Before the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co. was founded in 1907, and way before the company became famous for its Shirley Temple, Betsy Wetsy, and Patti Playpal dolls, Morris and Rose Michtom invented the Teddy Bear in 1903.

The bear may have given the company its start but dolls quickly became the focus of Ideal’s business. At the time, many dolls were made out of unglazed bisque, which was prone to chipping, cracking, and even shattering. Ideal claimed its composition dolls were unbreakable.

From the beginning, Ideal created dolls based on characters and people who were already in the public eye—the company understood the importance of branding. For example, a boy doll called the Uneeda Kid, named after a biscuit company, was introduced in 1914.

The most successful Ideal doll was the Shirley Temple doll, which debuted in 1934 and was produced in numerous sizes. Unlike other Ideal dolls from that time, whose hair was molded and painted, Shirley had a mohair wig that imitated the child star’s curly locks. Outfits included dresses worn in films such as “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.”

Another collectible set of Ideals dolls from late 1930s featured Disney characters such as Snow White and Cinderella. At the end of that decade, Ideal also offered a doll modeled on a young Hollywood starlet named Judy Garland, who had just appeared in “The Wizard of Oz.”

After World War II, Ideal launched two doll series based on cosmetics. The Toni series appeared at the end of the 1940s while the Miss Revlon series dominated the 1950s. But 1960s was a decade of stiff competition for Ideal, mostly from the 1959 introduction of Barbie by Mattel. In 1961, Ideal came out with a Barbie lookalike called Mitzi, but these clones were discontinued in 1962 when the more Ideal-like Tammy line was started.

Also in the 1960s, Ideal continued its practice of creating characters based on cartoons, comics, and TV shows. Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm from the “Flintstones” appeared in the mid-1960s, as did Samantha and Tabitha dolls from the TV show “Bewitched.”


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Dollreference.com

Dollreference.com

This densely packed index of antique and vintage dolls claims to offer over 10,000 images of dolls from the 1800s … [read review or visit site]

Vintage Dolls of the 50s

Vintage Dolls of the 50s

Rhonda Wilson's collection of 1950s dolls, organized by name (Ginny and friends, Littlest Angel and friends, etc.) … [read review or visit site]

Kaylees Korner of Collectible Dolls

Kaylees Korner of Collectible Dolls

Kaylee's extensive collection of vintage dolls from the 1930s to 90s. Click the balloons to browse. Though Kaylee s… [read review or visit site]

Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood

Embrace your inner child on this website from the Victoria and Albert Museum, filled with high-quality images and i… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1930's Beautiful Antique Shirley Temple Composition Doll Plus Original ClothingVintage 13" 1937 Marama Shirley Temple Doll Must See~ Excellent! 1930's Shirley Temple " Captain January" 13" Doll .... Tagged ~Vtg Ideal Crissy Family - Rare 1970 Cricket Doll Original Outfit Shoes Vntage 1930's Tagged Shirley Temple Dress Checkered For An 18" Composition DollMisty Tammy Carrying Case 4 Dolls Clothes Shoes Accessories Lots Of Stuff Ideal3 Vintage Tammy Dolls! Great Condition! Original Clothes!Vintage 12" Ideal Shirley Temple Vinyl Doll 1950's Original BoxWow! Huge Lot 28 Vintage Dolls Ideal Tammy Miss Clairol Deluxe Reading Mattel1930's Old Ideal Composition Shirley Temple Original Doll Wig Dress Shoes SocksVintage Ideal Patti Playpal Blonde DollSupergirl Doll Super Queens, Comic Heroines, Misty, Tammy Doll By Ideal Non MegoRare! Large 32" 1959 Penny & Suzy Playpal Ideal Vintage Doll Set Lot Original ElBeautiful Composition Baby Shirley Temple Doll,curly Molded Hair Under Orig Wig!Vintage 1938 Ideal Deanna Durbin Doll In Original Formal Blue Velvet Bow DressPretty 16" Composition Ideal Shirley Temple DollVintage Ideal 19" Shirley Temple Flirty Eyes St-19 DollVintage Ideal Penny Playpal Ideal Toy Corp Pattis Little Sister 32"Chatty Cathy Soft Face Brown Hair Blue Eyes Canadian???Vintage 1950s Flirty Eyes All Original Shirley Temple DollVintage 1951 Ideal Toy Co. 15" Toni Doll Brunette In Original Box Excellent!1970s Lot Ideal Crissy & Velvet Includes Original Doll Clothing Case Dress ShoesVtg Ideal 1965 Bewitched Samantha Doll From Tv Show Black Dress Hat Broom Shoes13" Ideal Composition Shirley Temple Doll - 1930s - Very Cute!Original 1930s 24" Composition Shirley Temple Doll1930's Ideal Composition Shirley Temple Make Up Doll N Ruffled Organdy AdorableVintage Ideal Crissy Black African American DollVintage Ideal Pepper And Patti Dolls From Tammy's Family 1964Vintage Authentic Shirley Temple 22" Composition Doll W/ Pin & Dress Vtg 1970 Black Tressy Or Crissy Doll Original Mod White Retro Outfit & BootsShirley Temple 1934 Bright Eyes Plaid Dress Ideal Compo 22"Vintage 1950's Ideal Ms Revlon Vt-18 Formal Wear 18" Plastic & Vinyl Doll22" Composition Shirley TempleIdeal 1951 Toni Doll~org Box~all Orig Wave Kit Blonde Hair Unplayed With ~nice!Vintage Ideal Patti Playpal G-35 Measures 35'' Blonde Hair1959 Bonnie PlaypalVtg 1971 Ideal Crissy Family - Rare Black Cinnamon Doll Vintage 1966 Captain Action 11 1/2" Doll Clothes & Accessories Lot IdealVintage 1972 Ideal 16 Inch Jointed Shirley Temple Vinyl Doll Excellent ConditionVintage 1959 12" Vinyl Shirley Temple Tagged Yellow Nylon Visiting Dress Nice Nr21 Inch *tlc Deanna Durbin* By IdealLtd Toy Stmp & Vintage Ideal Little Miss Revlon Brunette Doll W Box 10.5" At1Vintage Ideal *gold Doll Shoes* For Deanna Durbin / Judy Garland DollVintage Ideal Crissy Black African American 18" DollVintage Ideal Shirley Temple Composition Doll 27 Inches Nrfb - Ideal Brand - Tammy - #9212 - Figure Eight 1930's Ideal Composite Shirley Temple 20" DollVintage Ideal Giggles Doll Original Clothes Shoes Creepy Chucky Fun Baby UsedIdeal 1950's St 15-n Shirley Temple Doll Vtg Ideal Crissy Family - 1971 Posin Tressy Doll Original Outfit Shoes Vintage Ideal Little Miss Revlon, Nancy Ann, Coty Girl Lot Of Miscellanous ItemsVintage Ideal Tammy Doll Dolls Lot + Clothes & Friends Barbie Friend Lqqk!!!Shirley Temple Doll Near Mint In Box - 1950sMoc - Ideal Brand - Tammy - #9052 - Racket Club - Make-up Bar IncludedGorgeous Ideal 1962 High Color Platinum Blonde Tammy Doll NrIdeal 16" Composition Shirley Temple - 1930s - Adorable!13" Ideal Composition Shirley Temple Doll - 1930s - Needs TlcFab Vtg 1969 Diana Ross Doll Gold Evening Dress & Shoes Black Crissy Ideal MoldIdeal Crissy Family Shoes.. Velvet Mia Dina Cricket Ideal Crissy Family Shoes.. Velvet Mia Dina Cricket Longer Shoes.