Children of Japan

Children of Japan
Courtesy, R. John Wright

Hinges and Hearts

Hinges and Hearts
An Exhibit of our Metal Dolls

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Tuxedo and Bangles

Tuxedo and Bangles

A History of Metal Dolls

A History of Metal Dolls
Now on Alibris.com and In Print! The First Book of its Kind

Alice, Commemorative Edition

Alice, Commemorative Edition
Courtesy, R. John Wright

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Emma, aka, La Contessa Bathory

Emma, aka, La Contessa Bathory
Her Grace wishes us all a Merry Christmas!

Annabelle

Annabelle

Emma Emmeline

Emma Emmeline
Our New Addition/fond of stuffed toys

Cloth Clown

Cloth Clown

Native American Art

Native American Art

the triplets

the triplets

c. 1969 Greek Plastic Mini Baby

c. 1969 Greek Plastic Mini Baby
Bought Athens on the street

Iron Maiden; Middle Ages

Iron Maiden; Middle Ages

Sand Baby Swirls!

Sand Baby Swirls!
By Glenda Rolle, courtesy, the Artist

Glenda's Logo

Glenda's Logo
Also, a link to her site

Sand Baby Castaway

Sand Baby Castaway
By Glenda Rolle, Courtesy the Artist

A French Friend

A French Friend

Mickey

Mickey
From our friends at The Fennimore Museum

2000+ year old Roman Rag Doll

2000+ year old Roman Rag Doll
British Museum, Child's Tomb

Ancient Egypt Paddle Doll

Ancient Egypt Paddle Doll
Among first "Toys?"

ushabti

ushabti
Egyptian Tomb Doll 18th Dynasty

Ann Parker Doll of Anne Boleyn

Ann Parker Doll of Anne Boleyn

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Tin Head Brother and Sister, a Recent Purchase

Tin Head Brother and Sister, a Recent Purchase
Courtesy, Antique Daughter

Judge Peep

Judge Peep

Hakata Doll Artist at Work

Hakata Doll Artist at Work
From the Museum Collection

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Japanese Costume Barbies

Japanese Costume Barbies
Samurai Ken

Etienne

Etienne
A Little Girl

Happy Heart Day

Happy Heart Day

From "Dolls"

From "Dolls"
A Favorite Doll Book

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Jenny Wren

Jenny Wren
Ultimate Doll Restorer

Our Friends at The Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum

Our Friends at The Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum

Baby Boo 1960s

Baby Boo 1960s
Reclaimed and Restored as a childhood Sabrina the Witch with Meow Meow

Dr. E's on Display with sign

Dr. E's on Display with sign

Dolls Restored ad New to the Museum

Dolls Restored ad New to the Museum
L to R: K*R /celluloid head, all bisque Artist Googly, 14 in. vinyl inuit sixties, early celluloid Skookum type.

Two More Rescued Dolls

Two More Rescued Dolls
Late Sixties Vinyl: L to R: Probably Horseman, all vinyl, jointed. New wig. R: Effanbee, probably Muffy, mid sixties. New wig and new clothing on both. About 12 inches high.

Restored Italian Baby Doll

Restored Italian Baby Doll
One of Dr. E's Rescued Residents

Dolls on Display

Dolls on Display
L to R: Nutcrackers, Danish Troll, HItty and her book, Patent Washable, Mechanical Minstrel, Creche figure, M. Alexander Swiss. Center is a German mechanical bear on the piano. Background is a bisque German costume doll.

A Few Friends

A Few Friends
These dolls are Old German and Nutcrackers from Dr. E's Museum. They are on loan to another local museum for the holidays.

Vintage Collage

Vintage Collage
Public Domain Art

The Merry Wanderer

The Merry Wanderer
Courtesy R. John Wright, The Hummel Collection

The Fennimore Doll Museum

The Fennimore Doll Museum

Robert

Robert
A Haunted Doll with a Story

Halloween Dolls Displayed in a Local Library

Halloween Dolls Displayed in a Local Library

The Cody Jumeau

The Cody Jumeau
Long-faced or Jumeau Triste

German Princesses

German Princesses
GAHC 2005

A Little PowerRanger

A Little PowerRanger
Halloween 2004

The Island of the Dolls

The Island of the Dolls
Shrine to Dolls in Mexico

Based on the Nutshell Series of Death

Based on the Nutshell Series of Death
Doll House murder

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A lovely dress

A lovely dress

Raggedy Ann

Raggedy Ann
A few friends in cloth!

Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum, WI

Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum, WI
Pixar Animator's Collection

Little PM sisters

Little PM sisters
Recent eBay finds

Dressed Mexican Fleas

Dressed Mexican Fleas

Really old Dolls!

Really old Dolls!

Monday, January 21, 2019

It's Winter, get out those Frozen Charlottes!!


Beating the Winter Blahs with Dolls

 


We all know the feeling; it is near the end of winter; March is a crocus blossom away.  Everyone has cabin fever, and everyone has had it with snow, ice, snowplows, and sniffles.  So, how do we make it to the homestretch without going snow-mad?  Dolls are the answer!  Below are my tips for beating the winter blahs with dolls:



  1. Joint Pinterest and start a Board.  There are terrific boards on dolls and doll-related items.  Mine are Doll Collection, Women’s Apparel and Holidays.
  2. Surf eBay for collector’s guides.  When you watch an item, there is a new feature that reads “add to collection” where you can save pictures and information for items you like, similar to Pinterest, above.
  3. Join Facebook; there are terrific pages for dolls and doll stores.  Ask to join the group, and if it is not closed, and administrator who invites people in will include you. 
  4. Explore other social media like Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr  or doll related photos and images. You can also set up albums of your own doll photos on Google and on the social media discussed above.
  5. Visit The Library of Congress online at loc.gov and explore resources for dolls, including thousands of photos and other images.  You can also explore titles for doll books, and then visit your own library to “read more about it.”  As a fledgling doll maker, I loved the library for its copy machine which allowed me to make paper dolls and to add to my research files.  Also, check out any library cafes [we have to eat] and book sales.
  6. Dust and rearrange your doll displays.  Facebook and Pinterest are great places to get ideas, as is our own About.com Doll Collecting site.
  7. Check out the new dolls available at the big box stores, department stores, and doll shops.  Look online if you do not live near shopping centers,  Again, libraries are a good place to use computers, as are your Smartphones, iPods, Tablets, and other hand held devices.
  8. Look for clearances sales, and think outside the doll house.  Craft stores, hobby shops, fabric s stores, and gift shops are great sources for dolls, books, related items, and supplies for doll making, doll clothes, repairs, and miniature projects.
  9. Make a doll, visit places described in 8, or go to Etsy for inspiration.  You can favorite certain stores and sellers and get newsletters.  If nothing else, make a snowman; technically, they are dolls.
  10. Watch movies about dolls and toys: Toy Story, Child of Glass, Dolls, Dollie Dearest, Shirleymania
    Barbie Nation, Barbie Films, Raggedy Ann Films, Documentaries, etc.
  11. Check out films on YouTube about dolls; good searches are Doll Collection, Doll Museum, Dolls History, names of dolls like Monster High, Barbie Collection, Names of stores and specific museums.
  12. Find a doll blog, like American Doll & Toy Museum or Dr. E’s Doll Museum Blog, and post something nice.

  1. Take a walk
  2. Start a doll club
  3. Get on the Speakers’ Bureau to talk about dolls, do a doll talk, hold a class, and take a class, e.g., how to photograph dolls. Look at Tom Kelley’s shots of Marilyn and dolls, and Tom Kelley, Jr.’s work, too.


 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Thank you Virtual Doll Convention!

I'm taking this chance to thank everyone at Virtual Doll Convention. We all learned and enjoyed so much! Truly, doll folk are not singleminded at all, and we have enjoyed many fashion, culinary, antique, and doll programs and videos. Our experts were wonderful! From plush to bears, to Bru, Alexander, and Maggie Bessie, we explored whole other worlds involving dolls. Who could forget that stunning presentation on Raggedy Ann and Andy, too! I remember my third grade teacher reading the stories to us, and wishing that cookies did grow on trees and clouds were cotton candy. We learned to sew, enjoyed printable goodies, and shared Kewpie hugs! What a great collection that was! Till next year; I can hardly wait!!


