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The first half of the nineteenth century in Europe was a hotbed of social and economic upheaval culminating in the beginnings of the industrial revolution. It was also a period of extraordinary creativity and monumental change in the doll world. Over the course of this fifty-year time period the primary material for dolls heads changed from wood to papier-mache to porcelain and doll-making evolved from a cottage industry of killed artisans to a mechanized, factory ­based production model that could be operated by less skilled labor.

BY ROBYN KATZ. Photography by Stanley Kiyonaga unless otherwise noted

Effanbee Walk Talk Sleep
Fig. 18 - These three 3-5-inch ladies illustrate some of the differences in size, face painting style and hair modeling that can be found. Note their well-preserved condition and original clothing. Courtesy of Theriault's

Source: Winter 2015 • Doll News , Pages 46-57


Bubbles Effanbee Doll Co.
Fig. 1 -Typical jointed peg wooden bodies found on nineteenth century wooden dolls. Courtesy of Theriault's

The Industrial Revolution was focused on improving production methods through mechanization so that goods could be made more efficiently and les expensively. As a result of this process, the hand­carved wooden doll industry that had prevailed during the end of the eighteenth century and the first two decades of the nineteenth century was overtaken and exceeded by the papier-mache doll industry in the succeeding thirty years. Two of the primary advance made in papier-mache doll production during this time were the use of molds to produce doll heads and the tran ition from the traditional jointed wooden body (variation of which are found on most nineteenth century European wooden dolls) (Fig. I) to the "milliners model type" body with a stuffed kid torso and turned wooden arm (Fig. 2). These and other innovation allowed the growing papier-mache doll industry to mass produce cheaper, but highly detailed, dolls (Fig. 3). At the same time, the majority of wooden doll were becoming increasingly more simplified and stylized, a well a significantly smaller in size. to compete economically with the influx of their cheaper, mass-produced papier-mache rivals (Figs. 4-5).

Milliners model doll history
Fig. 2 - "Milliners model" type body with stuffed kid torso and turned wooden limbs, found on many nineteenth century papier-mache dolls. Courtesy of Theriault's

Peg doll history
Fig. 4 - Early nineteenth century grodner tal wooden with beautifully carved and painted head and body. Courtesy of Theriault's

Antique wooden peg jointed doll
Fig. 5 - Later nineteenth century wooden doll with greatly simplified and stylized carving and painting. Courtesy of Theriault's

Papier-mache doll history
Fig. 3 - Papier-mache dolls of the nineteenth century with a variety of hairstyles. Courtesy of Theriault's

What is an "Alien Head" Doll?

Within this same period, a mysterious group of dolls was produced that seems to exemplify the shifting dynamics of the doll industry during this time of dramatic and rapid change. These doils have peg-jointed wooden bodies, like their earlier peg wooden/tuck comb relatives, but with heads of material other than wood. Most often these heads are of papier­ mache or another composition material, but some are wax-coated or entirely of wax.

A term to describe this group of dolls -"alien head" - was coined by John Darcy Noble in the early 1960s. The first recorded use of the term that I have found was in the article "The Decline and Fall of the Wooden Doll" by Ruth and R.C. Mathes, published in the 1964 is ue of the Doll Collectors of America Manual. This article pictured and discussed a handful of examples of what were described as "very rare" doll .

Figs. 7-8 -The simple molding and painting of this 3½-inch gentleman's face and hair make him an example of the most commonly found type of alien head. Author's collection

Included in this group were dolls with

jointed wooden bodies and porcelain/china heads, but since the term "alien bead" is not generally applied to the e dolls today, they will not be covered in this article.

Although the term "alien head" is known to doll collectors, it is not widely used in the re earch literature. For example, there i no entry on 'alien head dolls" in the Coleman Encyclopedia. Present-day auction houses do not use the term either; they usually catalog these doils, sometime inaccurately, as wooden or papier-mache. In addition to the Mathes article, I have seen the term used in one book on miniature dolls. I also saw it for the first time about twenty years ago when it was used as an exclusionary criteria for the wooden and papier-mache categories at a UFDC doll competition. I remember reading the signs saying "No Alien Heads" and laughing while envisioning little dolls with green faces and antennae demanding "Take me to your leader."

