SO Many Reasons Why We Like to Collect Dolls…

Hello!  I’m happy to be back with you here again!  Tomorrow will be June 1st!   We will soon be into the full swing of summer fun and activities here in the Midwest, USA.   I hope the weather is nice in the area that you call home.  In recent weeks, I have been asked on several occasions “why do I like/collect dolls?”  To me, it seemed like an odd question as many people collect many different things in life.  After giving the subject some thought, I came up with several “reasons” why people collect dolls.  Please grab a cool drink and sit for just a moment to read through this post to see if any of the ‘reasons” fit you…..

You’re in GOOD company if you love to collect dolls of any kind.  “Doll People” are good people.   Some famous people, such as actress Demi Moore and actor Johnny Depp, collect dolls.  Some collect dolls because they are full of personality and charm.  You may collect purely for investment purposes.  After all, an original and mint condition G.I. Joe doll can bring in a pretty penny, as can a rare, vintage, or designer Barbie doll.  You probably already know that not all dolls are worth a fortune, so there may be other reasons behind your collecting – such as…..

You Love Antiques – Some of the most beautiful antiques are dolls.  Antique dolls are also accessible and can be kept in small spaces and moved when necessary, unlike a large piece of antique furniture.  Antique dolls can also be affordable.  China, or porcelain dolls from the mid-1800s can be relatively inexpensive to collect.  If you love antiques of all kinds, dolls can fit in well with other collections such as vintage toys, trains, and Christmas items.  It is widely debated as to what makes a doll antique.  In general terms, a doll that is at least 100 years old is considered to be antique.  A doll manufactured before 1960 may be called vintage.  Finally, a doll made between 1960 and 1980 might be considered a modern collectible.  

You’re a History Buff – You may just love historical items.  Dolls from various eras are considered iconic.  Consider a Barbie from 1966 or a bisque doll made in either France or Germany during the 1800s.  You may find it appealing to focus on one time period in history and the dolls that were manufactured then.  Visiting doll museums and attending historical lectures can give you great pleasure.  Studying up on dolls from your favorite era can offer you a wealth of knowledge.  

You Love Vintage Fashion – Oftentimes, it is a love of vintage fashion that calls to doll collectors.  Through dolls, you can collect fashion history.  You might be drawn to outfits with hoop skirts, pantaloons, layers of outerwear, formal gloves, and hats.  Or you may adore the mod look of vintage Barbie dolls in mini-skirts.







You Like Sewing Costumes – Costuming is a skill you can use on dolls.  You may love to sew literary-era costumes,  simple baby doll or children’s play outfits for your dolls.  You can find a plethora of sewing patterns available for dolls of all types, from American Girl to Barbie to Patti Playpal to antique dolls.  Finding miniature and to-scale materials, buttons, and trim is half the fun.  

Nostalgia Warms Your Heart – You may have come into doll collecting after coming across a group of your childhood toys.  Nostalgia may have hit you hard! Some collectors fervently try to find and replace lost childhood toys and dolls to honor their youth.  It can be a poignant moment when recapturing the joys of your childhood.  

Dolls Brighten Up Christmas – If you collect vintage or antique Christmas ornaments, you may also collect equally ornamental dolls.  Dolls can make beautiful displays under or next to  a beautiful, dazzling Christmas tree.  

Dolls Soothe Your Soul – Dolls can look so lifelike that they can soothe your emotional needs.  If you are feeling lonely or grieving, the presence of your doll collection can make you happy.  Sometimes a collection of dolls helps you uncover and let loose emotions that need to be expressed.  If you’ve ever talked to a pet before, you will understand the power of having a doll nearby when you are feeling a bit blue.  

Dolls Fit With Your Decor – You might like decorating with dolls.  A single doll is a dramatic accessory that can become the focal point in a room.  A period doll in a room decorated from the same era is an especially thoughtful decorating touch.  You might prefer placing a larger, almost life-size doll on an antique chair that you want  to preserve.  Or, organizing a larger collection can make a classic backdrop to a room.  A display of Barbie dolls dressed all in red ball gowns can make a striking collection, for example.  

You’re Carrying On a Tradition – There are people who have inherited an estate from a mother, grandmother, or other beloved family member who was an avid doll collector.  You may have strong feelings of keeping the collection rather than selling it.  Continuing the collection, researching the origins, and identifying the value of the dolls can be a way to honor and to feel close to a cherished family member.  

You Just Think Dolls Are Cute – Many dolls are cute.  Remember the Cabbage Patch Kids?  What is considered cute to one collector may not be to another.  Sometimes miniature dolls are sweet.  Or how about the pouting face of another stye of doll?  As human beings, we are drawn to cute items and objects.  Cute dolls can fill you with joy, make you smile, and bring out your most tender and compassionate feelings.  

Celebrity Dolls Are Fun – A celebrity doll is created in the likeness of a famous person.  The concept is actually much older than most people think.  Commemorative dolls celebrating the birth of royal babies and marriages of royal couples are common.  Today, many collectible dolls in demand are celebrity dolls modeled after singers, actors, and dancers.  You will find vintage dolls that look like Shirley Temple, Cher, Dolly Parton, or Marilyn Monroe, for examples.  There are even celebrity Barbie dolls, the first one was a likeness of a supermodel, Twiggy, and produced in 1967.  

So, let me ask you….did you see yourself in any of these scenarios for being a doll collector?  I honestly found myself in several of these reasons for doll collecting, depending on the doll being collected.  For whatever the reason you collect dolls, whether your collection is large or small, dolls are something that bring joy to our hearts.  They pull us together as a “tribe” if you will.  As I stated early in this post – doll people are good people.  We all have our own personal reasons for our collecting of dolls.  To me, one of the most important reasons not mentioned is preserving that antique, vintage, or modern collectible doll….they may produce copies, but the originals are pieces of doll history and deserve being preserved.  

Well, that wraps up the BabyBoomerDolls post for June.  I hope you have enjoyed it and I hope you could find yourself in at least one of the reasons that dolls are collected.  Enjoy your dolls!  Share your passion for collecting with others!  Enjoy the hunt for that special doll!  

Until next time we are together…Be Safe.  Stay Well.  Most of all Be Kind.  Share your smile with someone today!

Big Hugs,



Penny Dolls vs Frozen Charlotte Dolls

Hello, my dear doll friends!! May has finally arrived and hopefully Mother Nature has gotten the memo that here in Southern Illinois, USA, it is time for the temperatures to begin to warm consistently.  Thus far, it is still in the mid thirties at night.  I’m over that!  I am ready to get outside and play in the dirt!  It is odd that we should be chatting about cooler temperatures, as today we will touch briefly on Frozen Charlotte dolls.   Won’t you join me for just a few minutes and put your feet up with a hot cup of tea and “Let’s Talk Dolls!”

Are you familiar with the term “Frozen Charlotte” dolls?  These beautiful and slightly creepy pieces of Victorian history came in a variety of styles and sizes, and have a notoriously dark origin history story.  The tale goes like this: a young woman Charlotte wanted to attend a New Year’s ball on a particularly cold night.  She insisted on traveling in an open sleigh so she could show off her beautiful gown, despite her mother’s many warnings and pleading advice to dress more warmly.  Foolish and vain, Charlotte disobeyed her mother and froze to death on the sleigh ride to the ball.  

The bleak story of Frozen Charlotte originated in a New York Observer article in 1840 that described the frigid death of a real-life young woman somewhere in upstate New York.  Over the next few years, there were some songs and poems that helped to further the popularity of the story, and soon it caught fire in America.  The story has a clear and easily-understood moral:  listen to your mother and don’t be vain.