You can still register at www.virtualdollcollection.com to see these great programs and relive the whole wonderful week, including the terrific salesroom!!



Friday, January 18, 2019

The Murder Room and More


An interesting point of where literature and criminology intersect:  From The Murder Room:  “But it was Vidocq’s remarkable story of redemption and his belief in the redemption of others that touched Fleischer most deeply. The chief cop of Paris was a great friend of the poor and said he would never arrest a man for stealing bread to feed his family.   Vidocq was Hugo’s model for Javert, the relentless detective in Les Miserables, as well as for Valjean, the excon who reforms and seeks redemption for  his deeds” (Capuzzo 135).  Vidocq was a criminal who became a detective, and who formed an agency even before Pinkerton.  He is considered a father of modern criminology.  This well researched book by Michael Capuzzo tells the story of The Vidocq Society, named in his honor, and of three remarkable criminologists who lead the pack of those who would solve the most unsolvable of crimes.

Frank Bender is one of the experts and members featured. He was a forensic artist who built busts out of mere remnants of bones found of victims.  He also created busts of suspects.  His work reminded me of sculpting dolls in many ways, albeit macabre ways.  Also, dolls make appearances here and there.

In another strange interlude involving dolls on Instagram, two Greek dolls appeared on a "haunted" doll store Instagram page.  The dolls were the Amalia, or woman wearing the Greek National costume named for the first modern Queen of Greece, Amalia, who also designed the outfit.  The Male doll was the Evzon, Chollia, or Greek soldier who still guard the royal palace in Athens.

The dolls have silk painted faces over a mask, and a wire armature with plastic limbs.  Two of these dolls started my own collection; my mother gave them to me when I was three.  They had belonged to my grandparents.

One commentator said the dolls had "evil," negative vibes, perhaps containing the auras of sexual predators!  What rubbish!!  People need to stop this nonsense!  These were vintage dolls representing another culture, which happened to be mind.  I identified the dolls, and also commented that my people, Greeks, are not predators, especially not the kind describe.  People are just sick and wrong sometimes.

American Doll and Toy Museum: Hellenic Muses a la Poupee

American Doll and Toy Museum: Hellenic Muses a la Poupee: Greek dolls have been influenced by many cultures, mixing with, and creating doll simultaneously with, Greek artists. A doll shaped ...

Saturday, January 12, 2019

King Tut and Dolls; Memories of an Exhibit


King Tut
 
Ancient Egypt is often credited with first using the doll as a toy for children.  Having said that, many doll historians note that the Ushabti, sometimes pronounced “shawbti” or “shoabti”, are doll figures with ritual significance. 
 

Pics Mitch Milani and Ellen Tsagaris



Many collectors are familiar with small faience figures, about an inch or two in height, that look like tiny mummies.  They are designed with hieroglyphs, including scarabs at times. These were sometimes pressed in molds and contained in boxes.  Sadigh Gallery has examples of these in its catalogs.
 
More elaborate Ushabti are covered with gold, decorated with stones, are made of glazed ceramic, and have more detailed facial features. 
 
Within the last few years, I was privileged to view the travelling Treasures of King Tut exhibit, which was something on my “bucket list” I’ve waited to see since I was 16 years old.  I’ve missed it twice in Chicago, so this was all or nothing.  When my alma mater invited my family and me to a special showing with lecture and Ancient Egyptian-inspired hor d’oeuvres, I jumped at the opportunity.
 
Note:  This exhibit does not contain the treasures from antiquity.  The Director of the Putnam Museum where the exhibit was held informed us that since the Arab Spring, the original treasures cannot leave Egypt.  Instead, a group of carefully skilled artisans made reproductions, over 1000 of them, that can’t be distinguished from the originals.  They are breathtaking, and one of my posts will feature a gallery of the photos we took.
 
