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.

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Kaylees Korner of Collectible Dolls

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Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood

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Recent News: Dolls

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What's New On VOD: 'Annabelle', Dramedies, Liam Neeson And More
Decider, December 19th

Well, she got her own prequel. Eeep! Newlyweds Mia (Peaky Blinders' Annabelle Wallis) and John (Ward Horton) are getting settled in their new home when supernatural evils revolve around the presence of a vintage doll. [Watch Annabelle on iTunes]...Read more

Talking shop in Spain (blog), December 19th

Never is that more true than in Spain where a mantilla and fan shop will happily rub shoulders with a fusty old bookshop, a 100 year-old cigar emporium or antique doll store. A good number of these retailers have been able to continue their craft and...Read more

Emily Parnell: The joy of humble gifts
Kansas City Star, December 18th

“I love your reindeer, Grandma,” I remember saying. I was young, maybe 9 or 10. “You do?” she asked, sounding interested and warm. She was always interested and warm. She probably thought that I was hinting that she could give me the necklace...Read more

@ The Movies With Mark Hinson, December 17th

At the dawn of the '70s, an antique doll with Satanic powers makes life miserable, murderous and messy for an expectant mom and her husband in this disappointing horror flick. This gimmicky collection of gotcha jolts is a spin-off/prequel for "The...Read more

'When the Oldest Baby Jesus Got Lost' and other local productions: On the Stage, December 15th

"When the Oldest Baby Jesus Got Lost" tells the story of Samantha and her school chorus, who are invited to sing in "The Magic Mall" at Christmas time. Samantha has brought her mother's antique doll for the baby Jesus in the manger, but the doll...Read more

Beware of the vintage doll
Times of Malta, November 26th

Annabelle Wallis is concerned that her prized vintage doll may have become possessed in Annabelle. Annabelle (2014) Certified: 15. Duration: 99 minutes. Directed by: John R. Leonetti Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Alfre Woodard ...Read more

Antique doll haunts museum, October 31st

QUESNEL, British Columbia - Curator Ruth Stubbs will never forget how Mandy, the antique doll, arrived at the Quesnel museum in 1991. Mandy's once-pretty porcelain face was cracked, her stuffed body ripped and her clothes dirty. Stubbs said, "Out of...Read more

Review: ANNABELLE Is Worse Than Being Given An Antique Doll As A Gift
Twitch, September 30th

It is understandable that Warner Brothers and New Line would want to continue the success of last year's The Conjuring. The period haunted house flick proved a surprise summer smash last year, grossing over $300 million worldwide. Annabelle focuses on ...Read more