By the time the small, white porcelain dolls were introduces to the United States by Germany in the mid 1800s, they were quickly and commonly dubbed “Frozen Charlottes” – except….they weren’t.  It is a complete historical inaccuracy.  There is not a single reference of these porcelain dolls being called “Frozen Charlottes” in the entire 19th and early 20th centuries.  This is remarkable, considering the near-universal belief that this time period was the origin of the dolls’ name.  

It’s commonly accepted that these dolls were instructional tools, physical representations of the consequences of parental disobedience.  It’s widely believed that Victorian children were well-aware of the origin story of these dolls and played with them nonetheless.  After all, many aspects of Victorian culture are openly macabre and death-obsessed, so this grisly historical narrative isn’t entirely outlandish.  But…it doesn’t change the fact that it is false.  All mentions of these dolls from the time period call them “penny dolls,” not “Frozen Charlottes.”  So when did the name we use today actually become connected to these  little porcelain dolls? It was likely coined by doll collectors as late as the mid-1940s. when mentions of “Frozen Charlotte dolls” in ads, newspapers, books and magazines skyrocketed, and soon became the common way to refer to these Victorian playthings.  


So, while it makes a compelling and delightfully morbid origin story, none of the children who actually played with these dolls knew of a connection between their favorite toy and a foolish young woman’s frostbitten corpse.  And even though they have lost a bit of their historical creepiness, don’t let that stop you from being excited if you find one of these small porcelain dolls.  They’re still strangely beautiful, wonderfully creepy, and rare – plus if anything, this small scandal of historical inaccuracy makes them even more interesting!

To be a Frozen Charlotte, the body of the doll must be frozen – no jointed arms!  The Frozen Charlotte doll is made in the form of a standing, naked figure molded all in one piece.  These dolls may also be described as pillar dolls, solid chinas, or bathing babies.  The dolls range in size from under an inch to 18 inches plus.  They are also made in bisque, and can come in white, pink-tinted, or, more rarely, painted black.  Male dolls (identified by their boyish hairstyles) are called Frozen Charlies.  


The dolls I have more of are actually “Penny” dolls with the easiest to find on the market are from Japan but there are wonderful versions from Germany and France as well.  These dolls are usually made in bisque and are painted in bright colors.  Since the bisque is not fired a second time after painting, the paint wears off easily.  Value is more based on details, condition of paint and arm positions, with crossed arms being the most unusual.  The dolls were often sold in sweet shops for a penny – thus the name.  The dolls were also sold in theme sets such as a wedding party complete with  a little church or a group of cowboys, cowgirls, and Indianas.  It is more difficult to find these still in sets, but they do occasionally show up.  These are fun to collect since there are so many fun varieties out there.  Mine are on  display in various ways around the doll room so that I can enjoy them.  They are small and fit in many places and make a nice addition to a little vignette.  


So, this is just a brief history lesson on Penny Dolls vs Frozen Charlottes.  I hope you have enjoyed it and that the story of “Frozen Charlotte wasn’t too creepy for you.   I will take some photos of my Penny dolls to display here in this blog.  I hope that you will enjoy them!  These dolls are something I have collected since I was a young child.  My paternal grandfather bought me my first one and I was hooked!

The next time we are together, the weather should be a little warmer (at least here).  Until that time, be happy, stay well, and most of all be kind!

Big Hugs




Uneeda Doll Company

Hello, Dolly Friends!  I hope this finds each of you and yours doing well.  Today is April 1st.  Hopefully spring and warmer weather is around the corner here in Illinois.  Has the weather been nice where you live?  Personally, I am ready to get out in the yard and play in the dirt.  

I have been doing research for this blog post for several days now.  I’ve always been fascinated by Madame Alexander and her doll company.  Out of curiosity, I thought I would do some research on another doll company.  This month we are going to talk briefly (and yes, it will be brief because there isn’t a lot of information out there) about Uneeda Doll Company.  Grab your coffee and put your feet up and join me  for just a few minutes.  “Let’s talk dolls!”

The Uneeda Doll Company has existed in one form or another for over a hundred years.  The company initially made cloth and composition dolls.  They are best known for the vinyl dolls produced in the 1950s and ’60s, including Dollikin, Wishnik trolls, Pee Wees, and Miss Suzette.  

The company was founded in New York City in 1917.  They were one of many firms that saw an opportunity during WWI to fill the void left when German dolls became unfashionable, and then unavailable.  Uneeda manufactured mama dolls with composition heads, as well as other styles of composition and cloth dolls.  Business was good, and in 1927, the company moved to larger quarters.  

Uneeda’s golden age began in the mid-1950s with an era of innovation.  They produced a line of baby dolls that could move and make sounds when squeezed.  Dollikin was a high-heeled glamour doll with multiple joints that could assume many different positions.  They also copied best-selling dolls by other manufacturers.  Tiny Teen was a knockoff of Ideal’s Little Miss Revlon, and Toddles copied Ideal’s Patti Playpal.

In the 1960s, Uneeda began outsourcing the manufacture of its dolls to Hong Kong and other countries.  The New York factory was still used for assembling and packaging some of the larger dolls.  The Company’s biggest success came with its Wishnik trolls, which debuted in 1964.  They were made in a large range of styles and sizes.  Wishnik was the company’s most recognized brand for the next three decades. Do any of you remember having these little trolls with their big noses and long, brightly colored hair?  I just remembered that I learned to braid hair by practicing on one of these.  (LOL!)  In 1996, Uneeda lost the right to make Wishniks after the copyright was restored to the heirs of the designer, Thomas Dam.  That same year, the company, which had been named  Uneeda Doll Co., Inc. was reorganized as Uneeda Doll Co. Ltd.  It changed ownership several times in the next twenty years.  

Briefly, the Uneeda Story:

For over 100 years, the Uneeda Doll Company has been putting smiles on children’s faces with its lovable dolls.  With its mission of making children happy, Uneeda Doll has been manufacturing dolls with excellence and efficiency since 1917.  Their well-made dolls include baby dolls, fashion dolls, soft infant dolls, walkers, electronically functioning dolls, accessories and outfits, gift sets, and infant learning and play toys. 

Uneeda Doll Company was founded in 1917 as stated earlier.  The company produced dolls that were “well-made and reasonably priced.”  In the 1930s, Uneeda Doll was advertising over 400 doll models from 14 to 28 inches tall.  In 1939, the company even created a Rita Hayworth doll as Carmen.  It was a 14″ doll with a fully jointed body, long lashes, smokey eye shadow and a red mohair wig.  Over the years, other types of dolls were included.  Later Uneeda was known as the Tony Toy Company of Hong Kong.  Uneeda Dolls are often unmarked or marked with Uneeda inside a diamond, U or UN or (later dolls) with Tony Toy Co Hong Kong, in the marking. In 1991, the company closed. 

The Uneeda motto was “A Uneeda Doll is a gift to be treasured.”

Now granted, I’m primarily a Madame Alexander or and Ideal doll lover, so looking through my doll collection, I could find very few Uneeda Dolls.  I have included photos of my Uneeda Dolls to share with you.  Do you have many Uneeda Dolls? If you would like, please reach out to me on my IG account and share photos of your Uneeda Dolls. 

I told you when I started writing this that it would be short and sweet.  At any rate, my Baby Dollikin Dolls are some of my favorites.  They are a nice size and have wonderful flexibility.

