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Children of Japan
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The Jumeau 201
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A History of Metal Dolls
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Alice, Commemorative Edition

Alice, Commemorative Edition
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Emma, aka, La Contessa Bathory
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c. 1969 Greek Plastic Mini Baby

c. 1969 Greek Plastic Mini Baby
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Iron Maiden; Middle Ages

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Sand Baby Swirls!
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Glenda's Logo

Glenda's Logo
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A French Friend

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2000+ year old Roman Rag Doll
British Museum, Child's Tomb

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Ancient Egypt Paddle Doll
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ushabti

ushabti
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Ann Parker Doll of Anne Boleyn

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Hakata Doll Artist at Work
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Favorite Dolls

Good morning on a beautiful Midwest Monday. Easter is Sunday, and this year Eastern Orthodox Easter and what we call Protestant Easter are the same Sunday. This is good, too, but we lose out on Easter sales when they are the same day. I thought I would describe a few of my favorite dolls. I'd like to limit and say two, three, or four favorites, but that is nearly impossible. The older I get, the more challenged I am at counting, though I can figure percentages in my head.

1. Vogue's 1964 Baby Dear. She is about the size of a newborn. Her name is Candy, don't ask why, and I got her when I was five. In those days [September 1965], our big local department store began displaying Christmas dolls early. There was no Toys R Us or Walmart [it was really the Dark Ages!], and the department stores had amazing things. I remember getting hard plastic Nancy Anns in boxes, beautiful Vogue, Effanbee, and Madame Alexanders, every type of Barbie available, Tammy and Ideal dolls, Horsman, silk and stockinette Bradley ladies with outfits to die for, even some nice Shackman bisques and Sasha dolls. My parents took me to look at the dolls to choose the one I liked for Christmas. I got so emotionally swept up that Candy came home in September. She has never left. She has had many "surgeries" to refurbish her stuffing, and there is a crayon heart drawn on her chest. She has several wardrobes and warm blankets; when I was six or seven, I was admonished by a lady working in one of the stores we frequented for not dressing my "baby" in warmer clothes on a cold February day. Candy has been to graduate school, has crossed country several times, and will always be with me. I have several other versions of this doll in many sizes, skin tones, with wigs, from other manufacturers. I found severl Eloise Wilkin books go go with her. She is an endearing doll, and even Krutschev liked her. After he finished banging his shoe on the table at the UN, he bought several dolls like Candy to take home as gifts. Go figure.

2. Mousie. He is a stuffed animal, about 11 inches. He is a little gray mouse wearing a pink and white lace collar. His tale is a long piece of elastic with a little bell attached. He is Candy's faithful companion and has been since I got him for my seventh birthday. He appears in the birthday picture taken of me that year.

3. The Little Drummer Boy. He isn't really a doll, but an approximately 12.5" sculpture from the Sudan. He is playing a drum. He belonged to my Uncle George, who was only a few years older than I. He was the big brother I never had, and since he was the baby of his family, I think he enjoyed the role. I took TLDB everywhere, often without exactly getting express permission. Somewhere along the line, he injured a foot. My Uncle Tom, who was an artist, repaired it. In fact, Uncle Tom learned doll hospital work through practial experience and had many patients. When my mothers' family moved out west, George left The Little Drummer Boy with me. There is a photo of me holding the little statue, and wearing my Uncle George's mortar board from I thinkg high school. In college, he used to take me with him everyhwere, and read to me from history books about Elizabeth I. I was even invited on dates with him from time to time and hte taught me to love Peter, Paul and Mary and Petula Clark. Those were really more innocent days!

4. Joanna. She is a 3" Shackman reproduction parian. Her hair is blonde, her limbs porcelain. She wears a black band in her pulled back hair. Her full name is Joanna Plantaganet, per the family given my doll house dolls. Her dress is tiny black and white stripes with leg o'mutton sleeves. She appeared in my Christmas stocking when I was ten. I have obtained sisters for her since then wearing red stripes, also from Shackman, but they are not as dainty as Joanna.

5. Charlotte; you guessed it; she is a 2" or so Frozen Charlotte with arms outstretched. She has a tiny foot injury from too much love, but then I broke my foot, too, years ago. Art imitates life. She was my first antique doll; we bought her for the huge sum of $5.00 at the Women's Club Antique show when I was seven. That was my first antique show. My poor mother hated old things, but she adored me, and the dolls, so, off we used to go. My dad would drive, but usually stayed in the car reading Newsweek. I've been going to Antique Shows ever since, and as one dealer said to me, "You grew up with us."

6. Suzanne Gibson. She is one of the little porcelain girls made for Knotts Berry Farm. At the time, she was expensive, and I was surprised my Dad bought her. As he says, his hand still hurts from writing the check. Suzanne Gibson later became a friend and a penpal, and she emailed me a photo of one of my doll's sisters. These were my first introduction to porcelain dolls and to N.I.A.D.A dolls and I was entranced. That was a great trip; I was ten, and first saw Mott's Miniature Museum, then housed in Knotts. My mom found all kinds of miniature dolls and Shackman dolls on her rounds of the toys stores and gift shops. We still have and love all these dolls, including the wooden bodied mannikin dolls with the Goeble half-doll head and long blonde curls. Suzanne's doll is really one of my all time favorites.

7. 9.5" Barrois Fashion; she has a small hairline, but great provenance. I bought her from Jim Fernando and his business partner. They even found a French bag to put her in. I went running to the bank for the money when I saw her, and they turned her face around on the table. Still, everyone wanted to buy her in my absence! I've collected all sorts of little things for her over the years, but she needs a pair of original shoes to fit her. she is fragile, and doesn't travel to lectures anymore. Everyone who does see her loves her. I never thought I would have a real French Fashion, and got very excited with this one.

8. My "misfit" or distressed dolls. These are the odds and ends I made over the years. They live in a cardboard box, but are occasionally taken out, refurbished, and displayed. Many are "wax" dolls made from melted candles, others are Play Dough and clay varnished to last. I even have a couple versions of Joan of Arc, one dressed in tin foil armour, and dozens and dozens of paper dolls. My friends often contributed to the Misfits. One of them made me a doll from two pieces of a ruler. That "little girl" now lives two doors down, and I live in a house her sister once lived in. Serendipity.

9. My "angels and demons." I love Halloween, Christmas, all holidays and their decorations. I have some gruesome dolls and litte monsters as a result. My mother used to like to dress them, so that our Alien queen wears a tasteful red knitted sunddresss, and the two-heade demon baby wears a layette, hand crocheted. My skeletons all have lovely outfits, and the largest, Ophelia, has seasonal sweaters to wear over her bride's dress. Shs sings "White Wedding" and talks. She is about the size of a three year old. At first, little kids are a little afraid of her, but then they make friends. I also love my plush bunnies, treetop angels, carolers, and leprechauns. Even the doll houses get decorated, sometimes all at once.

I think that's enough favorites for now. I may add some nostalgia in future blogs and talk about sixties/seventies doll shopping, as well as some of the dolls that got away. Happy Dolling, Happy Easter, and a Blessed Passover as well.

2 comments:

  1. So pleased to have found your blog. What a wonderful resource.

    I look forward to reading it with interest.

    Sandra

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you. I look forward to following your work, too.

    Ellen

    ReplyDelete