Vogue Dolls, Inc.

 

Vogue Dolls was responsible for some of the loveliest and most popular dolls of the 20th century. The company was at its height in the 1950s, when Ginny and Ginnette were imitated by nearly every other doll company in America, clamoring for a share of the market for 8″ dolls and their fashions.

Jennie Graves of Somerville, Massachusetts, began her career in the doll business in 1925 by buying nude dolls, dressing them, and selling them through department stores in the Boston area. She soon hired neighborhood women as home sewers to keep up with demand, and opened her own store, the Vogue Doll Shoppe. Throughout the twenties, thirties and forties, Mrs. Graves purchased dolls from other companies to dress. She began with German bisque head dolls, but soon added celluloid dolls as well as American-made composition, rubber, and even cloth dolls to her lineup. The composition dolls dressed by Vogue were made by Ideal, Arranbee and Madame Alexander.

Composition Dora Lee doll by Vogue Composition Dora Lee doll by Vogue Dora Lee was made from the mid 1930s to 1940s. She is 11″ tall, all composition, jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips. She is unmarked.
Photos courtesy of American Beauty Dolls Shop.

Composition Sportswomen doll by Vogue The Sportswomen Series of 14″ dolls includes a Golfer, Tennis Player and Skater in addition to the Skier pictured at left. They are all composition, jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips, with lovely mohair wigs and high color faces.
Photo courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Composition Cynthia doll by Vogue Composition Cynthia doll by Vogue Cynthia was made in 13″ and 18″ sizes. She is all compo and represents a little girl with a chubbier face and body than Dora Lee or the Sportswomen dolls. Some Cynthia dolls have a close mouth and other have an open mouth with teeth.
Photos courtesy of American Beauty Dolls Shop.

Composition Linda doll by Vogue Composition Linda doll by Vogue 19″ Linda is from the 1940s. She may have been part of a series of three “My Sisters and Me” dolls with 13″ Cynthia and 8″ Me (Toddles) dressed in matching outfits. Like most Vogue composition dolls, her name is stamped on the sole of her shoe.
Photos courtesy of American Beauty Dolls Shop.

_waacette (2K) _wave2 (5K) WAAC-ette and WAVE-ette were produced during World War II wearing replicas of the official uniforms of the women’s branches of the US military services. The 13″ composition toddler dolls were possibly produced by Ideal and/or Arranbee. Both closed mouth and open mouth dolls were used. They wear cotton dresses underneath cotton coats (navy blue for WAVE-ette and brown for WAAC-ette), matching hats with military insignia, cotton stockings, tie shoes, and shoulder bags with the letters U.S.A.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Toddles doll by Vogue Toddles doll by Vogue

In 1937, Mrs. Graves began buying 8″ composition dolls from R&B. This was Toddles. After a few years she had renowned doll designed Bernard Lipfert sculpt a new version of the doll. Toddles continued to be made until 1948, when the company switched to hard plastic.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

_fgm2 (3K) _fgm1 (3K) This 8″ hard plastic doll was the precursor to Ginny, who became the most popular doll of the 1950s. During this period, the dolls were sold with individual names (pictured at left is Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother) but by the end of 1952, the dolls had become universally known as Ginny. In 1950 the dolls began to be made with sleep eyes.

_nm_brun5 (2K) _nm_lace2 (2K) _nm_ginny1 (3K) In 1952, Ginny began to be sold as a basic doll in her underwear, with outfits available separately. Since Mrs. Graves’ main focus from the beginning had been on Vogue’s beautiful, well made clothing, this was a stroke of genius. Little mothers could now dress their doll for all occasions in everything from day dresses to formal wear to blue jeans. Ginny’s fabulous wardrobe made her the most popular doll of the 1950s.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller luving_dolls

Vogue had produced a baby doll called Velva from 1948 to 1951, with a composition head and stuffed latex rubber body. The doll was discontinued when it became apparent that the latex would begin to deteriorate after a few years, and in any case, the company wanted to concentrate all its resources on Ginny.

Ginnette by Vogue Dolls, Inc. But by 1955 they were ready to add more dolls to the lineup, and Ginnette, an 8″ vinyl baby doll was introduced. She was promoted as “Ginny’s baby sister.” Of course, she had extra fashions too. Ginnette was a popular doll, and like Ginny before her, was copied by many other companies.
Photo courtesy of American Beauty Dolls Shop.

