Monday, May 16, 2011

Oh, You Beautiful Doll....

Here's a question for all you parents of little girls (or boys) out there - do paper dolls still exist?  If so, do your kids play with them?

I LOVED paper dolls as a kid.  I remember getting a Brady Bunch set and playing with it, although I remember my sister Jen and I both wanting to "be" Marcia (of course - it's always "Marcia, Marcia, MARCIA!").  :D Unfortunately, the Bradys are lost to antiquity but we also has this set to play with:

Isn't it wonderful?  I am so thrilled that this set is in my possession.  This was my mom's paper doll set!  There are actually photos of her playing with it.  She was about three or four when she got the set - the photos are from the late Forties/early Fifties.  And check out these clothes!  The best part (besides the adorable suitcase that houses the clothes)?  They're FLOCKED.  And they were preserved so well that the flocking isn't even worn.

Here's another set of my mom's - these girls are named Melinda, Belinda, Polly and Becky.  They have to be from around the same time period - those hairstyles give it away!  There seems to be a "Southern Belle"-type aura about these girls - maybe it's just their names.

Poor "Georgia Lou" has some ankle issues.  :D
THIS set is my favorite!  These "date gals" were named after my mom's older cousins Josephine and Georgia Lou (whom I've met - they're in their mid-to-late seventies now).  I love the wholesomeness of the "teenagers" (a new term back then!) and their handsome dates.  I have a feeling, since "Jo" and Georgia Lou are about 10 years older than my mom, that these dolls may have been theirs first - it would make sense, since they're clearly from the Forties and my mom was born in '46.

I suppose it goes without saying that I won't be using any of these clothes in my artwork.  :D

Oh, but that doesn't go for the rest of the paper dolls in my collection!  What strikes me as amazing is that these sets are in existence at all.  Maybe kids took better care of their toys back then because they didn't have a whole room full of them like kids seem to today.  Maybe some moms kept them in the attic for safe-keeping in case they had granddaughters someday.  Whatever the case, I feel lucky to have them.

Here's a set from 1966 - they're much smaller than the previous ones and include boys, too!  It strikes me as kind of sad that this set is in nearly pristine condition - great for me, though!  Check out the awesome fashions - I will definitely be putting these to good use!

This next set is probably from one of those "dolls around the world" sets - I bought it from The Paper Flea Market.  It's in wonderful condition and Trina at PFM says they're from 1964.  You don't see many "native dress"-type dolls anymore, do you?

Lastly, here's a Klutz set that I bought for my niece Natalie's 9th birthday five years ago.....and I loved it so much, I bought one for myself!  :D  It's not a "paper doll" set, per se - it's definitely geared toward fashion design and the assembly of outfits rather than playing with dolls.  It's a lot more sophisticated than the "dollies" of yore, yes?  And yep, I've used the set, too - the stencils are awesome!

Here are a few pieces I've created using my paper doll stuff - more to come, I'm sure!


  1. I too was a paper doll girl. I had a Bride and Groom set back in the 70's - I played with it a lot. Unfortunately they have long since dissappeared.

  2. Laura, I would've LOVED the bride & groom set! I'm bummed that my sets are gone too, but I suppose that's what Ebay's for! :D

  3. Love Love Love paper grandmother used to buy them for me when we went on trips to see her relatives. I guess to keep me occupied while the "old folks" visited. Too bad I don't have any of them still. I also bought the book from Klutz a couple years ago to make my own fashion dolls. Glad to see I'm not the only adult who has one. :D

  4. My Mom LOVED paper dolls - actually, she love to cut things with tiny scissors. She made most of our Scraps bags (mixed Victorian scraps & Dresdens) - but I always had to stop her from trimming too much because most people like to do it themselves. She'd have loved your article, Mel!

  5. Terry & Annie - thanks for your wonderful comments! It's thrillng to me to see this kind of repsonse - I guess we never forget our favorite childhood things when they're connected to such powerful and fantastic memories! :D