Figs. 9-12 - These 4-inch alien head nuns have similar modeling and painting to the gentleman in Figs. 7 and 8. Courtesy of Carmel Doll Shop

The alien head dolls that I have seen vary significantly in appearance, but they have a number of characteristics in common. They are quite rare, most often small in size (3-to-8 inches), and date primarily from the 1820s through the 1850s, the height of papier-macbe doll production in Germany. The head of these doll are usually made of composition mixtures, and it is very difficult, if not imposible, to tell by inspection what the specific mix is for any particular doll.

Figs. 13-14 -This 3½-inch alien head lady's molded topknot makes her rarer. Author's collection

Early research literature uses the term "plaster" to describe these materials. More recently, these dolls are being classified as papier-mache, although it i not usually evident whether paper pulp was part of the material used in their production. Some of the doll head also have a thin coating of wax. Unlike the all-wooden doll whose head and torso are carved in one piece, the "alien" heads are attached to their wooden bodje with a wooden peg and the joining i covered with ge so and painted to match the head (Fig. 6).

Figs. 15-17-The detailed hair modeling, with visible comb marks and braiding, on this 5-inch all-original doll is a rarity factor. Private collection

A disproportionate number of the alien head dolls that have survived are in remarkably good condition de pite being delicate. One possible explanation i that these dolls were likely u ed in doilhou es, dioramas and displays rather than as children's playthings. This might also explain why, as with dollhouse dolls of other materials, a higher-than-usual percentage of the alien head doll are male.

There are a number of potential explanations for the genesis of alien head doll . It i certainly possible that doll makers of the time had a limited but ready supply of jointed wooden bodies, and simply used them until they ran out or were replaced by le costly alternative such as the "milliner type" bodies with kid torso and turned wooden limbs.

It is also conceivable that the various small artisan group and cottage industries making dolls during thi period were experimenting with different materials and construction method in an attempt to compete with larger companies beginning to use more standardized and mechanized means of production. In some cases, pictures and descriptions in catalogs of the period or compari on of unique painting tyle or other signature features support the attribution of doll to particular makers. However, the specific origin of most alien head doll remain a mystery.

In my ongoing quest for these intriguing dolls, I have come across approxjmately sixty example . I have managed to acquire qwte a few for my own collection, but have also located a number in the collections of friends and acquaintances who have generously allowed me to photograph their dolls for this article. By observation, I have identified three major subcategories of alien head dolls:

1. Dolls with molded hair

2. Dolls with molded bats

3. Dolls with applied wigs

Alien Head Dolls with Molded Hair

Figs. 19-21 - The rarity factors for this 7-inch alien head lady include her larger size, more finely characterized features, and highly detailed regional costume. Author's collection

Dolls with molded hair are the ones most traditionally associated with the term "alien head" and are the most frequently found type. The most common dolls in this category are tiny in size (3-5 inches) and have very simply molded and painted facial features and hair. Examples include the 3½-inch tall gentleman in his fanciful costume shown in Figs. 7 and 8 and the three 4-inch nuns shown in Fig . 9-12.

Less frequently found are lady dolls with more detailed and elaborate molded hairdos resembling those of the larger papier­macbe doll heads typically appearing on milliner model type bodies. The 3½-inch and 5-inch alien head ladies in Figs. 13-16 are of the usual very small size and have tbe common simple painting of facial features, but their molded bun and topknot make them somewhat rarer. Fig. 17 shows a grouping of three 3-5-inch alien head ladies, the smaller two of which are more simply molded and painted, and the largest of which has more visible modeling to her hairdo.

The most exclusive dolls in this category are even larger and more detailed, sometimes having beads that closely resemble the more commonly found papier-mache dolls without jointed wooden bodies. The 7-inch doll in Figs. 19-21 wears a highly detailed original folk costume from the Vierland region of northern Germany. She has molded hair;

the tiny real hair braids visible in Fig. 21 are affixed to her hat. For comparison, Fig. 22 pictures this doll alongside her similarly costumed 14-inch non-alien head "big sister." The larger doll bas been attributed to Lowenthal & Company, one of the few doll factories located in northern Germany. It is possible that her smaller, alien head relative was also produced there.

