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    

1960s Ideal Peter Playpal Blonde Doll Boxed W Outfit! #1570-1 Be 35-98 PattiBeautiful 18" Ideal Composite Shirley Temple Doll Original With Dress And Shoes16" Antique Ideal Shirley Temple Doll With Original Clothing 1930s Ideal 18" Blonde Composition Shirley Temple In Pink Tagged Dress W Button!Antique Ideal Shirley Temple Doll 19" Original ClothingVintage Ideal Toy Corp. Platinum Patti Playpal Original Life-size Doll G-35-7Antique 19" Ideal Shirley Temple Doll With Original Clothing Shirley Temple 22" Ideal Composition Doll - Needs A New HomeVintage 1971 18 Inch Ideal Crissy Wearing Bell Bottom Outfit & Brown BootsLot Of 5 Ideal Dolls Tammy's (?) Bud, DadAntique Ideal 13" Shirley Temple Doll With Original Clothing Pepper And Patti Full Toy Set 19641960s Ideal Patti Playpal Redhead Doll W Original Apple Checked Dress G-351930s Ideal 17" Blonde Shirley Temple Composition Doll W Original Outfit!1930s Ideal 17" Blonde Shirley Temple Composition Doll W Original Tagged Outfit!13" Antique Ideal Shirley Temple Doll With Original Clothing And Ideal Pin Vintage 1950s Ideal Little Miss Revlon 10 1/2" Doll, Clothes, Accessories, BoxesX2 Vintage Ideal Toni Dolls P-91 Brunette 15” & P-92/19 Blonde 19”Vtg 15" Composition Signed Ideal Doll (tlc) Deanna Durbin Original OutfitIdeal Toni P-92 19" W/matching P-90 14" Dolls - Played WithCricket A Sears Store Exclusive And Velvet Ideal Crissy Family Dolls Rare Nice1960 Ideal Patti Playpal Doll - 35" Tall, Pink Outfit & Original Hair Bow1950s Ideal 17" Blonde Shirley Temple Doll W Original Gold Dress Outfit! Boxed!Vintage Ideal Gilbert James Bond Doll Action Figure- Spring Loaded ArmVintage Mattel Ideal Barbie Skipper Ken Doll Accessories Mixed Lot Hats & MoreStunning! Vintage 1956-1959 Miss Cracks!1965 Tammy's Family Jukebox For Pepper By Ideal 9717-0 Sealed Swiss Musical MoveAntique 22" Shirley Temple Doll~composition~1930~ideal~original~needs Tlc1960s Ideal Patti Playpal Redhead/brunette Doll W White Dress & Pink Trim G-351960s Ideal Tiny Thumbelina Doll, Case, Clothes, AccessoriesVintage Ideal Revlon Doll, 18 Inch Hard Plastic With BoxIdeal Accessories For Tammy Dog Leash, White Shoes, Red Bag, My Last Dog Rare 1930s 18" Ideal Shirley Temple Composition Doll With Blue Music Dress Vintage 1970's Ideal Crissy Kerry Tressy Dolls Grow Hair Original Outfits NiceVintage Ideal Miss Revlon Doll In Original Dress~22 Inches TallVintage 12" Shirley Temple Doll St-12 By Ideal And Vintage Dresses1940s Ideal 18" P100 Baby Doll In White Outfit/bonnet & Pink Dress W White Trim!2 Vintage 1950's Ideal 10 1/2" Little Miss Revlon Fashion Doll 1 Vgc 1 Restore +Vintage Ideal Tammy Doll In Box Never Played With Lavender DressMint In Box Vintage 1970's Ideal Archie Bunkers GrandsonAntique Ideal Shirley Temple Rain Coat With Hat And Umbrella Ideal Little Miss Revlon Original 3-pc Nurse Outfit #9256, Dress, Pinafore, Cap1930s Ideal 18" Blonde Shirley Temple Composition Doll W Original Tagged Outfit!5 Vintage Crissy Velvet "lemon Hang Up" & Outfit Package Ideal 1972 Mint SealedBeautiful Crissy Ideal Dolls Kerry And Brandi Nice Must SeeVintage Ideal Saucy Walker Doll 22 Inch With Box Miniature Tammy/barbie Doll Or Dollhouse Vintage Camera Japan W 2 Rolls Film NrPatty Play Pal DollLot Vintage Ideal Crissy Doll Family & Friends Catalog Clothes Never UsedVintage Ideal Toni 20” Doll P-93 Usa Blonde W/ Full Outfit Pink Coat Rabbit Fur14 Vintage Doll Dresses~most Came On Ideal Toni DollsSensational! Vintage 1958-1959 Miss Nancy Ann...Ideal Posin Cricket Doll Crissy Family Velvet FriendRare Ideal Bonnie Playpal 24" Brunette (hardest Hair Color To Find) Oeb-24-3Vintage Ideal 18" Thumbelina Baby Doll 1971 18 Inch Ideal Crissy/crickett Wearing Bell Bottom Outfit & Brown BootsVintage 1961 "kissy' 22" Kissing Doll By Ideal Toy-w/box, Original Dress & ShoesIdeal Toni Doll 14 Hard Plastic 1950s Vtg Tagged Dress Head Re-string Home Retro Ideal Doll - Patti Playpal (1950's) Needs Repair.1959 Ideal Suzy Playpal - 28" Tall - Straight Pixie Style Hair + Extra Outfit