Founder Madame Beatrice Alexander Behrman grew up surrounded by dolls. She lived above her father’s doll hospital, the first ever in the U.S., and started making her own cloth dolls during World War I to help his business. These cloth dolls are rare and highly collectible today.
Some of Madame Alexander’s first creations were dolls representing popular characters, such as Alice in Wonderland, Little Women, and the Three Little Pigs. She produced the first doll based on a licensed character (Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind), and she was the first doll manufacturer to make dolls based on living people (she created composition dolls representing the Dionne Quintuplets and a young Queen Elizabeth when she was still a Princess).
During World War II, she developed doll representations of the armed forces to boost morale, and by the late 1940s, she switched to using hard plastic for her dolls because it was harder to break.
In 1953, she released the Alexander-kins, eight-inch dolls made of plastic. Alexander-kins may be the most well-known Madame Alexander dolls today.
Madame Alexander also produced popular fashion dolls, First Lady dolls, international dolls, and baby dolls. Although she sold the company in 1988, dolls bearing the name "Madame Alexander" are still sold today.