_jillad (4K) _vinyljil (1K) In 1957 the family grew again with the addition of “Ginny’s big sister,” Jill, a 10.5″ high-heeled fashion doll with jointed knees. Like her little sisters, she had clothes for every occasion. The hard plastic version of Jill was made through 1960; then in 1962 and ’63, a vinyl version, called All New Jill (pictured at left) was produced.

_ns_jeff (2K) _ns_jan1 (3K) In 1958 and ’59, Vogue grew Ginny’s family again with the additions of 11″ Jeff and and 10.5″ Jan. Both dolls were all vinyl. Jan was meant to be a friend for Jill, while Jeff could be either Jill’s boyfriend or Ginny’s big brother. They were only made for a couple of years. In 1963-64, a new 12″ version of Jan was made, first called Loveable Jan and then Sweetheart Jan. Those later Jan dolls are much harder to find today.

Littlest Angel by Vogue Doll Co. Littlest Angel doll by Vogue In 1958, Vogue purchased the Arranbee Doll Co. and further expanded their line with dolls such as Littlest Angel, who was produced with a vinyl head and hard plastic body beginning in 1961. The doll at left is the later all-vinyl version, made from 1967-74. A third version, available through 1980, has a slightly different face. Photos courtesy of American Beauty Dolls Shop.

Vintage Brikette doll by Vogue Vintage Brikette doll by Vogue Brikette was a licensed copy of an Italian doll made by Bonomi. Vogue’s 22″ version was introduced in 1959 and bright orange hair, flirty green eyes and a ball-jointed waist. A year later they introduced a 16″ version who didn’t have the flirty eyes. Platinum blonde and brunette dolls were added to the line as well. She had extra outfits available. The original version of Brikette was made for two years, but was reintroduced in 1979 in a very different version.

Li'l Imp doll by Vogue Li’l Imp is a Littlest Angel doll with orange hair, green eyes and freckles. She was marketed as “Brikette’s kid sister.” She is 11″ tall, with a vinyl head and hard plastic bent-knee walker body. She is marked “R&B” on her head and body.

Vintage Baby Dear doll by Vogue Vintage Baby Dear doll by Vogue Baby Dear was designed by children’s book illustrator Eloise Wilkin. The original version, produced from 1960-64, is a realistic looking baby with vinyl head and floppy limbs, painted eyes, and a cloth body. She was made in 18″ and 12″ sizes.
Vintage Baby Dear doll by Vogue Vintage Baby Dear doll by Vogue In 1964, Baby Dear was redesigned with a new head with sleep eyes. In 1965, she was redesigned again and this final version, pictured at left, was produced until 1980.

Vintage Li'l Dear doll by Vogue The “Dear” line was also expanded with other dolls including Baby Dear One, Too Dear and 8″ Li’l Dear, pictured at left. She has the same head as the smallest version of Ginny Baby, but with the floppy cloth body of Baby Dear.

Mrs. Graves retired in 1960 and her daughter Virginia Carlson took over the company. She in turn retired six years later and her brother-in-law, Edwin Nelson became president of Vogue.

In 1972, Vogue was sold to the Tonka Corporation. They continued to produce Ginny in Far Away Lands outfits, as well as Baby Dear, Littlest Angel and Ginny Baby. They also introduced a few new dolls to the line, including Wash-a-Bye Baby and Precious Baby. Photo of Scotland Ginny courtesy of eBay seller king-auctions.

The company changed hands several more times until it was purchased by the present owners in 1995, and re-launched under the name Vogue Doll Co. Today, the company focuses on Ginny dolls, in classic and contemporary styles, for children as well as collectors. They have introduced a new version of Jill as well. Visit their website at www.voguedolls.com.

If you are interested in learning more about Jill, Jan and Jeff, visit Vicki Broadhurst’s Vogue Jill website.



Learn More:

cover
Collector’s Encyclopedia of
Vogue Dolls
by Judith Izen & Carol Stover
More info from Amazon
or
Find it on eBay.

Copyright 2006-2013 by Zendelle Bouchard.

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