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

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]



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Recent News: Dolls

Source: Google News

Supporters or not, we still agree on Trump's hair
Boston Globe, August 25th

In 2012, Jon Stewart called him an “antique-doll hair thief.” By 2013, the situation became so intense that Trump took to Twitter to defend it. “As everybody knows, but the haters & losers refuse to acknowledge,” @realdonaldtrump tweeted in April, “I...Read more

Remodel and Renovate Your Basement: Possibilities Below the Surface
Zing! Blog by Quicken Loans (blog), August 24th

That's right, the basement can (and probably should) be a living space – not just a dingy hole where you keep holiday decorations and your mother's creepy antique doll collection. It's versatile; it's a space that can be transformed into almost anything...Read more

Restored doll house delights patrons at Penn Hills Library
Tribune-Review, August 23rd

A local teen spent her summer restoring an antique doll house while volunteering at the Penn Hills Library. Megan Karafa, 17, of Penn Hills said she was excited when she was asked to take on the project. “I thought it was a great opportunity,” Karafa said...Read more

London International Antique Doll, Teddy Bear and Toy Fair to debut at Olympia
Exhibition News, August 17th

Artefacts from toy history are set to be showcased at the first edition of the London International Antique Doll, Teddy Bear and Toy Fair at Olympia London next November. The inaugural event will look back on 200 years of childhood (1750 to 1950), with...Read more

First London International Antique Doll Teddy Bear and Toy Fair heads to Olympia
Toy News, August 12th

Antiques Roadshow's Bunny Campione will open the inaugral event celebrating 200 years of childhood and taking place in November 2016. Collections of rare antique dolls, teddy bears and toys will be heading to London Olympia as part of a new exhibition ...Read more

Vintage doll collection has grown into museum of sorts
Montreal Gazette, May 19th

Madeleine Léger with a couple of wooden dolls with articulating limbs from the 1750s made in eastern Europe, at her home in Hudson. Her collection of over 250 dolls, which she calls a museum, can be seen on an appointment basis. John Mahoney ...Read more

What's It Worth: Antique doll bed, Incolay box
Richmond.com, May 16th

a Renaissance Revival style doll's bed made around 1875. It is factory made and probably sold by mail order. These were expensive toys that were mostly purchased by affluent buyers. It's made of walnut, the standard material used for furniture during...Read more

RIVERSIDE: Vintage doll, toy and bear sale set
Press-Enterprise, April 7th

The Inland Empire Doll Club has set its12th annual Vintage Doll, Toy and Bear Sale for Saturday, April 11 at the Janet Goeske Senior Center, 5257 Sierra St. in Riverside. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Admission is $4. The nonprofit club is a...Read more