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    

1930's Ideal Toys Shirley Temple Composition Doll 20"Shirley Temple 18" Composition Doll - Needs To Be Re-strungVintage Ideal Large Penny Playpal 32 E.l. DollVintage Rare Ideal 1967 Giggles Doll In The Original Box And Condition 1930's Shirley Temple 13" Composition Doll1950 Hard Plastic Doll__miss Revlon 18" Ideal Tag Earrings Heels Clothing Home ECute Vintage Ideal Blond Tammy Doll Wearing SleepytimeIdeal Tammy Doll #9000-1 Original Box Stand Outfits Accessories Shoes Vintage 1930 Vtg Composition Ideal Shirley Temple Doll Orig 13" Clothing Cabinet Size AIdeal Tammy DollOriginal Tagged 1930's Shirley Temple Doll "now And Forever" DressVintage Ideal Patti Play Pal Doll~brown Hair~twist/jointed Wrists~needs Strung~Vintage Ideal Giggles Doll~original~18"~Pair 10" Little Miss Revlon Clones With Gowns Shoes Underwear Blonde & BrunetteVintage 1960's Ideal Tiny Thumbelina Doll W/boxVintage Tammy Doll Hi Color Platinum Hair Bs12-4, Box & Playsuit Original Owner Tammy Doll, Ideal Vintage Toy -1960's Bs -12 - 2 With Original Blue Satin Dress!Vintage Baby Doll Lot , 6" R & B Baby With Clothes And A Few Others !Ideal Shirley Temple Doll, Composition..22 Inches TallVintage Ideal Tammy & Pepper Doll In Case With Accessories15" Miss Revlon Ideal Vintage Doll Dress Sears Version Kissing Pink Floral 1950sEg 1961 Male Doll Wearing Tammy Male Doll Suit CoatIdeal Tammy Dolls LotVintage Ideal Tammy, Pepper & Family Doll Clothes Large Lot Outfit, Dress, CoatVintage 1950's-1960's 34" Patty Play Pal DollYou Are Seeing An Old Peter Playpal In All Orignal Outfit .blond Hair , My DollBeautiful Revlon Ideal - Lot - Vt-18 Tagged Doll, Box, Clothes And Accessories!11 Inch Shirley Temple Doll2 Ideal Tammy Dolls With Awesome Case And ClothesIdeal 19" Patti Playpal-excellent ConditionVintage Shirley Temple Ideal Doll St-15n, 14" TallVintage Ideal Tammy Family Lot: Dolls, Boxes, Clothes, Accessories, Shoes!Vintage Ideal Mitzi Doll W/ Original Box & Accessories ~ Tammy, BarbieShirley Temple Doll Dress Curley Top Outfit,fits 16" Dress, Slip, Shoes, SocksVintage Ideal Tammy Mom Doll - Htf/rare Stunning Brunette-all Orig In Box L@@k!!(2) Ideal Giggles Dolls18" Ideal Miss Revlon - Vt181967 Captain Action Doll With Box & Accessories27" Composition Shirley Temple Doll - Original Dress, Shoes & Pin, Flirty EyesVintage 1960's Ideal Blue Thumbelina Doll In Original Box Works!Vintage 32" Patti Playpal Type DollIdeal Grow Hair Crissy Doll Clothes & AccessoriesVintage Doll Ideal Tiny Thumbelina Original Dress 14"Antique Shirley Temple Composition Doll Ideal - Old MarkingsVintage 35" Ideal Walking Patti Playpal G-35-7Pretty Dress For 35" Patti Playpal Doll ClothesVintage Ideal Toni 18" Doll P-19 Sleepy Eyes Blonde HairRare Vintage Shirley Temple Inspired Cinderella Gown Dress, 23" Long, Tagged EucIdeal Toni Dress Set P 93 Excellent Condition Vintage Ideal Tagged 21 Inch DollIdeal Velvet Mip Outfits & AccessoriesIdeal Grow Hair Chrissy Doll, Clothes, & AccessoriesIdeal P-19 15 Inch Toni DollVintage 1967 Ideal Cute 18" Giggles Doll Original Outfit But Played With Vintage Ideal Tammy - Rare- Pale Green Shirtwaist Dress + Htf Belt Mint1960s Tammy Doll CarSweet! Vintage East Germany Dollhouse Doll Miniature Renwal Ideal Rubber PlasticVintage Ideal Tiny Thumbelina Doll Ott 14 Original Dress WorksVintage 1959 Ideal Little Miss Revlon 10" Doll W Original Tagged DressCute!!! Vintage Shirley Temple Embrodried Pillow Cover Ideal Tammy Doll Clothing: Mommy Made Brownie Scout Uniform & Hanger