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”)

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    

Vintage 1950s Shirley Temple Doll Ideal Twinkle Eyes W Box Tags 19" Purse BlueLtd Toy Stamp & 1930's Ideal Doll Co. 27" Composition Shirley Temple Doll TlcRare Vintage Ideal Dark Brunette Tammy Doll With Original Playsuit Patty Playpal Doll Vintage Excellent Near Mint ConditionVintage 1950s Shirley Temple Heidi Dress Doll Ideal Toy #9500 W Box 12" Vinyl1950s Vintage Shirley Temple Doll Outfit Ideal In Box 9717 12" Toy Clothes PinkVintage Shirley Temple Composition Doll 16"Vintage Ideal 18" #g18~patti Playpal Doll~1960s Red Hair~blue/gray Eyes1950s Vintage Shirley Temple Doll Clothes Ideal In Box 9512 12" Original NibPretty Shirley Temple12" Case And Clothes16" Composition "ideal Cop N.&" Shirley Temple Doll Signed Tlc Antique VtgVintage 35" Shirley Temple Playpal Doll W 2 Dresses, Netted Hair, Needs HelpRare 20" Ideal Miss Revlon Bent Knee 1958 Rufffled Net Gown Great Condition!Vtg Mint In Original Box 1963 Ideal Tammy Doll With Stand Blonde HairVtg Mint In Original Box 1963 Ideal Tammy Doll With Stand Reddish Brown HairVintage 1950s Saucy Walker Doll Ideal In Box Tags 22" #2007 Flirt Eyes OriginalIdeal Tiny Thumbelina, Ott-14--working,org.knob,bright Face,vintage Era Rare SizVintage 1950s Shirley Temple Doll Ideal Toy #9500 W Box Mib 12" Vinyl Original1950s Vintage Shirley Temple Doll Outfit Wee Willie Winkie Ideal Box 9560 12" 1950's Hard Plastic Ideal Toni Doll 19" Se Black Washable Hair P92 Orig Dress?Vintage Patti Playpal By Ideal - 36" Tall - 1950's- Baby Boomer Doll1950s Vintage Shirley Temple Doll Outfit Ideal Box 9722 Heidi Movie 12" Clothes Vintage 1936 Ideal Shirley Temple Dress Poor Little Rich Girl1950s Vintage Shirley Temple Doll Clothes Ideal Box 9560 Wee Willie Winkie 12"Vintage 1960 Big 32" Ideal Saucy Walker Playpal Doll, Darling Toddler GirlVintage Ideal Vt-18 Miss Revlon 18" Doll Nude Red Lip Nails Brown Hair Blue EyesVintage 1950’s Ideal Shirley Temple Doll St-i7-1 Flirty Eyes 17”, Vgc Shirley Temple 18" IdealVintage 36 Inch Fully Jointed Playpal Companion Doll-marked UnderarmIdeal Patti Playpal DollVintage 1962 Light Blond Tammy Doll 90001-very Near ExcellentRare Super Queen Wonder Woman Doll Comic Figure By Ideal 1967 With Box NrHandsome! Ideal 1960 Peter Play Pal...Vintage 28" Miss Ideal , Terry Twist Doll/ideal Toy Corp/ G-30-sTammy Doll Sheath Dress With Black Belt, Black Shoes, Pink Hanger & Booklet NrfpVintage 8" Shirley Temple Doll In Original Box W Outfits, Very Good ConditionVintage Ideal Miss Revlon Doll Vt 22 10 1/2 Little Miss Revlon And Clothes2 Vintage 1962 Ideal Tammy Dolls Bs-12-3 And Bs-12-5Vintage Sayco "d" Patty Play Pal Doll 35" Tall With Clothes No Reserve!!!Patti Playpal Brunette Middle-part 35"Large Ideal Baby Doll - Bonnie Playpal Vintage 1950s-60s.Vintage Saucy Walker Ideal Doll Flirty Eyes Original Clothes1950s Vintage Shirley Temple Doll Clothes Ideal Box 9527 12" Toy Outfit Vintage Shirley Temple Ideal Doll World's Darling Pin Button Portrait OriginalOld Vintage 1930s Shirley Temple Raincoat Set Box Ltd Toy Stamp & 1935 Ideal 18" Shirley Temple Baby Doll Composition & Cloth BodyVintage 1958-60 Ideal Little Miss Revlon Doll 10 1/2 Vt Tagged Dress Dk BrunetteVintage Patti Playpal Ideal Dolls G-35 Markings *body May Not Be Original* 36"1950s Vintage Shirley Temple Rebecca Sunnybrook Outfit Doll Clothes Ideal Box 1218" Miss Revlon Doll - Very Good ConditionReproduction Red Velvet Jumper Dress For 36 " Ideal Patti Playpal - No Doll Antique Vtg Flexy Ideal Fanny Brice Baby Snooks Character Composition Doll 12" Vintage Tiny Thumbelina Baby Doll Dressed 14", Ideal 077-14Vintage 1962 Tammy 12" Barbie Type Doll With Blue JumpsuitSweet Pretty P-90 14" Blonde Toni Doll Toni Wig And Makeup Are Nice Dress TornVtg Patti Playpal 1959 Ideal Toy Corp.**not Perfect But A Second Chance Beauty**Daisy Kingdom Violets Dress Slip + Easter Hat & Purse + For Ideal Patti PlaypalBeautiful Vintage 10.50’’ Little Miss Revlon Fashion Doll 2pc CoatIdeal Vintage 1970s Grow Hair Kerry & 3 Crissy Doll Lot!