The Putnam does have a large collection of authentic artifacts that originated with the collection of Dr. B. J. Palmer, father of modern Chiropractic.  One of these is an unwrapped mummy of a woman; she has been there since the first time I saw her at age 6!
 
The Ushabti on display for Tut were around 18 inches high, and breathtaking in their detail.  One featured the infant King Tut holding a silver rattle, which looks very much like expensive children’s rattles throughout history.  Egyptologists believe this was a toy, and not a religious item.  I find that interesting, since most early objects that rattled were believed to have religious significance throughout the Ancient World by anthropologists and archaeologists.
 
The portrait mannikin of Tut was also on exhibit.  This figure was used to model Tut’s clothing.  It may have also been a tailor’s dummy.  I have seen it photographed in many of my doll books.
 
Amid the early board games and throwing sticks Tut played with, was a reproduction of an alabaster vessel surrounded by 4 realistic ethnic portraits of other peoples who lived during Tut’s era.  These were not two-dimensional hieroglyphic sculptures, but realistic, with ethnic features and skin tones including African and Asian.  This is significant to me since we sometimes have the idea Ancient Egyptian artists could only create one way stylistically.
 
The magnificent death mask of Tut, all gold and Lapis Lazuli was represented; the Peggy Nisbet portrait doll of Tut is very accurate; I like it because its head is metal.
 
The elaborate coffins, his chariot, the gorgeous throne, all are there.  Also, there was information about Queen Nefertiti, who has also inspired dolls.  She was once considered the most beautiful woman in the world.  New information indicates her tomb may be near Tut’s.  Also, Nefertiti was related to Tut, perhaps as his mother in law.  We do know she was the wife of the discredited king, Ahkenaten.
 
The Tut exhibit travels; look for it in your town.  In California, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum has an amazing collection of artifacts.  The Milwaukee Public Museum and Art Institute of Chicago also have wonderful collections.  If you life near Cairo, then you have the best “seat in the house” for this type of art.  The British Museum has a wonderful Egyptian collection, too.  For more on Howard Carter who found Tut’s tomb, try works by James Patterson and Time Life Books’ “Ancient Egypt.”  Biographies of Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Nefertiti, and Anne Rice’s “The Mummy Ramses the Damned” are also of interest. National Geographic’s video on Tut’s treasures is quite good, and Pauline Gedge’s “The Lady of the Reeds” is well researched along with “Wine of the Dreamers”, a time travel romance based on Ancient Egypt.
 
                                                              
 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Ten Iconoclastic Rules for Collecting Dolls; Thinking outside the Doll Box


Ten Iconoclastic Rules for Collecting Dolls; Thinking outside the Doll Box



 
Let me begin by paraphrasing George Orwell, author if 1984 and other works, from his essay “Politics and the English Language.”  He outlines his ten rules for good writing, no doubt formed from his own school of hard knocks, learned during his days of writing communist propaganda.  Basically, he said in about the tenth rule that writers should break the other 9 before they wrote anything “barbarous.”

Australian Swagman, gift of J. Smith

 
I’m a big fan of Orwell and literary freedom; I don’t like collector fascists either, or collector totalitarians.  To each her own, or in the immortal words of Sly Stone, “different strokes for different folks.”
 
So, here are my ten unorthodox rules for collecting dolls.
 