When we get together again, it will be warmer weather!  Flowers will be blooming and I can make doll photos outside! YAY!!!  Until then, stay safe, stay well, and above all be kind.  Thanks for being here with me!






This Vintage Doll’s Popularity Just Keeps Growing and Growing

I’m happy you’re here with me today!  Can you believe it is already March?  I’m so glad to see the bulbs begin to peek their heads above the cold ground.  It reminds me that spring is on the way and soon the yard will be scattered with spots of beautiful, bright colors from those bulbs.  Are you looking forward to spring?  Where ever it is you call home, I hope the weather is nice.  This month we are going to talk about a doll that is so very popular right now.  Can you guess?  Well, grab your coffee and put your feet up for just a few minutes and “Let’s Talk Dolls.”  Without a doubt one of my favorite subjects!

How many of you have a Thumbelina doll (or more than one)?  Do you remember Thumbelina from your childhood?  She varies in size, has rooted hair, painted eyes, and a cloth and vinyl body.  She has a round knob on her back which, if you’re lucky enough to have one that still works, will make this doll move gently.    This movement is meant to imitate a wriggling baby.   Some dolls may also walk, cry, or blow kisses.   This chubby cheeked doll was made by the Ideal Toy Company beginning back in 1961 and continuing into the 1976. 

Thumbelina’s playful face and body were a big hit in many households across America.  Thumbelina is still so popular right now that she has her own Facebook group, Ideal Thumbelina Doll Family and Friends.  The group consists mostly of women exchanging beautiful and spectacular photos of their own Thumbelina dolls in many adorable outfits. 

So, WHY is Thumbelina named Thumbelina? Think back to your fairy tales…you will remember.  Thumbelina comes from the Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a thumb-sized girl.  Ideal created different versions of this doll.  There were newborn, tiny, and toddler models with sizes ranging from 9 to 20 inches.  Most had blonde hair and blue eyes, but others had brown hair and green eyes.  Moveable, sleep, and fixed, painted eyes were common among models.  Hairstyles were either a pixie or a bowl cut.  Back in the day, (when I was a kid) you could find these dolls at most department stores, including Kresge’s (anyone remember Kresge’s aka the Dime Store??) Spiegel, and Montgomery Ward.   In addition, television commercials during children’s programming advertised Thumbelina dolls. 

Thumbelina dolls appealed to children because they are the same size a real babies and had realistic movements.  Thumbelinas are among the best-selling baby dolls in toy history and beloved among doll collectors.

As the years passed, many variations of Thumbelina were introduced with different outfits and accessories like cradles, rocking horses, and even Beetle cars.  Ideal was bought out by CBS Toys in 1982 and eventually became a subsidiary of Mattel.  Therefore, Thumbelina dolls from the 1980s onward have different composition and manufacturing.  When Thumbelina was reissued in the 1980s, the company added an African-American version of Thumbelina for the first time. The 1980s Thumbelina dolls are the only lines that include African-American models.   

  • The first Thumbelina doll was 20 inches, and a 14-inch Tiny Thumbelina came shortly after.  The Newborn Thumbelina was from 1967 and was 9 inches tall.  Other Newborn Thumbelina dolls were made until 1970.  
  • Ashton-Drake licensed a 10-inch Newborn Thumbelina under Mattel.  There is also a Newborn Thumbelina doll in a Christening Dress. 
  • The 19-inch Bouncing Baby Coos dolls are from 1962 and 1963.  Due to the short production span, original Baby Coos doll are considerably rare.  Baby Coos dolls have a yawning Thumbelina face mold and a serial number but no movement or sound mechanisms.  
  • The Thumbelina Snoozie doll had sleep eyes.
  • The Bye-bye Thumbelina came with a special VW-type car with the winding knob on the trunk.
  • The Sister Thumbelina dolls were from 1968.  They were either blonde or brunette. 
  • The Toddler Thumbelina dolls were “early walkers” that came in standard or “jingle” versions.  Accessories included a walker, a rocking horse, and Jingle versions had bells attached to their socks.  
  • Kissing Thumbelina had a spring-activated arm that mimed blowing a kiss once wound, and Tearful Thumbelina was a crying doll.  
  • The 1976 Wake Up Thumbelina was a doll that responded to a pat on the back.  The touch activated a mechanism that made the doll wiggle, turn its head upward, and roll onto its back.

The Thumbelina dolls with cry boxes had a hold in the ear.  If operable, the sound came out of the ear hole when the pull-string was activated.  The string was the movement mechanism instead of a knob on later dolls.  Therefore, the ear hole is a more reliable identifier.  Ashton-Drake and Tycho released reproductions of Thumbelina dolls. The name “Thumbelina” has since been used by different doll manufacturers.  

Ideal Thumbelina Dolls – Marks

The Ideal toy Corporation marked each Thumbelina doll with a serial number and tag.  The head mold has the serial number at the base of the neck.  The letters “OTT” are followed by a number for most dolls.  On the other hand, the Thumbelina Snoozie and Baby Coos dolls have “YTT”before the number.  The first numbers represent the doll’s height in inches.  The Thumbelina dolls’ cloth bodies often have tags.  The tag has the name of the doll.

Well, as you  can see, Thumbelina has quite a history!   Now as doll collectors many of us strive to find a Thumbelina doll that looks just right and will still wriggle.  For me, I searched for years and more years for Baby Coos.  I would still be searching if a friend hadn’t let me adopt hers.  That doll is among one of my most cherished for many reasons.  Each of our dolls had a story to tell before we adopted them, and that story will continue long after someone else adopts them.  I’ve often wondered what stories they would tell if they could talk…

So, the next time we are together, it will be April!  Until that time, please stay well, stay safe, and be kind to others.  Your smile may be the only smile someone sees today.  Make it count! 

Warm Hugs,




**All photos were taken by me and the dolls photographed belonged to me at the time photos were taken.**


Madame Alexander Has Earned Her Place in the Hearts of Children, Doll Collectors – and in History


Hello dear friends!  I’m happy you are here with me again today!  The holidays are now in the rear view mirror and we are almost through the first month of 2023.  I hope you and yours are well.  The research for this post has been lengthy and I even thought of dividing it up into two posts, but decided to make it just one.  So – grab your hot tea or coffee and “Let’s Talk Dolls!”

I have heard people ask if Madame Alexander is a real person or just the name on the end of the doll box.  Yes!  She was not only a real person, she was considered a true American original – an iconic figure in the world of toys as unique as the dolls she created.  As a pioneering businesswoman and exquisite doll designer, Madame Alexander shaped the doll industry with her revolutionary innovations and vibrant vision.  She embodied a bold spirit and a classic sense of style that she poured into each and every doll created for the Madame Alexander Doll Company.  She viewed dolls as a valuable learning tool that could teach children empathy, compassion, and responsibility.  This passion to make high-quality dolls that could be played with and loved led her to create the premier American doll brand that we still know and love today.  

The doll play we know today, we owe to Madame Alexander.  Madame’s earliest contribution was inspired by her time spent as a young girl in her stepfather’s doll hospital, where she saw many beautiful porcelain dolls in constant repair.  During a time when breakable, porcelain dolls were the standard, she fashioned a cloth doll that was meant to be both beautiful and to be played with.  But that was just the beginning…Madame brought to life literary characters and notable people in a way not previously done before.  An era of toy industry firsts cemented her legacy as the mother of all modern doll play.  

