodstock) has Astronaut, Chef and Sport playsets. Photos courtesy of Sandy Blaine. Check out her eBay listings.

Moppets Missy doll by Knickerbocker Baby Moppets Sugar Cones dolls by Knickerbocker Missy, Mindy and Mandy are the Moppets – small, all-vinyl dolls produced by Knickerbocker in 1981. All-vinyl Baby Moppets were made as well. The Sugar Cone Baby Moppets have vinyl heads and cloth bodies.
Photos courtesy of Dennis Mah. Check out his eBay listings.

Dolly Pops by Knickerbocker Dolly Pops from the late ’70s – early ’80s are one piece plastic dolls with rooted hair. The dolls “pop” in and out of their playsets, and their one-piece plastic outfits “pop” on and off. Photos courtesy of Dennis Mah. Check out his eBay listings.

Annie Rag Doll by Knickerbocker World of Annie vinyl dolls by Knickerbocker Knickerbocker made Annie dolls as a tie-in to the 1982 movie starring Aileen Quinn as Annie and Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks. Cloth and vinyl versions of Annie were made in multiple sizes; other characters from the film were made about 6″ tall in vinyl, and as 2.75″ miniatures.



Copyright 2006-2012 by Zendelle Bouchard