  1. Buy what you like.  This is the most sacred rule for any collector to follow.  Buy what you like, and opportunity and investment will come.  As you buy what you like, your taste may change or not.  You will learn about all kinds of dolls and related items, you will study, read, and improve your critical thinking skills and even your communication skills as you explore what you love.
  2. Read freely of other collectors’ advice; take that advice sparingly.  Don’t let a doll snob, or even a well meaning collector, talk you out of a doll you love.  If you can afford it, you like it, have plans for it, are inspired by it, made happy by it, go for it.   Your collection is a kind of autobiography; it says things about you, and those things are good.
  3. To paraphrase Mary Randolph Carter, author of The American Junk Series of books, magazine contributor, Internet entrepreneur, and executive at Ralph Lauren, never ask where am I going to put it?
  4. Condition is not everything; if you have a chance to be gifted, or to buy,  a fabulous doll that is damaged but very reasonably priced, don’t turn it down.  What if that bargain baby that needs TLC is a Bru, or a Marque?  Stranger things have happened.
  5. Don’t buy just for investment.  If you want to speculate on investments, become a day trader, buy bitcoin, trade in stocks, etc.   Like art, dolls and collectibles should be lived with first.  A good collection ages like fine wine.
  6. More is more.  I’m sorry; it just is.  Collectors don’t like the “H” word.    Simplifying and downsizing what you like to please others merely causes you more stress.  Collecting what you like in any number you are comfortable with brings joy. 
  7. All Dolls are Collectible.  CF Genevieve Angione’s wonderful book of that title.
  8. Donate dolls to charity, or contribute to Toys for Tots.  Spread the word that dolls are good, and that they teach children many valuable skills.  Dolls are probably the oldest toy, and perhaps the oldest human cultural artifact. 
  9. Stay away from haunted object and creepy doll crap.  Don’t let these naysayers talk you out of your dolls.  I love monster and Halloween dolls all in good fun; I feel happy and safe when I’m surrounded by my collection, writing about it and caring for it.
  10. As Mr. Orwell wrote, break any of these rules before you do something barbarous, like throw away a doll.  Never, ever do that!! The Doll is always Greater than the Sum of its dolly Parts.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Syward 2019; A Very Special Post by David Levy


Skyward

January 2019

          For those of us who were alive back then, where were you on Christmas Eve, in the year 1968?   I remember exactly where I was.  Sitting in front of my family’s television, we were watching a surreal scene on TV.  There was a camera peering through a triangular-shaped window on a spacecraft called Apollo 8, out of which was a view of mountains, plains, and craters.  And at the bottom of the screen were the words, “Live from the Moon”.  I have a feeling that most of you, if you were living then, were watching too. The Apollo 8 Christmas eve broadcast was the most watched television program in the world up to that time.  The announcer on our station, Walter Cronkite, was not saying much.  Occasionally he would update us as to what part of the Moon the spacecraft was looking at, but most of the time, the view on the screen said it all.  And it was magical.

The year 1968 was a terrible year for the most part.  In April, Martin Luther King was murdered outside his hotel room in Memphis, and just two months later in Los Angeles, Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated.  And two months after that, the Democratic National Convention disintegrated into a riot on the streets of Chicago, with “The whole world watching.” That November, Richard Nixon won a close national election.  Then came Christmas Eve. 

Earthrise, Apollo 8, David Levy owner


 

Apollo 8 was not intended to head for the Moon.  The Saturn 5 rocket, as tall as a 36-floor building, had never been flown with humans aboard.  The NASA picture that accompanies this article, in fact, shows Wernher Von Braun, the man who designed the Saturn 5, utterly dwarfed by five engines so large that one could set up housekeeping in each of them.

(The other picture is astronaut Bill Anders' epochal “Earthrise”.) The Saturn 5’s unmanned test flights had been beset b8y several minor problems, and the Lunar Module, which was intended to land two astronauts on the Moon and return them to the command vehicle, was not yet ready for flight testing. But in August, 1968,  George Low, Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program office, came up with an ingenious idea: NASA could fly a manned Saturn 5 with only the Command module.  If the launch was successful, it could then proceed to orbit the Moon.

After some debate and a lot of tense moments, Apollo 8 launched on the winter solstice, December 21, 1968.  About two hours later, a simple message was radioed:  “Apollo 8:  You are go for TLI.”  After the trans-lunar injection, Apollo 8, with Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, was on its way to a Christmas eve rendezvous with the Moon, there was nothing left to do but travel and wait.

For me, by far the most memorable part was the astronauts’ Christmas eve message:

“We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.”  Then each astronaut read from the book of Genesis.  Our family was spellbound as we listended to these words.  But it was the ending that really turned the year 1968 from one of tragedy to one of promise and hope:

“And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas—and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”

von Braun and Saturn 5, owner David Levy