Madame Alexander Pioneered Many Industry Firsts

1895 Born

1912 married Philip Behrman

1923 Established Alexander Doll Company; Replaced typical porcelain with cloth to encourage play, then went on to innovate with materials throughout her career

1930s Created the first toys with officially licensed tie-ins to entertainment properties: Alice in Wonderland, Gone With the Wind, and Little Women among them         Popularized “sleep eyes” – the innovation that allows dolls to close their eyes

1936 Created the Scarlett O’Hara doll

1937  Created the first doll of a young Queen Elizabeth to commemorate her father’s coronation 

1942 Introduced Jeannie, one of the industry’s first walking dolls 

1947 Created the first plastic face mold, changing the doll industry forever

1951 Won the first of four consecutive Fashion Academy Gold Medals for design

1953 Developed a 36-doll series to honor the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

1955 (One of my favorites) Debuted Cissy, the first fashion doll in America

1957 Introduced Cissette, a 10-inch version of the popular Cissy doll 

1988 Officially retired and sold Alexander Doll Company

1990 Died

Madame Alexander was Creating a Better World, Not Just Better Dolls

Madame Alexander believed in furthering compassion, empathy, and meaningful relationships through doll play and creativity.  Nearly a century later, the Madame Alexander Doll Company continues to honor her originality, vision, and purpose of making the world a kinder place.  

Born more than a century ago, Madame Beatrice Alexander Behrman is still a role model for girls today.  Founding her company in 1923, Madame set out to create her own success through unmatched quality and ambition.  As the daughter of two immigrants, Madame defied expectations and stereotypes to become a successful businesswoman in a world filled with businessmen.  Her passion for literature, art, and culture combined with her love of dolls earned her numerous awards over her lifetime.  Not only was she dedicated to her craft, she was also a dedicated mother who envisioned a better future for all women.  

After 100 years in business, the Madame Alexander Doll Company is devoted to carrying on Madame’s mission of creating beautiful, quality dolls that deliver invaluable play experiences for children and inspire passion in collectors.

All of the above information will serve as an “outline” for the history of Madame Alexander Doll Company.  Now we can fill in the blank spaces with the details….

Madame Beatirce Alexander Behrman

(1895 – 1990)

Alexander Doll Company

Madame Beatrice Alexander Behrman, often referred to simply as “Madame Alexander,” became know as the First Lady of doll making of the twentieth century.  Her innovative, high quality dolls new first introduced in the 1920s, and over the next 65 years, Alexander designed a wide array of highly popular dolls that remain valuable collectors’ items.  

Beatrice Alexander Behrman was born on March 9, 1895, in Brooklyn, New York as Bertha Alexander – a name she later changed because she thought Beatrice sounded more sophisticated.  Her mother, Hannah Pepper, was born in Austria and lived in Russia for a time before immigrating to the United States as a young woman to escape Jewish persecution.  There are two stories that circulate among Alexander’s descendants regarding her mother’s early life.  Regardless, it is certain that Alexander’s mother was widowed and married again shortly after arriving in the United States.  Maurice Alexander, another young Russian immigrant, became Alexander’s much-adored step-father and the man she always considered her father.  The family, including Alexander’s three sisters, Rose, Florence, and Jean, grew up in the center of New York’s thriving immigrant community of the Lower East Side on Grand Street.

Alexander was introduced to the world of dolls in infancy.  In the same year as her birth, her stepfather opened the first doll hospital in the United States.  By the time she was eleven years old, Alexander knew she wanted to enjoy the finer things in life, often dreaming of riding in a carriage wearing a hat with ostrich feathers.  



Shortly after graduating from high school as  valedictorian on June 30, 1912, Alexander married Philip Behrman.  In 1915, the couple’s daughter, Mildred, was born.  Alexander’s life was disrupted by the onset of  U.S. involvement in WWI.  Her family remained physically safe, the economic impact was devastating.  Because most of the dolls (and doll parts) were manufactured in Europe (primarily Germany and France), the source of dolls dried up as did the market for doll repair.  With the future of the doll hospital, and her parent’s financial well-being, highly uncertain, Alexander became determined to keep the family business open.  

Soliciting the help of her three sisters, Alexander began sewing cloth dolls to sell in her father’s shop.  The dolls, made of inexpensive cloth rather than expensive and often unavailable  china, were a great success and provided enough additional income to keep the doll shop open during the war years.  The first doll designed by Alexander was based on a Red Cross nurse, thus drawing on the common national interest in the war effort, and foreshadowed Alexander’s life-long ability to select models of her dolls that appealed to the general public.  

In 1923, Alexander secured a $1,600 loan and established the Alexander Doll Company.  Thus she began her career as the world’s leading lady of dollmaking. 

Over the next 60 years, Alexander Doll Company grew from four sisters sewing around the kitchen table to a  multi-million dollar business, the largest American doll company and the largest employer on the Lower East Side.  The Madame Alexander Doll Club was formed in 1961, with membership growing to over 12,000 by the early 1990s.  At some point, probably during the 1920s, an advertising executive who thought Alexander looked French dubbed her “Madame Alexander,” a name of honor that remained throughout her lifetime. 

Alexander remained actively involved in her company into the early nineties.  However, during the 1970s, she gradually turned over daily operations to her son-in-law, Richard Birnbaum, and grandson, William Birnbaum.  She spent more and more time at her second home in Palm Beach, Florida, making rare appearances on the company’s behalf.  At the age of 93, Alexander sold her company to private investors, and she officially retired, although she did maintain a primarily honorary position as design consultant.  Two years later, on October 3, 1990, Alexander died in her sleep at her home in Palm Beach; she was 95 years old.

Alexander was attentive to the minutest details of her dolls’ features: “I didn’t want to make just ordinary dolls with unmeaning, empty smiles other painted lips and a squeaky way of saying ‘mama’ after you pinched.  I wanted dolls with souls.  You have no idea how I labored over noses and mouths so that they would look real and individual.”  Alexander also introduced the use of rooted hair, sleep eyes, and walking dolls. 

As just a little fun fact – Alexander made headlines again in 1955 when she introduced the world to the 20- inch Cissy doll, the first full-figured, high-fashion doll, complete with high heels and lacy undergarments.  Cissy, on the market four years before Barbie, caused a stir and became an overwhelming success.  Cissy was followed two years later by a 10-inch version, named Cissette.  Alexander boasted in a promotional brochure, “Cisette is jointed at the knee, hips, shoulder, and neck, and is so exquisitely modeled that she looks like a real person, tiny and perfect.”  These dolls, considered the hallmarks of the Alexander Doll Company, had their own catalog that offered innumerable accessories, including a complete wardrobe from hats and shoes to lingerie, casual wear to formal wear, and brass furnishings such as a bed, dining table and chairs, and a tea set.  

Alexander was also pleased by the collectors’ desire for her work.  “Doll collectors are highly cultured people who have the capacity to appreciate my work.”

Alexander had a complex relationship with her social and business surroundings.  On one hand, she was a great woman entrepreneur during a time when the business world was unaccustomed to female competitors.  Alexander built her doll company into a multi-million dollar business.  Until her retirement, Alexander ran her company with an unfailing sense of style, business sense, and independence.  On the other hand, even though she as a pioneer for women’s place in the industry, her products often left her at odds with the growing feminist movement, who viewed the pretty dolls as a step back for women’s rights and self-worth.  Alexander argued strongly that the dolls provided positive roll models for girls, teaching them how to love others and themselves.  Nonetheless, her love of high fashion and pretty hats with ostrich feathers did little to endear her to the feminist movement. 

