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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dolls for Boys and Nearly 20,000 Viewers!

It hit me that I hadn't been on for a while; just too much happening, and Emma's death affected us all badly. I am excited to be near the 20,000 mark for this blog. Thanks, and I love everyone who views, reads, follows, comments!! Let's keep it up. The worlds of dolls and doll history are more exciting than ever. At least three more panels at this years Midwest Modern Language Assoc. Convention will address them. Perhaps in these dangerous and fleeting times of violence and disposable technology, it is nice to have something created in our own images to hold on to. After all, who doesn't have a favorite statute? Photo? Portrait? Figurine or stuffed animal? Doll? Action Figure? Jack-in-the Box? All these are made in the human image, often to memorialize it. It struck me that little boys also have their dolls, and there are dolls like William's Doll of the Zolotow book made for them. Of course Andy has Woody in Toy Story, and there are bad little Kids like Syd in those movies who love to war with the other dolls and toys. I've known many little boys with their toy soldiers and G.I. Joes, and many with a a favorite bear, including mine with Pooh, Jelly Bean, Blizzard, and Meow Meow, members of the family, one and all. Men, of course collect dolls, and they are on my Facebook groups. Some are famous, others simply like history and art. Jim Fernando has been a legendary collector and I am proud to own some small dolls that belonged to him. My first doll book was by John Noble, and two of my favorite authors on dolls are Carl Fox and Max von Boehn. John Axe, my friend, one time editor, and penpal, will always live in my heart, as does my good friend, the distinguished writer on many subjects and doll historian, R. Lane Herron, frequent contributor to Doll Castle News, edited in part, by Mr. Barry Mueller. I owe my first Doll Reader article to Chris Revi, another distinguished figure in the doll world, and my successful auctions to Mr. Noel Barret and Andy Ourant. A recent episode of my beloved Family Affair took Buffy and Mrs. Beasley to a doll hospital in New York, surely a tribute to Mr. Irving Chais, who ran The New York Doll Hospital till his death. There are of course, the many doll makers, Ravca, Jumeau, Bru, Sherman Smith, Schoenhut, the distributor Borgfeldt, my very special Armand Marseilles, Schmidt, Seymor Mann, Gautier, Kallus, Elliot Handler, Johny Gruelle, Lewis Sorensen, Joel Ellis, Darrow, Michtom, Fleishaker and Baum [Effanbee], Nick Alexander, the list is endless. So, long live our boys and their dolls. May they play long and happy!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Irena Sendler

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Irena Sendler: On Behalf of The Holocaust Education Committee, to which I belong, here is some basic information, a flier really, with Judy Winnick playi...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Doll Marks

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Doll Marks: Link to a great site from a friend on Facebook: This is a great reference site!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Modern Dolls; The 20th century

I recommend a tour of the National Museum of play online collections, which is set up by century and type, and Johanna Gast Anderton's books, including both volumes of 20th Century Dolls. Pat Smith's Modern Doll Books are also excellent. Below is something I stumbled on from Bella Online: Museums Site Kim Kenney BellaOnline's Museums Editor Antique Spotlight – 20th Century Dolls This is the sixth in a series of antique spotlights focusing on dolls. Each article will feature a museum to visit that currently has dolls on display! Doll culture blossomed after the turn of the century. Mass production, widespread distribution, mass marketing, and new technologies helped the doll industry expand. Illustrated catalogs, lavish window displays, and planned events played a significant role. Events drew huge crowds. In 1913, a California department store hosted 5000 girls at one doll tea party! In this era, toys began to be linked to commercial products. Campbell Soup Kid dolls and Cracker Jack Boy dolls are two well-known examples from the era. "New Kid" dolls like Raggedy Ann and Andy, harkened back to the preferred ragdolls of previous generations. These flexible character dolls were made of soft, washable materials. By the 1930s, movies were a popular pastime, and the doll industry followed suit with dolls like Shirley Temple and Little Orphan Annie. Companion Dolls In the 1910s and 1920s, EI Horsman and Effanbee expanded the child-doll population by producing "companion dolls." According to author Howard P. Chudacoff, with their "rosy cheeks, sparkling eyes, and sometimes mischievous expressions," these dolls became girls' fantasy friends. One of the most popular companion dolls of the era was Effanbee's "Patsy." Born in 1924, Patsy is an early example of a "wardrobe doll," because she had her own line of clothing. More Realistic Dolls Effanbee also extended the trend of making dolls more realistic with Dy-Dee baby, introduced in 1934. Around the same time, Ideal created Betsy Wetsy, who drank and excreted real water. As dolls became more life-like, doll play more closely approximated the experience of actually handling a baby. “My mother allowed me to get out of bed after I had gone to bed, recalled Ann Klos, a participant in the Doll Oral History Project at the Strong Museum of Play, “to give my baby a bottle because that is what mothers did." Aggressive Marketing Even as the industry was expanding in the early 20th century, the idea that girls did not "prefer doll play" posed a serious threat. With more play options open to them than ever before, girls were not always playing with their dolls. Playing outside on bicycles and ice skates and flying kites were becoming popular among girls as gender roles relaxed a bit. Marketing campaigns began to re-establish gender stereotypes to secure a market for their dolls. According to one observer in 1908, “The little girls who have always cried for dolls at Christmas, are this year crying for Teddy Bears, and dolls are left on the shelves to cry the paint off their pretty cheeks because of the neglect." Marketing efforts focused on idealizing femininity through dolls. Perfect "baby dolls" encouraged motherhood and homemaking, while dolls like Flossie the Flirt "modeled husband-getting." Doll makers wanted mothers and girls to buy more dolls. Knowing that women were most likely to purchase toys for children, toy departments employed more women to sell dolls to mothers. They devised new marketing techniques that would likely appeal to women, including more ads in women's magazines and cameo appearances by dolls in movies. DOLLS ON EXHIBIT Visitors to the Heritage Village Museum, located near Cincinnati, Ohio, can see several dolls on display. ”Throughout the village,” says Lesley J. Poling, director of curatorial services, “as well as off-site at the Hauck House, an Italianate home located in downtown Cincinnati, dolls of various materials can be found, from china, wood and composition to bisque, leather, and cloth.” Most of the museum’s dolls date between 1860 and 1910. “Notable dolls include a Civil War era china flat top with sausage curls, a lovely Jumeau-type French fashion doll, a molded leather Darrow, and two one-of-a-kind homemade and handmade primitive dolls; including a ‘topsy-turvy’ which features one end made of black cloth and the other of white cloth,” says Poling. “In addition to dolls, the museum has an array of doll and doll house furniture and clothing – even scrimshaw limb replacements made for a small doll!” Heritage Village Museum is also home to the Millie Huehn Collection of Doll and Fashion Research Books, Catalogs, and Magazines - a wonderful and extensive resource for researchers.

