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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Phyllis HouserChampaign/Urbana News-Gazette, March 26th
She loved antique dolls and owned an antique doll hospital. Phyllis enjoyed gardening and had a special love of dogs and birds. She loved the farm life. Phyllis enjoyed working word search puzzles, playing bingo, sewing and crocheting. She loved her...Read more
Area BriefsPiqua Daily Call, March 24th
PIQUA — A free Advance Planning seminar, featuring local experts from Jamieson & Yannucci Funeral Home, will be held Wednesday, March 25. Come and enjoy lunch and learn about the end-of-life planning you need to do now in order to protect your ...Read more
Antique toys and games sought for Oakland exhibitLynchburg News and Advance, March 22nd
Oakland Museum antique toys and games. This antique doll from the 1920s will be among the antique toys and games on display at the Oakland Museum for a program on Saturday, April 18. View all 2 images in gallery. Posted: Sunday, March 22, 2015 2:00 ...Read more
Raccoon again a problem for Munroe Falls Historical SocietyStow Sentry, March 21st
An antique doll was also damaged, with a significant amount of hair pulled off and chipping around the eyes. Ball said he hopes it can be repaired. A raccoon caused similar damage in January. The doll had some hair pulled off then, but Ball said the...Read more
Man who left nursing home believed to be in dangerLocal 10, March 17th
Thomas, 60, left Gramercy Nursing Home after he became upset over some sort of incident. Police said he was last seen at about 4 a.m., traveling in his wheelchair westbound on SW 174th Street from S. Dixie Highway and carrying a large antique doll...Read more
Kids invited to Freetown Historical Society's Spring FlingSouthCoastToday.com, March 15th
Inside, visitors have the opportunity to see a collection of historical objects that includes a record of Martha Washington's expenses, an antique doll collection and several classic cars. Kendrick said that in April, the museum will debut a new...Read more
Montgomery club highlights vintage dolls, fashionsMontgomery Advertiser, March 10th
They had enjoyed the event at tables set to mimic a spring garden with miniature watering cans and Antique Doll Collectors magazines as accents of each place setting. White baskets filled with spray roses were the centerpieces they admired while they ...Read more
Fundraiser for museums to offer vintage-style showThe Idaho Statesman, March 8th
Tea Chairwoman Alice Steffensen said there will be musical entertainment by Double Image, and a silent auction will offer baskets of goodies, as well as tickets to the Snake River Stampede, a large popcorn machine, an antique doll and auto models...Read more