At its peak, the Alexander Doll Company employed some 1,500 people at numerous factories and produced over a million dolls annually, with annual sales topping $20 million   by the mid-1980s.  The company’s most popular doll, the 8-inch Wendy doll was introduced in the 1950s.  Madame Alexander Dolls take up to three weeks to craft by hand and are the foremost collectible dolls in the world.  The company introduced more than 5,000 different dolls. 

So, this has been a brief rundown of the 100 year anniversary (1923-2023) of the Alexander Doll Company and the achievements of a talented, determined woman with a vision.  I hope you have enjoyed it!  *All photos used in this post were taken by me, and the dolls belonged to me at the time photo was taken.*

Until we get together again, stay well, stay safe, and be kind to one another!




Toodles and the American Character Doll Company

Hello  fellow doll collectors!  I’m so glad you’re here!  This will be the last post written for 2022…this year has been a difficult one here due to learning the ropes of taking care of an aging parent.  It has totally been new ground!  But I am learning.  The prospect of a New Year and the opportunities it offers is a exciting time!  There are so many new ideas percolating inside my head.  Wherever you live, and whatever your plans for the new year, I pray health and happiness over you and those you love.  May the coming year bring much joy into your life!

We still have a few fleeting hours of 2022, so “Let’s Talk Dolls” for just a bit.  Grab your coffee/tea and put your feet up for just a few minutes.   Taking down the holiday decorations and the laundry can wait for just a little while.   I want to hit the high points of one of my very favorite dolls and a little history of the company that created her.  Today we are going to talk about the American Character Doll Company

The American Character Doll  Company was and American toy company specializing in dolls.  Their most popular dolls included “Tiny Tears,” “Tressy,” “Butterball doll,” “Sweet Sue,” and “Toodles.”  Founded in 1919, the company’s fortunes peaked in the mid-20th century, as they sold literally millions of dolls exclusively to retailers and mail order houses such as Sears and Montgomery Ward.  The company was the first to produce mass-marketed rubber dolls in the United States.  American Character Dolls went bankrupt in 1968, with their assets being acquired by the Ideal Toy Company.  

The high points of the company’s history include that the company made the news in 1937 when it was ordered by the Federal Trade Commission to stop claiming that its patented “paratex” (a hard rubber made from a “secret formula”) was superior to composition dolls which were popularly made by American Character’s competitor the Ideal Toy Company.  American Character switched their formula from composition to their branded “Paratex” in the mid-1930s.  

By 1967 the company’s fortunes were in decline, with unsecured claims said to be approximately $1.4 million.  Settlements were arranged in March and June 1967, and the company continued to operate on a limited scale.  Shortly thereafter, in 1968, American Character Dolls filed for bankruptcy and went out of business.  Molds for some toys were sold to Mattel and Ideal Toy Company, which acquired the defunct company’s dyes, patents, and trademarks.  

Now that you have a brief history of the American Character Doll Company, let’s backtrack just a bit to 1955 to when the company introduced the “Toodles” multi-jointed plastic doll.   The doll was able to “kneel, sit, and play and some 1,000 different positions.”  Toodles became a big seller for American Character, including its associated products like “Toodles Toddler” (1955-1959), “Teeny Toodles” (1959-1960), and “Tommy Toodles” (1959-1960).  

Just a brief description of the Toodles dolls:  

  • Teeny Toodles (1959-1960) was 11″ vinyl five-piece jointed doll
  • Tommy Toodles (1959-1960) was 22-23″ marketed as Toodles’ Brother
  • Toodles (1955-1960s) was 19-30″ plastic multi-jointed doll
  • Toodles Toddler (1955-1959) was 19-1/2″, 21,” and 24″ vinyl multi-jointed doll also known as “Toodles the Action Doll”


1955-1960s American Character Toodles Doll was 19-30″ tall, hard plastic multi-jointed body including the elbows and knees, rooted or molded hair, flirty sleep eyes, drink wet doll, open mouth, the 1960-1961 Little Girl Toodles doll has teeth and an open mouth.  Toodles can kneel, sit, play and assume 1,000 different positions.  Some rare early dolls are marked Toodles, others were marked : AM,  Amer 9,  American Char.  or  unmarked.

1955-1959 Toodles Toddler doll, 19 1/2″,  21, and 24″ tall, vinyl head, flirty eyes, with multi-jointed body including elbows and knees; Toodles the Action Doll, Toodles with Poodle, Toodles with her three way Super Kart.  (I loved this description as it almost made her sound as a super hero action figure.)

1959-1960 Teeny Toodles doll,   11″ tall, all vinyl, molded or rooted hair, drink and wet, five piece jointed body. 

1959 American Character Toodles Toodles doll,  19,  23-24  or 26″ tall vinyl head with rooted short curly hair or braids with curly bangs hair, flirty sleep eyes, real upper curly eyelashes, drink wet doll, open mouth, five piece plastic jointed body with straight legs, walker doll, doll came dressed in several different outfits, doll marked Amer. Char. Doll Corp. circa 1960.

1959-1960 American Character Tommy Toodles doll,  22-23″ tall, Toodles brother with lightly molded and brown painted hair, jointed five piece toddler body with straight legs, flirty sleep eyes with real brush eyelashes, drink wet doll, open mouth, dressed in a blue and white striped short sleeve shirt, blue suspended shorts, white rayon socks and white shoes, doll marked Amer. Char. Doll Corp.

Just when I thought I ALMOST had all the Toodles dolls listed, there are still yet more which date back to the early 1930s!  

1931-1937 American Character Toodles doll,  18″ tall, composition head with molded painted hair, green sleep eyes with special mechanism so the eyes only sleep when doll is lying down with head turned left, flex-o-flesh body with metal steel frame support, open mouth with tongue but no teeth, rubber bent arms and rubber bent baby legs.  Doll is marked on head Petite, doll marked on body with a  horseshoe symbol Petite, Pat. Pend.

1937-1949 American Character Toodles doll,  17″ tall, made of life like rubber composition paratex head and limbs, cloth stuffed body, mama crier and a drink wet doll with a rubber tube inside the body or all paratex.  Has molded painted brown hair, sleep eyes, open mouth with no teeth showing, wore a sheer baby gown and had a glass bottle with nipple, doll is unmarked.. American Character named several dolls Toodles over the years.  Note:  If your doll is marked in script Toodles,  it is by the Atlas Doll & Toy Company.

Well!  That is the high points of the history of the American Character Doll Company as well as the “genealogy” of one of my favorite dolls – Toodles.  

This was an enjoyable blog to write even though it required lots of date checking and descriptions.  I definitely found out things that I wasn’t aware of.  I hope you, too, have enjoyed this brief condensed version of Toodles and her family tree.  

The next time new are together, it will be 2023!  I wish you all the very best in this coming new year!  Stay well, smile, and most of all be kind!   I appreciate each of you being here with me and your kind support.  

**All photos were taken by me.  At the time photos were taken, each doll belonged to me.**







Our Beloved Kewpie

Hello, dear friends and followers!  By the time you read this post, it will be November!  Seems as though this year has swooshed past and left me in a whirlwind!  I hope you are all doing well and are healthy!  This post we will briefly dig into the come-up-ins (I’m not sure that is even a word, but I’ve heard my Granny use it all my life!) of our beloved Kewpie doll.  Most of us know the background stories of Rose O’Neill, but the roots go just a little deeper.  Grab your favorite coffee/tea and put your feet up for just a few minutes and “Let’s Talk Dolls!”

