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    

Antique 1930's Ideal Shirley Temple Composition Doll 16" Fully Marked Nra TagToy Stamp & 1930s Flirty Eye Shirley Temple DollToy Stamp & 1960s Ideal Shirley Temple 17 Inch Doll In Original Outfit1930's Vintage Ideal Shirley Temple Composition Doll 18" America's Sweetheart Exc.composition Shirley Temple Doll & Reproduction Shirley Temple TrunkVintage Original Red Center Snap Shoes And Socks From Ideal P-90 Toni DollVintage Ideal Shirley Temple Composition 17in Doll Lqqk!!!18" Shirley Temple All Original With Box CompositionShirley Temple Doll Clothes, Clothing And AccessoriesVintage 1950's Ideal St-17 Flirty Eyes Shirley Temple Doll Tagged Dress Shoes ++Vintage Ideal Novelty Deanna Durbin Doll With Original HatLtd Toy Stamp & 1950's Ideal 19" Hard Plastic Toni Doll P-92 ALot Of 4 Vintage 1962 Tammy Dolls All With Great Hair By Ideal Cute Outfits1963 - 1964 Ideal Tammy Lot - 2 Dolls, Outfits And Carrying Case Lot Of 5 Vintage Furga Velvet Crissy Kerry Alta Moda Dolls With Clothes Shoes18" Ideal Shirley Temple Composition Doll Genuine Old Antique As-is Need RepairVintage Talking Chatty Cathy Blonde Pull String Talker Doll No 746 & BoxShirley Temple Marked 20" Composition Doll Vintage Clothing /portrait OptionVintage Ideal Patti Playpal Doll G-35 Dark Blonde Blue Eyes Needs Clean & Tlc Vintage Ideal Mortimer Snerd & Baby Snooks Composition Doll 12 In Flexy Lqqk!!!Shirley Temple Bleuette-size By Branka Scharli & Cracker Barrel Repro Tv TrunkLight Platinum Blonde Vintage Ideal Tammy Doll In Snow Bunny & Original OutfitIdeal Marked Huge Antique Composition Baby Doll Flirty/sleep Eyes 26" Adorable American Character Sweet Sue Walker Doll 31"Vintage Tagged Red Doll Dress From 1949 14" Toni Doll P90 Beautiful ConditionGroup Of Composition Dolls,uneeda Bisquit Boy,horsman,ideal,effanbee Patsy Joan Vintage Ideal P90 Toni Doll Hard Plastic In Orginal Tagged Factory DressVintage Tammy Dolls Tagged Clothing Accessories Shoes Purses - Huge Lot27 Inch Composition Shirley Temple Large 1930s Deanna Durbin Movie Star Ideal Compo Doll 24 Inch Sleep Eyes JointedAmerican Character Doll Toodles?Ideal Doll Company Tammy Terri Lee Original Dress & 1962 Uneeda Doll With DressLtd Toy Stamp & 1950's Ideal 19" Hard Plastic Toni Walker Doll P-92 BShirley Temple Doll, Ideal, About 17" TallVintage Dream Baby Type Composition Doll 20" Doll #2Vintage Ideal Composition Princess Beatrix Doll Brown Flirty Eyes 22"Toy Stamp & 1984 Giant 33 Inch Shirley Temple Doll In Original OutfitIdeal Pepper Doll Tammy's Little Sister 16 Inch Vintage Hard Plastic Ideal Saucy Walker Original Clothing Excellent Nr Ideal Miss Revlon Vt-22 Vintage 50's 22" Fashion Doll Cissy Pal Original DressShirley Temple Doll Velvet Hat And Jacket, Authentic 1930's.Ltd Toy Stamp & 1950's Ideal 35" Hard Plastic & Vinyl Patti Playpal Doll1930s Ideal Toy Co Shirley Temple Doll The Worlds Darling Pinback Vintage Huge Plastic Rubber Baby Doll Crissy ? Drink Blinky Eyes Patty Playpal ?Ltd Toy Stamp & 1950's Ideal 35" Patti Playpal Doll Box OnlyShirley Temple Doll 11 InchLot Of 4 Vintage 1962 Tammy Dolls All With Great Hair By Ideal Cute OutfitsVintage Ideal Suzy Playpal Doll 29" Vintage Little Miss Revlon Doll & Clothes Lot - Wow! Vintage Mod Ideal Tammy Dolls, Lot Of 2 1963 Ideal Pepper Doll~tammy's Little Sister With Original Dress Vintage Mod Ideal Tammy And Pepper Friend Dodi With Cricket WardrobeVintage 1951 Ideal Betsy Mccall Vinyl Head P-90 Toni Hard Plastic Body Doll 1970 Black Ideal Crissy In Original Box With Paperwork ~ Works!Vintage 1967 Tiny Thumbelina 14" Bewitched Tabitha Face Ideal Original Works1950's Shirley Temple Doll With Extra ClothesVintage Red Oil Cloth Center Snap 2" Doll Shoes & Socks From 1949 Toni Doll P90Vtg Ideal Tammy Doll High Color Light Blonde Unusual Dresses + Shoes + BandanaThumbelina 20” Ideal Doll 1960s For Display Or Repair Knob MissingIdeal Toy Corp Thumbelina 1982 Baby Doll With Original Tag And Clothing