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 Tammy & Career Girl Outfit Dressed Blonde Doll Mib Ideal Toy CorpVintage Suzy Hard Plastic Black Baby Doll Ideal? C1950sVintage Ideal Toys 1959 Original Patti Playpal Doll In Original ClothingRare Japanese Tammy Silver Coat Set #7316 Doll Outfit Ideal Toy Corp Vintage1930s Ideal Shirley Temple 18" Composition Doll All Original W Nra Tag And PinHuge Vintage Ideal Tammy Doll Dolls Pepper Clothing Purses Shoes Radio Lot1930s Ideal Magic Eyes Cinderella Doll 13" Composition Shirley Temple Flirty EyeVintage Shirley Temple Ideal 18" Composition All Original With Box1960 S Vintage Ideal Patty / Patti Playpal Doll G35 Large Companion DollPatty Play Pal DollIdeal Tammy Doll Pepper Tressy Tagged Clothing Lot Accessories Case - Big Lot!Rare Japanese Tammy Houndstooth Set #7102 Doll Outfit Ideal Toy Corp VintageVintage Ideal Bye Bye Baby Project DollIdeal Doll Lot. Misty, Tammy Phonebooth Outfits. Possible Super QueensRare Japanese Tammy Houndstooth Set #7102 Doll Outfit Ideal Toy Corp VintageBeautiful 1950s Vintage 16" Ideal Saucy Walker Hp Doll Roving Eyes Vgc Nw Crier Vintage 1950's Era Patti Playpal Doll Model G-35 & Original Navy Dress ClothesLittle Miss Revlon In Dress Pictured In The Ideal Doll Book!!!! 1958Vintage Authentic Shirley Temple 22" Composition Doll W/pin& Dress - For Parts18" Vintage Ideal Miss Revlon Vt-18Vintage 12 In. Shirley Temple Doll With Clothes And Trunk Composition Shirley Temple Doll Dress Molly'es *tag* For Large Doll13" Mayfair Or Mary Hoyer Twist Waist Composition Doll By Ideal Orig Knit SkiVintage Ideal Patti Playpal Yellow & White Dress 1950's Era Fits G-35 Size Fine1960's Ideal Tiny Thumbelina Doll Original Clothes And Box Ott14Noreserve! Fabulous 1950's Miss Revlon Doll All Original Head To Toe! Beautiful!Vtg 1960's Ideal Tammy Tressy Pepper Doll Tagged Clothing Accessory Lot ~ JapanIdeal Little Miss Revlon Brunette Doll Sweep Up Bob In Box BeautifulVintage 1962 Tammy Light Blond Doll In Original Outfit & Shoes-near Excellent5 Original Crissy Velvet "shortcuts" & Outfit Package Ideal 1972 Mint 1972Vintage! All Original 18" Composition Shirley Temple Doll Sleepy Eyes & Teeth1972 Ideal Look Around Crissy Doll With Clothes & Original Box – Works Patty Play Pal DollRed Head Ideal Tammy Doll W/original Outfit Htf ~ Vintage 1960's%toy Stamp & 1961 Ideal Kissy The New Talking Doll Mint In Box 25" TallVintage Shirley Temple 19" Cop Composition Doll W/pin&labeled Dress-no ReserveVintage Ideal Little Miss Revlon Wearing Wedding Gown 1957Vintage 1950's Ideal Miss Revlon Fashion Doll With Original Formal Gown Dress Tammy Dolls, Betsy Wetsy, And Flatsy Dolls From The 1960'sAntique 1934 Shirley Temple 16 Composition DollVintage Ideal Toni P90 Black Hair Doll With Original Clothes !!!Composition 16 Inch Shirley Needs TlcMiss Revlon Doll Marked Ideal Vt-18 Vintage Needs Clothes TlcVintage Japanese Scarlet Doll - Tammy Friend *super Rare Long-hair Type!!*Vintage 1963 Ideal Baby Pebbles Flintstone Doll W/ Blanket & Orignal Box & CribVintage 1950 S 1960s Ideal Petite Princess Fantasy Doll House Furniture 30 Piece1957 Little Miss Revlon Doll, 10 1/2 With Dress And ShoesVintage 1930s Ideal Shirley Temple Doll 18" Compo Composition Tlc Parts RestoreIdeal Giggles Doll 18" With Original ClothesVtg Shirley Temple Cop/n&tc Ideal Composition 21"doll+pin, Fur Coat, Hat&muff-nrBeautiful 1950's Htf Ideal Miss Revlon Fashion Doll Vt-22 Original OutfitVintage Ideal Tammy And Her Sister Pepper...low ReserveIdeal Tammy Doll 1962 Vintage Bs-12, Dressed As A Bride. Blonde, Blue EyesVintage Ideal Toni P-90 Blond Doll With Original Clothes !!!36" Ideal Black Patti PlaypalPretty Vintage 18" Ideal Miss Revlon In Original Dress EnsembleNice Vintage Ideal Doll Co.hard Plastic "miss Curity" Nurse Doll/ Toni 22.5" Vintage Ideal Baby Doll2 Adorable Baby/doll Sunsuits ~boy & Girl Size 3/6 Months~Saucy Walker, 22" Ideal, All Original In Her Box, Very Good Condition