Kewpie is a brand of dolls and figurines that were conceived as comic strip characters by cartoonist Rose O’Neill.  The illustrated cartoons, appearing as baby cupid characters, began to gain popularity after O’Neill’s comic strips in 1909.  O’Neill began to illustrate and sell paper doll versions of Kewpies.  The adorable characters were first produced as bisque dolls in Germany, beginning in 1912, and became extremely popular in the early 20th century.  

The Kewpie dolls were initially made from bisque exclusively, but composition versions were introduced in the 1920s and celluloid versions were manufactured in the following decades.  In 1949, Effanbee created the first versions of the dolls, and soft rubber and vinyl versions were produced by Cameo Co. and Jesco between the 1960s and the 1990s. 


As demand for the Kewpie characters increased, George Borgfeldt & Co. in New York contacted O’Neill in 1912 about developing a line of dolls and figurines.  O’Neill agreed, and J.D. Kestner, a German toy company located in Walterhausen, set forth to manufacture small bisque dolls of the Kewpies.  After manufacturing the first run of dolls, they sent samples to O’Neill, who disapproved of the design because she felt they “did not look like her characters.”  O’Neill traveled to Germany and had the company destroy the moulds of the dolls, and oversaw the final redesign of them, working with a 17-year-old art student named Joseph Kallus.  The dolls were then released in nine different sizes ranging from 1 to 12 inches in height.  These early Kewpies wore a heart- shaped decal on their chests, which read “Kewpie, Germany”, and some had jointed arms.  Many of the original German Kewpies were signed by O’Neill herself.  Some were even featured in different poses.  

The small dolls became an international hit, and by 1914, O’Neill had become the highest-paid female illustrator in the country garnering a small fortune from the wild popularity of the dolls.  The Kewpie brand soon became a household name, and was widely used in product advertising, including promotion for Jell-O, Colgate, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, and Sears.  The Kewpies also appeared as a brand on a multitude of household items and other memorabilia, such as dishwater, rattles, soap, pepper shakers, coloring books, poetry collections, and stationery.   O’Neill also used the characters to famously promote the women’s suffrage movement, using the illustrations in slogans and cartoons.  

After WWI began in Europe, production of the bisque Kewpie dolls moved from Germany to France and Belgium, due to the rising tensions.  Around this time, the dolls also began to be produced in the United States being made of composition material rather than the bisque, due to the bisque’s fragility.  The manufacturers also began o increase the size of the dolls, producing 22-inch versions in addition to the 12-inch versions.  The American composition dolls also had the distinctive heart- shaped decal on the chest.  Like the original bisque Kewpies, some of the composition Kewpies were also hand-signed by O’Neill.


In the mid-1920s, small sized celluloid  versions of Kewpies appeared, and were often given out as prizes at carnivals.  Many of the celluloid versions were mainly manufactured in Japan, unlicensed, and were of a lower quality than other Kewpies.  

As photographs became more popular in advertising, the prominence of Kewpies in the marketing circuit began to wane. O’Neill returned to Missouri where she died of complications of a series of strokes in 1944.  Despite the lessening in popularity, Kewpies continued to be manufactured for the majority of the century.  those included plastic versions, as well as all-bisque replicas of the original Kewpies produced by Jesco and Cameo Co.  in the 1960s-1990s.  These reproduction copies lack the heart-shaped decal that distinguishes the original, older versions.  

Now, you have the basic history, let us step back for just a moment….In 1911, O’Neill advertised for a sculptor who could translate her Kewpie design into a doll form.  Joseph Kallus, a 17-year-old student at Pratt Art Institute, applied for the assignment and became a life-long associate of Rose O’Neill.  He sculpted the models for the first bisque and celluloid Kewpie dolls that were made in Germany in 1913.  

In 1925, Kallus founded the Cameo Doll Company and produced many dolls from his own design.  His creations were made into dolls by other firms.  Kallus designed Scootles, Joy, Margie, Pinocchio for Ideal, Miss Peep and others.  She, Rose O’Neill died in 1944, she assigned all merchandising rights to Joseph Kallus.  In 1969 when Kallus retired from active participation in the doll industry, he licensed Strombecker and later Milton- Bradley Company to manufacture Kewpie.  The Kewpie and Cameo properties now belonged to Jesco Imports, Inc., of Los Angeles, CA.

In 1982, Nancy Villasenor, the President of Jesco, met with Joseph Kallus to discuss the Kewpie properties.  In the spring of 1982, Nancy went to New York to meet with Kallus, then age 89, to discuss licensing arrangements for making Kewpie dolls.  Kallus saw in Nancy a person who would do with Kewpie as he had done.  He said he was not interested in making money at his age as he was continuing in the traditions of excellence that had always been associated with Kewpie and the Cameo and he thought that Nancy would do this.  Kallus agreed to assign all the right to Kewpie and the rights to Cameo design to Nancy Villasenor when he realized her business goals equaled his.  She was committed to developing a business based on quality toys for the quality toy market.  

After Kallus and Villasenor had concluded the initial part of their business arrangement, Kallus was injured in a traffic accident and died suddenly.  Rita Abaraham, Kallus’ daughter, who had no interest in her father’s designs met with Villasenor when she went to New York to supervise the transportation to California of the original Kewpie and Cameo molds.  Mrs. Abraham wanted Nancy to have the 12 trunks of Cameo design dolls, clothing patterns, and Rose O’Neill art work that Mr. Kallus had sorted in his apartment, along with many boxes of files and business records.  

Villa seniors first Kewpies released in 1983, were a re-issue of the 27-inch Kewpie of 1966.   “Yesterday’s Kewpie,” a 16-inch dressed un outfits from the past, and “Kewpie Goes”… a 12-inch series in theme oriented clothing designs.  

The re-issued Kewpie from 1966 for collectors as made by Jesco is slightly smaller than the original version.  This is because the older version was made from a stock body and legs, whereas the Kewpie made by Jesco is cast from Kallus’ original molds.  Villasenor stated that, “It would have been more cost effective to make new molds, but we were committed to using the original molds as we promised Joseph Kallus.”

Villasenor has given up much of her European product import company to concentrate on developing and manufacturing Cameo designs by Joseph Kallus.  Said dolls are manufactured in California, from American components.  Jesco promised to pursue the directions relating to Cameo dolls, continuing the tradition of Joseph Kallus.  Doll design, development and manufacture will expand in both areas.  Jesco does not take any short-cuts, such as using cheaper blow-molded doll bodies.  Jesco’s attitude is that its growth pattern should be for “better dolls,” not “more dolls.”

In addition to the return of Kewpie for 1983, Jesco has also developed a series of 15 high-quality dolls in the selection called “Cameo’s Storybook.”  These are familiar characters from children’s fiction, like Goldilocks, Sleeping Beauty, and Pinocchio.  Doll collectors and children of all ages are delighted that Kewpie is back again – and back to stay at Jesco.  

Okay, friends, that is the history of Kewpie up to and through the early 1980s.  Obviously there is more to follow, but for the sake of time, we will pursue that on another post.  I hope you have enjoyed this synopsis of Kewpie History.  I must admit that I truly enjoyed researching the information to put this blog together. 

Until we are together again, stay safe, be  well, and most importantly BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER!



The Legacy of Eloise Wilkin and Baby Dear

Dear Friends and Followers,

By the time this post is published, it will officially be FALL!  For many this is a favorite time of year with all the beautiful, warm colors, the falling leaves, the cozy sweaters, and of course the Pumpkin Spice!!   Do you have a favorite characteristic of this gorgeous season we are entering?  I would love to hear about it!   In the meantime, have  a cup of coffee or hot tea and “Let’s Talk Dolls”…..


