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    

Ideal Shirley Temple Composition Doll 17 Inch Rare All OriginalBeautiful Vintage Ideal 18" Revlon Doll In Htf Original Tagged Gown Formal 50's20" C1950 Ideal Revlon Nmib Blonde Bride Doll W/tagged Outfit, Hair In Orig Set1930's Antique 22" Shirley Temple Composition Doll As Is Shirley Temple Doll Rare Ideal Co.nra 20" Ceramic Vintage Red,white,blue OutfitAntique Vintage 1930's Shirley Temple Composition 18" Doll, Clothes All Original18' 1930's Shirley Temple Composition DollVintage Barbie Clone Mitzi Doll Ideal Toy Corp Mcmlx 2 Blonde Hair In DressPatti Playpal Cinnamin Hair Spitcurl And Rare Gray EyesShirley Temple 1930's Dress Yellow Coin Dot Organdy Ideal Compo Stand Up And CheVintage Miniature Doll House Furniture 1950s Lrg Lot Ideal & Misc.Vintage 1950's Little Miss Revlon Doll With Black Net Formal Gown 9362Vintage Ideal Toni P-93 With Strawberry Blonde Hair, Great Bright Face Paint!Vintage Ideal 10 1/2" Little Miss Revlon In Orig. Tagged 5-piece Suit #9254 Vintage Ideal Tammy Pepper Doll Shoes Lot Sandals Red Black White Accessories Ideal Little Colonel Shirley Temple Composition 11 Inch DollVintage Ideal 18" Revlon Doll In Original Floral Cherries A La Mode Outfit 50's Vintage Ideal Composition Shirley Temple Doll With Clothes-and Coat W/hat1930's 13" Shirley Temple Composition Doll - Wonderful, Must See!! No Reserve! 1950s Ideal Little Miss Revlon Doll 10 1/2 Inches Tall Lot 510" Mary Engelbreit Tonner Ann Estelle Gracie Doll In Lavender Flower Outfit10" Little Miss Revlon Doll By Ideal W/ Box * No Reserve*Vintage Tammy Bs-12 Teenage Auburn Red Doll Model Miss Case + Clothes Lot1959 Bonnie Playpal Doll18" Ideal Revlon Doll W/ Kissing Pink Outfit *no Reserve*Nice Vintage Tammy Doll Lot Assorted Clothes & Case & 3 DollsIdeal Tammy Vintage Japanese Exclusive18" Vintage Shirley Temple Doll... Composition. Vintage Ideal Vt 10 1/2 Little Miss Revlon DollLot Of 13 Vintage/antique Dolls, Ideal, Imco, Am Doll Co. And MoreVintage Revlon Doll With Clothes 1950'sTagged Dress For 12" Vinyl Shirley Fabric Velvet TealMib Ideal Tammy Doll W/stand Beautiful Platinum -high Color1950's Ideal 18" Hard Plastic Blonde Toni Doll In Tagged Dress P-92 Mr27Vintage Patty Playpal Doll Vintage Ideal Tammy Doll Posing Pepper Doll Lot Clothes Tagged Japan 60's Vintage Ideal Tammy Doll Pink Shift Dress Shorty Shifts Pak Clothes Japan TaggedAntique Tagged Ideal Composition Doll Dress, Bonnet, And Slip Darling1930 Original Ideal Curler Tag & Pin/button For Shirley Temple Dolls Ideal Doll - Tammy,s And PepperIdeal Shirley Temple Doll Dress - Pink Velveteen Party Dress - 1950's TaggedVintage Lot Of Doll Clothes ~all Sizes Mattel Ideal Tiny Tears + Baby Small TalkPatty Play PalVintage Ideal Doll With Cabinet ,clothes 1950's18" Deanna Durbin ...rare Twist Waist...org DressVintage 1950's High Heel Fashion Doll Clothes Lot Little Miss Revlon Toni JillVintage Ideal High Color Tammy BlondeShirley Temple Doll 13" 1930s With Original Dress And Slip Tlc Composition DollCollectible 1960 ~rare Red Head~vintage Ideal Patti Playpal G35 DollVintage Ideal Tammy Doll Orange Pak Dress Tagged Clothes Japan Clothing Effanbee Patsyette & Baby Tinyette Composition Dolls~original Dress Slip PantieVintage Ideal Platinum Toni 19" Doll P-92 Original Dress And ShoesTagged Ideal "sailor Dress" Clothes For Little Miss Revlon & 10.5" DollsIdeal Brunette Tammy Doll Marked Ideal Toy Corp Excellent ConditionVintage Captain Action Doll Figure Sgt. Fury - Ideal1966 Ideal Captain Action Doll Action Figure Brown Vinyl Hair & Outfit14” Vintage Ideal Toni Doll Bride P 90 Gown Bouquet Underwear Stockings BlondeCute!!!!!!!!shirley Temple Gold Charm BraceletVintage 1963 Ideal Toy Tammy Doll In Box Original Blue Jumper Outfit & 2 BooksVintage 17 Inch Miss Revlon Like Fashion Doll