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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Thursday, July 12, 2018

10 Clues You Might Be a Doll Addict - Ruby Lane Blog

10 Clues You Might Be a Doll Addict - Ruby Lane Blog: On the Dolls Lane, we live and breathe dolls all day, every day. It’s safe to say that we are doll addicts. If you’ve heard the saying, ‘it takes one to know one,’ let us know if any of these telltale clues apply to you! 1.    You tell your fiancé that you would rather have... Read more »

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Informal Museum Shots including some New Finds; Happy 4th!!

Please enjoy a survey of some of our dolls; if dolls tell the story of mankind, the my museum and I would like to illustrate humanity' biography.

Video of our dolls from our YouTube channel

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: One Step Closer to being a Museum and Happy 4th!

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: One Step Closer to being a Museum and Happy 4th!: Happy and safe 4th of July!!  This is a special one for us.  Today, we took another step closer to becoming a brick and mortar doll museum. ...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dolls and More Vintage Variations

Vintage dolls are defined as those made before 1960, and include antique dolls.  Antique dolls are those that are between 75 and 100 years ago.  Since dolls made in 1960 are now over fifty years old, the term Vintage is liberally and practically applied by most dealers to dolls made roughly thirty years ago or earlier.

For example, many early reproductions, like those by Emma Clear, are hitting age 75, or close to it.  By some definitions, these are now antique dolls, much as the Caryatid maiden Lord Elgin supplied The Parthenon with over 200 years ago is now an antique, even if it is fake.  He took the original home to England with the other so-called Elgin Marbles. 

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Porch of Maidens on Acropolis, One is a Fake.  The Elgin Marble, Public Domain

To others, though, these 75+ year old reproductions are merely vintage dolls.  Also, many hard plastic and composition dolls have hit age 75, same argument applies to them.

My childhood dolls fall into the vintage category.  To some, they are Antiques.  The first time I bought a 1960s 8 inch vinyl Girl Scout doll in a thrift store, the young clerk wanted to know if I collected “antique” dolls.  I was flabbergasted!  I hardly think of myself as an antique, and this was a doll from my early childhood.

Emma Clear Blue Scarf Doll, public domain

I would have loved to have more of my mother's and aunt's dolls, but alas, they took a trip to Europe in 1938 that cost them 8 years of their lives.  My mother only had a few dolls, and two were the dolls like Duchess and Carlson dolls used, 7.5 inch hard plastic dolls.  She dressed them in Greek national costumes. One is still at my grandmother's, but the Amalia, that represents the first modern Greek queen, is with me.  The other doll I have was given to her when she was a young teacher.  It is a small, stockinette doll with black floss braids, made by little girls in a school in Ecuador over 90 years ago.

The interest in Vintage dolls is increasing.  Now that the Baby Boomers are becoming seniors, many have discovered an interest in the dolls and toys of their childhood.  Books like “I had that Doll!” have become best sellers in the collectible world, and many books have popped up that are devoted to these dolls.  Johanna Gast Anderson, Pat Smith, A. Glenn Mandeville, Judith Izen and Patricia Schoonmaker are just a few of the authors who have written books featuring Vintage dolls.

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Public Domain

One company whose dolls may be considered vintage is Carlson Dolls.  Carlson Dolls were founded in Minnesota in 1946 by Ray and Ann Carlson.  Apparently, they were the manufacturers of the “Skookums” dolls designed by Mary McAboy.  They began to create the costumed dolls for which they are famous in the 1950s.  I saw Carlson dolls in museum shops as late as the early 2000s, but have not seen any new dolls since. One source says the company went out of business in 1997 despite the efforts of sons Lowell and David.  Once again, foreign imports, this time from China, affected production, this time forcing the company to close.

Besides Skookums, Carlson produced Minnetonka Moccasins for the Arrowhead Company and novelty salt and pepper shakers. They made plush toys and ski boots at one time, too.  By the 1960s, allegedly due to competition from Japanese manufacturers, Carlson devoted itself to dolls.

In its heyday, Carlson made 500 different dolls, created by 100 employees in three factories.  The dolls were sold in tourist parks and National Landmark sites.  I bought Carlson dolls in Fort Cody, NE, Disneyland, The Buffalo Bill Museum, LeClaire, IA, Springfield, IL, and other tourist shops.  Wisconsin Dells shops were good sources, and the largest selection was at the Wyoming report, Little America.
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Skookums Public Domain, note two small dolls with apple heads

If you watch "The Danny Thomas Show" on classic TV, you will see these dolls as part of his daughter's doll collection in some scenes.  Of course, the show also inspired the Linda Williams doll.

There were three kinds of dolls sold; these were generic dolls made by other companies, but dressed by Carlson dolls.  The dolls usually had a paper tag around their foot or a hangtag.

7.5 inch dolls were like the Duchess Dolls, or Dress-Me dolls popular during the fifties.  My first Carlson doll was this size, and was the Apache Princess.  Actually, there was a 4th type of doll, the 2 inch babies that the Native American female dolls often carried.

The 7.5 inch dolls had moving heads and arms and sleeping eyes.  Their wigs are soft mohair.  They did not move their legs.  Sometimes, the clothes are stapled on.  The Native American dolls wear buckskin and authentic fabrics.  The Navajo dolls where jewelry.  Civil War Soldiers have appropriate facial hair, and Victorian and Colonial women wear the proper hats, mob caps and shawls.

7 inch child dolls were cubby with painted eyes.  Some also had moveable legs.  There was a hard plastic Ginny type doll that was dressed in red velvet as Santa.   The example like this in my collection came from Lake Geneva.

6 inch “Pudgy” dolls moved their heads and arms and often represented Native American dolls.  Earlier dolls wore buckskin, but I have a later example with a felt outfit. I often bought these at our local Sac/Fox Pow Wow.

4 inch toddler dolls resembled the Uneeda PeeWees. Some of these were made by IRWIN.

11 inch dolls looked identical to the 7.5 inch dolls, but often had jointed legs.  They usually wore similar costumes. 

Native American dolls were made with larger 10.5 inch vinyl dolls, too.  These had sleep eyes and carried the same 2 inch babies as the 7.5 inch dolls.  At least one of these has won a prize in her category at the UFDC Convention.

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Author's collection

The 18 inch plus size dolls are my favorites.  They cost as much as $60.00 when I was little, and made a wonderful display.  These dolls had child-like faces, rooted hair and sleep eyes.  Supposedly, Carlson made very large porcelain dolls, some attached to cradle boards, but I’ve not seen these.

They made doll purses of leather with built in dolls, and used the 6 inch dolls for the most art.

I’ve seen many variations in these dolls over the years,  representing many Native American tribes and historical characters.  Some of the historical characters included Martha Washington, Mary Todd Lincoln, Priscilla Alden, Betsy Ross, American Revolutionary War soldiers,  Benjamin Franklin, British General, and more.

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Carlson dolls are well made and are popular at Native American art and artifact shows. They display well and are easy to store.  Their clothes are accurate down to the last detail.  They were affordable for the most part when new, but some are increasing in value.  It is harder to find them with the paper label these days.  Many other companies copied Carlson Dolls, but none seemed to compare with their quality.