Those of you who have followed my IG account, BabyBoomerDolls, and read my blog,, know that  baby dolls from the 1950s and 60s era are among some of my very favorites.  I was redressing and repositioning some dolls in my collection this week and I noticed that there are several Eloise Wilkin dolls AND look alikes in my collection.  With that being said, I thought we would take a brief glance at the life of Eloise Wilkin.  She was a fascinating woman of many talents that have endured the test of time for many decades.  Grab your coffee/tea and put your feet up for a few minutes and enjoy the background history of one of my favorite dolls – Baby Dear.  

 Eloise Margaret Wilkin was born Eloise Margaret Burns on March 30, 1904.  She was an American illustrator best known as an illustrator of Little Golden Books.  Many of the picture books she illustrated have become classics of American children’s literature.  Jane Werner Watson,  who wrote and edited hundreds of Golden Books called Eloise Wilkin “the soul of Little Golden Books”, and even today Wilkin’s books remain highly collectible.  Her watercolor and colored pencil illustrations are known for their glowing depiction of babies, toddlers, and their parents in idyllic rural and domestic settings.  

She was born in Rochester, New York, the third of four children.  At age 2, she moved with her family to New York City, but she and her siblings spent every summer at a relative’s home in western New York State.  Memories forged there of family togetherness and the outdoors would influence her famous illustrations of family life, nature, and children.  Wilkin won a drawing contest at age 11,  and when she was older she graduated from the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (now the Rochester Institute of Technology) in 1923.  

Soon after graduating college, Eloise and friend Joan Esley opened an art studio in Rochester, NY.  They were struggling to find work, so the pair moved to New York City where Century Company gave Eloise her first book to illustrate, The Shining Hours.  Many of her early illustrations were for school books.  Early in her career, she illustrated paper dolls for Samuel Gabriel & Sons, Playtime House, and Jaymar.  Her sister Esther Burns Wilkin married Eloise’s brother-in-law.  She often illustrated the titles of her sister’s children’s books.  The first of the Wilkin’s collaborations was Mrs. Peregrine and the Yak which was published by the Henry Holt Company.  


In 1944, Wilkin signed an exclusive contract with original Little Golden Books publisher Simon & Schuster requiring her to illustrate three books each year.  She frequently used her children and grandchildren and their friends as models for her illustrations.  Wilkin, a devout Christian, frequently illustrated religious picture books including several compilations of prayers for children.  


Occasionally, Wilkin revised her illustrated works to reflect the changing cultural norms.  The New Baby, first published in 1948, depicted an expectant mother just days away from birth with no visible signs of pregnancy.  For the 1975 reprinting, Wilkin more realistically portrayed the mother and her pregnant form.  The 1954 cover of “The New Baby” shows and infant sleeping on her tummy, which Wilkin changed for the edition in 1975 after increasing societal awareness of sudden infant death syndrome.  The original 1956 edition of My Little Golden Book about God featured caucasian children only.  Wilkin re-illustrated several pages to include children of several races in 1974.


Many of Wilkin’s illustrations for golden Books appeared on calendars, puzzles, and record sleeves of Little Golden Records, and were also found on china plates, Hallmark Cards, and in Child’s Life, Story Parade, and Golden magazines.  Wilkin’s Golden Books have been published in French, Hebrew, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.  


Now that you have the background story… 1960 Vogue Dolls, Inc. launched the first doll designed by Eloise Wilkin.  “Baby Dear” came in 12 and 18 inch-sizes and sold for $6 and $12 respectively.  (I’m pretty sure I paid more than that for mine!) In all, Eloise designed eight dolls for Vogue and Madame Alexander.   The  Baby Dear and So Big books were  both written by Esther Wilkin and illustrated by Eloise Wilkin and featured the Eloise Wilkin dolls. 


 A few other facts about Eloise Wilkin… Wilkin married Sidney Wilkin on August 18, 1930.  She took a decade off from illustrating in order to raise her four children: Ann Wilkin Murphy, Sidney, editor Deborah Wilkin Springett, and Jeremy.   Eloise Wilkin died of cancer in Brighton, New York, on October 4, 1987 at the age of 83.  She is buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, New York.   There are 47 Golden Book titles illustrated by Wilkin.  


The original E. Wilkin Vogue Baby Dear doll issues in 1960 was the first year with the top knot.  Baby Dear was designed and signed on her left leg by the famed children’s illustrator, Eloise Wilkin.  The first Baby Dear was 18 inches tall and had a top knot of hair on her head. The dolls were designed to resemble a one month old baby.  Her vinyl face, hands and feet were amazingly realistic and her very soft, floppy body was cloth.  One of her outfits was actually manufactured by Carter’s who is a well known quality producer of baby’s clothing.  In 1961, Vogue changed the doll to have a full head of rooted hair.  This version of Baby Dear was produced until 1964.  In each of the early years, Vogue added a few extra outfits for the doll.  Each of the outfits fastened with the Vogue “star” snap.  Not all of the outfits were tagged.  The dolls themselves were tagged on the back of the neck with a blue lettered “Vogue Dolls, Inc.” cloth tag.  The dolls came in 12 and 18 inch sizes.  In 1962, Vogue added a moving musical version of the doll.  The Baby Dear Dolls were so popular that many companies manufactured very similar versions.  The realistic style of the Baby Dear doll revolutionized the doll industry at the time, encouraging more realistic baby dolls. 


I hope you have enjoyed this brief history of the life and accomplishments of Eloise Wilkin.  It was a pleasure for me to do the research on a doll that I personally hold so dear.  


As we approach the coming months and for many of us the holidays, I wish you good health, stay safe, and above all be kind to one another.  See you soon!





**All photos and dolls used in this post were taken by me and at the time taken, the doll belonged to me.**




How Will I Ever Decide?

Happy September!!  I am hoping for the heat wave we have been having to pass and the weather begin to cool down some.  Has it been hot where you live?  I hope you have had a good summer and enjoyed the kids being out of school, possibly some travel, or whatever brings you happiness.   In the meantime, pull up a chair and a cool glass of lemonade and “Let’s Talk Dolls” for just a bit!


 Has anyone gotten any new dolls lately?  If so, were they large, medium, or small dolls?  I must admit, I have added to my collection considerably this summer.  So much so that I am now to a point where I need to thin down my collection…..that seems like such a daunting task to me.



In short – my doll room just needs more real estate.  I’ve suggested to Mr. BabyBoomerDolls that we add on to the house….it certainly didn’t take long for that idea to be rejected!  He countered with maybe thinning out some of my dolls would be a viable option.  Well, to me that was like saying get rid of one of your children!! WHAT could he have been thinking? I am very efficient at getting the most out of my space, but even I know that I am to the point where some drastic decisions have to be made in regards to my beloved doll collection.  It just isn’t physically possible to squeeze any more dolls into that room.  I am not a person who wants to put my dolls in a box in the top of the closet and look at them occasionally either.  I want them to be seen and appreciated for the treasures they are.  (I should keep this thought in mind – that they will be going to places where they will be appreciated for the treasures they are.).  So…….I guess I know where that leaves me…..



