People have made dolls for thousands of years for use as religious objects, toys, and holiday displays. Many traditional dolls, like the Japanese Kokeshi, are still highly desirable today. Many early American dolls were made of rags, or cloth, and are a reminder of the simple life in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In the 19th century, French and German dolls were the most popular and innovative dolls in the western world. In the early 1850s, the Bebe doll appeared in France, starting the custom of making dolls in the form of infants and young children (as opposed to adults). The Germans caught on, and soon both countries were producing porcelain-headed dolls.

Late in the 1800s, the French started making dolls with unglazed heads, and the unglazed colored clay more accurately represented a human skin tone. These dolls became known as bisque dolls, and they remain a staple of doll-making.

Shortly thereafter, German doll makers started experimenting with celluloid, a lighter-weight and less breakable material. Celluloid dolls were popular for a number of years, despite the fact that the material was flammable. Dolls in Europe, Japan, and America made of celluloid, such as the famous Kewpie doll, were eventually replaced by dolls made of plastic, or composition dolls, made of a mix of materials including glue and sawdust.

The early 20th century saw the launch of a number of famous doll-making companies, such as Ideal, which became known among other things for its best-selling Shirley Temple dolls. Another was Vogue, which produced the Ginny doll, and of course Mattel, which launched its blockbuster Barbie line in the late 1950s.

Though most antique dolls started out as toys, some dolls have been sought by collectors from the beginning. A good example is the Simpich Doll Company, which produced small numbers of limited edition Christmas and Americana-themed dolls for over 50 years.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Dollreference.com

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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]

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Rhonda Wilson's collection of 1950s dolls, organized by name (Ginny and friends, Littlest Angel and friends, etc.) … [read review or visit site]

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Recent News: Dolls

Source: Google News

Prepare to meet Annabelle at an advance Hollywood screening
CliqueClack, September 18th

John Form has found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia — a beautiful, rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress. But Mia's delight with Annabelle doesn't last long. On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic...Read more

Time To Pretend: The SPIRIT of Dress-Up
Burtonview, September 17th

Kids enjoy coming in to simply look around at all the exciting features and interactive decorations on display, like the new roaming antique doll that moves around the store eliciting shrieks and laughter. Sutherby is especially proud that her employer...Read more

North Platte antiques store fills shelves at 'Storage Wars'-like auctions
Omaha World-Herald, September 17th

Vicki Simpson, co-owner of DeJa Vu Treasures, sets out an antique doll for display on Sept. 16. Posted: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 12:25 pm. North Platte antiques store fills shelves at 'Storage Wars'-like auctions By Heather Johnson / World-Herald ...Read more

Halloween 2014, Five New Horror Movies Fans Can Scream & Scare Over This ...
Mstarz, September 17th

Annabelle: "A couple begin to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists." Follow-up to last year's hit, "The Conjuring." October 24: ...Read more

DeJa Vu
North Platte Telegraph, September 17th

DeJa Vu. Posted: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 3:00 am. Vicki Simpson, co-owner of DeJa Vu Treasures, sets out an antique doll for display Tuesday. Simpson finds a lot of the merchandise for the store by bidding on storage units...Read more

Hell Dolly
AsiaOne, September 17th

As if being attacked in your own home weren't bad enough, the Satanists also conjure a demon that possesses the wife's vintage doll. Dang Satanists. Annabelle is the latest in a long and not particularly illustrious line of scary doll movies. There's...Read more

New Movie Releases -- October 2014
ScreenCrush, September 16th

October is here, and at the movies that means it's a time for horror, a time for thrills, and a time for action — but don't worry! It's not all scares. There's tons of diversity coming to theaters this month, including a little drama and even some...Read more

MAUREEN O'HARA's TWISTED SECRET LIFE
The National Enquirer, September 14th

One night, he raged at pregnant Maureen about her antique doll collection, bellowing, “I hate them! Get them out of here!” When she refused, he smashed them and punched her in the belly, endangering their baby, daughter Bronwyn, born in 1945. Still...Read more