19th c Folk Dolls

Our next post or two will dwell on folk dolls of the 19th century. As writings by writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries show, collecting folk dolls and making them was a popular hobby for men and women. Some of these collectors also wrote about their doll adventures. These authors include G.Stanley Hall, 1897 A Study of Dolls, Laura Starr, The Doll Book, 1908, and Emily Jackson, Toys of Other Days, 1908/. All can still be purchased, and they should be free on Google Books. These authors talk of dolls and doll making in countries that no longer exist on the world map. Loretta Holz's How To Book of International Dolls has great information about making folk dolls, but also the history of international dolls around the world. Wendy Lavitt's American Folk Dolls is a great source, as are also The Collector's Encyclopedia of Dolls, Volumes I and II. Helen Young's The Complete Book of Doll Making and Collecting and Mary Hillier's Dolls and Dollmakers have great chapters on folk and foreign dolls. My book, A Bibilography of Dolls and Toy Sources has many entries on them, too. You can still get this book from me, or from Amazon. My book on metal dolls, With Love from Tin Lizzie, addresses folk dolls made of metal. That book is available from me or My friend, artist Jeanne O'Melia is well known for her dolls and figures made of found objects, both old and new. Godey's and other magazines of the era include ideas for paper dolls, paper dolls themselves, doll dress patterns, and doll patterns. Worsted or knitted dolls were popular at this time, and dolls made of shells for Britanny and elsewhere were popular souvenirs from about 1830 on. We have one in the museum from this era; it is of papier mache, and is covered with tiny shells of brown and white. The doll has black, inset glass eyes that do not move and stands about 9 inches. I also have a shell doll from Delphi, and many dolls from Florida and California. made of shells. Our doll house has a chaise lounge decorated in shells that was probably a Sailor's Valentine pin cushion. Sailor's Valentines are small objects often decorated with shells and bits of marine flora/fauna made on long voyages for loved ones. Scrimshaw is another example. Dried apple dolls date to the 19th century and early. We have already discussed the ancient origins of bread and gingerbread dolls on this blog and on Dr. E's Doll Museum. Dr. E's Greening Tips for the Common Person has articles on Corn Dollies from England and Europe, and other pieces and photos of folk dolls. Cornhusk and corncob dolls date from the 19th century and earlier and originated with Native American Culture. The Little House Books feature Susan the corncob doll and discuss dolls of husks and tiny twigs made of acorns. Dolls from Africa an dry climates are often made of grasses or even banana leaves. Rushes, all kinds of paper, plants and dried flowers like Holly Hocks were made into dolls and still are. Pansies look like dolls all by themselves. Small clay dolls have been made around the world for centuries, including ancient terracotta and faience dolls of Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Latin America. They also existed in Ancient China and Japan. Laura Ingalls Wilder also writes about rag dolls, and paper dolls, all home made. Lois Lenski wrote stories about a little girl who made dolls of gourds. Our local gourd fesitval boasts examples made as large, jointed dolls, all made of gourds. Old bowling pins show up at craft and doll shows, too. Louisa May Alcott, like the fictional Dickensian Jenny Wren, dressed dolls for a living at one point. Alcott collected chicken feathers to use in dolls hats. The Edinburgh Museum of Childhood boasts a doll made of an old shoe. Lobster and crab claw dolls have been made as souvenirs since the 19th century, too. Our museum has hundreds of folk dolls made of Kleenex, plants and flowers, pine cones, seeds, found objects, old tins and cans, borken doll parts, wooden blocks, bricks, shells,leahter/furs, dried fruit, rolled up newspapers, old magazines, old bottles, blocks of wood, paper towel holders, soap, wax, gourds, pumpkins, fake snowmen, wood, cloth, woven materials, mixed media, paper, clay and mud, elephant excrement made into paper, dried nuts, pasta, candy and sugar, salt dough, dried fish, paper clay, play dough, corncopbs, cornhusk, rushes and grasses, raffia, canvas, old rags, animal bones and other fossilized materials, pecan resin, coal, metal, lobster claws, buttons, knitted material, crocheted material, tatting, and much more. Many are now over 100 years old. One of our favorites is a dried apple doll laid out in a coffin, created to explain death to a family of children born nearly a century ago.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Dr. Who's Queen Anne Doll

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Dr. Who's Queen Anne Doll: Tonight's Dr. Who features doll monsters that turn people into dolls that look like them. The dolls have faces like Queen Anne Wooden d...