Next issue – HOW to decide which ones should be rehomed?  Which ones can I live without?  I have personally restored most of my dolls, so I have an emotional investment in them also.  There are dolls that are restored and I know that their stay here will be shorter because I always knew that they hadn’t found their forever home here.  I knew that they would move on and be enjoyed by someone else.  But, my Toodles dolls, on the other hand, I’ve known they would stay here with me and the same for my Gerber babies.  My PlayPal dolls!  They can take up some huge chunks of space in a hurry!  Again, I really have no desire to part with any of them.  I searched for some of them for years to find one that I could afford to purchase.  I dreamed of having those dolls in my collection!  I enjoyed the challenges that seeking each one out presented, the satisfaction of restoring them brought and the new skills each of them taught me.  In spending that much time with a doll, a bond develops.  Now to someone who doesn’t collect dolls, that statement sounded like I’m a crazy woman.  I’m really not – but I know I am going to have to make some difficult decisions in deciding which dolls I am comfortable with finding new homes for.  



I have started parting with some of my smaller dolls and even graduated to some of the medium size ones.  I think they have gone to good homes.  Just this week I listed my Debbie Ann doll in my Etsy shop.  I searched for what seemed like forever for that doll and she is in such wonderful condition.  I know that to find another like her would be a daunting task.  You’re probably asking yourself how did I come to the decision to start with those few?  Well, here is what I did…I took the dolls that I thought I would part with and put them “out of sight and out of mind” so to speak.  I literally put them where I couldn’t see them for a couple of weeks.  During that time period, if I didn’t miss them terribly, I knew it would be okay to part with them.  I didn’t like the idea, but I knew I could do it.   I thought this was a better solution that putting their names in a hat and drawing one out!  


When you are faced with the decision to part with some of your dolls, do you have a method for doing so?  Is it that your space limitations have filled to capacity or that your tastes have changed and your collecting has gone in a different direction?  How do you decide? 

I am still struggling with the decision of which dolls I will part with, but I know that there are other collectors out there that have been looking for just that doll and they would enjoy giving one of my dolls a good home.  For now, Debbie Ann and some of my large companion dolls, along with some of the smaller dolls will be in need of good homes.  You will probably see them listed in my Etsy shop.  I also sell some of them via private sale.  If you should see one of them, please know that it was with great difficulty that the decision was made to find them new homes.  It was a process and was not taken lightly.  


In the long run, it will be the best thing to do.  Still, it makes a part of me sad.  It feels like parting with an old friend. It leaves my eyes teeming with tears…

Anyway, this is the dilemma that I am currently faced with.  I appreciate your taking the time to read this and letting me vent my grievances for the lack of proper doll real estate at this time.   Until we can get together again, please be safe, stay healthy, and above all be kind to one another! 









The Life and Times of Mrs. Beasley

Hello, Friends!  I’m so happy to be here with you today!  I have been working on some research that I hope you will enjoy.  Today we are going to briefly go over the life and times of Mrs. Beasley.  Grab a cup of coffee/tea and “Let’s Talk Dolls…”

Mrs. Beasley has had a very long and eventful life, especially considering that she was only a toy on a TV show that only aired for 5 years, the last of which was 42 years ago!  The TV show was “Family Affair”.  It began in 1966 when I was 8 years old.  I loved this show and was very faithful to tune in weekly to see the latest adventures of Buffy, Jody, and Mrs. Beasley.   Family Affair was an American comedy series that aired on CBS from 1966 to 1971 and Mrs. Beasley doll was the favorite doll of Buffy (played by Anissa Jones).  The sitcom explored the trials of the well-to-do engineer and bachelor Bill Davis as he attempted to raise his brother’s orphaned children in his luxury NYC apartment.  Davis’ traditional English gentleman’s valet, Mr. Giles French, also had adjustments to make as he became saddled with the responsibility of caring for 15-year-old Cissy and the six-year-old twins, Jody and Buffy.

The Mrs. Beasley doll was Buffy’s security blanket and confidant who listened to all her problems. 

A little history on Mrs. Beasley…she began life as a Rushton “Jill” doll (yes as in Jack and Jill).  somewhere along the way, the doll changed to the Mrs. Beasley we know and love made by Mattel.  In today’s world, Mattel would have to license the look of Rushton’s Jill or find themselves in a law suit.  I guess things just weren’t as complicated then.

The full size Mrs. Beasley is 21″ and is a pull string talker.   Mrs. Beasley wore a blue dress/pants with white polka-dots, yellow shoes, and a pair of black square-rimmed glasses.   She says 11 different phrases, like “Do you want to try on my glasses?”  Her voice was by an actress named Georgia Schmidt, who people remember mostly as the first Talosian on Star Trek.  The pull string talking doll was produced for several years, beginning in 1967.  She actually outlived the show she was from!  Mrs. Beasley was so popular that she was sold in several other forms, including paper dolls, a non-talking rag doll version with yarn hair, complete with removable clothing that was fully washable, and finally a smaller Beasley that came with a 10″ talking Buffy doll and a 4″ Mrs. Beasley.  (Maureen McCormick of THE BRADY BUNCH fame loaned her voice to the doll’s voice box).  There was also a 6″ non-talking , bendable Buffy with a 3″ Mrs. Beasley.   By the way, Buffy had the same head as the Mattel Small Talk dolls.  [source: Wikipedia]

The phrases of Mrs. Beasley were recorded onto small records and included the following:

  • It would be such fun to play jump rope, don’t you think?
  • Do you want to hear a secret? I know one.
  • Gracious me, you’re getting to be such a big girl.
  • Speak a little louder dear, so Mrs. Beasley can hear you.
  • I do think you’re the nicest little friend I ever had.
  • If you could have three wishes, what would you wish for?
  • If you were a little smaller, I could rock you to sleep.
  • You may call me Mrs. Beasley.  Would you like to play?
  • Long ago I was a little girl just like you!
  • Would you like to try on  my glasses? You may if you wish. 

The smaller Mrs. Beasley dolls that were produced at the time came with removable glasses.  That removable factor is why you almost never see one of the small Mrs. Beasley dolls with glasses.  The larger ones were hard enough to keep track of, as evidence that they are few and far between too.  When I was searching to find my Mrs. Beasley doll to go with my Talking Tandy doll (which resembles Buffy so much that she is also called Buffy), I almost never found a Mrs. Beasley  doll with her glasses! 

Unfortunately, Mattel never made a doll of Buffy’s twin brother, Jody.  I especially liked him because he had RED curly hair.  Maybe Mattel just wasn’t up to that yet….?

Even though Family Affair ended in 1971, Mrs. Beasley continued to be produced until 1972.  And apparently even longer…..In 2000 Ashton Drake manufactured a new Mrs. Beasley doll based on the original Mattel version.  She didn’t have quite the appeal that the Mattel version had. Her voice had even been rerecorded by Cheryl Ladd.  She’s a Charlie’s Angel, not an old lady…many a Mrs. Beasley fan from the original show didn’t find quite the warmth and comfort that the original doll had. 

After the “success” of the new Beasley, Ashton Drake produced a porcelain and the “Me and Mrs. Beasley” doll set.  (I have mine pictured here in this post.). The set contained a cute Buffy doll with a mini Beasley and a tiny reproduction of the Family Affair lunch box!  They also made  a blown glass character ornament. 

A Mrs. Beasley doll value and Price Guide for 2022 just in case you’re interested….

  • Original Canadian Mrs. Beasley $349.00
  • Barbie Buffy (NRFB) $359.99
  • Original Mrs. Beasley 1967 $311.00

So, that’s the story of Mrs. Beasley and her claim to fame.  I hope you enjoyed this post.   The photos used in this post were taken by me and the dolls belong to me.  

Until the next post, stay safe, stay well, and be kind to one another!

Hugs to you all,