Top left. Fig. 22- The two "Vierlander sisters" side-by-side. Author's collection. Right. Figs. 23-24 - This 10-inch archangel has a female hairdo typically found on Kestner milliners model type dolls of the 1840s. Author's collection Bottom left. Figs. 25-26 -A rare 6-inch alien head with applied hemp hair extension, probably by Johann Friedrich Muller. Author's collection

The 10-inch doll in Figs. 23 and 24 is uncommonly large for an alien head doll. The female head has a typical 1840s hairstyle with a high bun and "spaniel ear" braided side curls, but the doll is unusually dressed as a warrior archangel with leather armor and metal wings and shield. Papier-mache heads with similar hairstyles can frequently be found on milliners model type bodies on dolls from this same period produced by Johann Daniel Kestner's factory.

Illustrations from Kestner catalogs show that the factory made dolls with papier-mache heads and jointed wooden bodies, so this doll is possibly one of theirs.

The final and rarest example in this group is a 6-inch doll with an uncommon hair extension of braided and lacquered hemp applied to her molded hairdo (Figs. 25-26). She has very finely painted facial features and unusual brown hair, closely resembling dolls from

the of Johann Friedrich Muller where she was likely produced.

Kestner doll catalog
Figs. 27-29 - Kestner catalog pages documenting production of dolls with jointed wooden bodies, and doll heads with molded hats. By kind permission of Thomas Reinecke, Schlossmuseum Tenneberg (Castle Museum) in Waltershausenffhur, and Christianne Grafnitz/Germany

Alien Head Dolls with Molded Hats

A much rarer group of alien head dolls are found with molded hats, and a disproportionate number of these dolls are male. Among these dolls are a few that are molded painted and costumed to represent men from foreign lands in exotic headwear such as turbans and fezzes.

Pages from the catalogs of the Kestner factory show hatted male doll with papier-mache head on jointed wooden bodies (Fig. 29), and doll heads with both German regional and foreign headwear (Figs. 27-28), so the hatted alien head doUs are often attributed to Kestner. However, sample catalogs from other papier­mache doll manufacturers also contain illustrations of hatted men on jointed wooden bodies (Fig. 30), so it seems likely that Kestner did not maintain a monopoly on these dolls.

The two dolls in Figs. 31-34 are both 7-inche tall and all-original. They have very imilar facial feature , although one is dressed in the European fa hion with a molded top hat and one is dressed in Arabian garb with a molded turban. The two dolls in Fig . 35-38 are somewhat maller at 5-inches but have the same finely detailed modeling and painting found on the two larger dolls. The rare tiny boy with molded cap in Fig . 39-40 is only 3½-inches tall and is the only example of an alien head child that I have seen.

Fig. 30 - Sample catalog page of an unnamed papier-mache manufacturer showing hatted male dolls on jointed wooden bodies. By kind permission of Thomas Reinecke, Schlossmuseum Tenneberg (Castle Museum) in Waltershausenffhur, and Christianne Grafnitz/Germany

The 6-inch doll in Fig . 41-43 is also very rare, a she is the only female example with a molded hat that I have found. In addition to her hat, she has highly detailed molded and painted braid and earrings.

Alien Head Dolls with Applied Wigs

Figs. 31-34 - This pair of 7-inch men with molded hats have very similar painted features, although they are costumed quite differently. Author's collection

Perhaps the most unusual and mysterious alien head dolls are those found with applied wigs. All of the dolls I have seen of thi type are female and have a wax coating of varying thickness applied over their papier-mache heads and shoulders. The wigs are of very fine human hair, styled with tiny braids and loops and often decorated with silk ribbons.

The Mathe article in which alien bead dolls were first cataloged refers to wigged alien head doll as "bald-beads" and states that the few such dolls they have seen have painted ribbon laces spiraling up their legs to a bow tied below the knee. The 6-inch lady in Figs. 44-47 is one such doll. While I have seen everal other examples of imilar dolls with the same painted footwear de cribed in the Mathes article and shown in Fig. 47, they are not the only wigged alien heads in existence. For example, the lovely doll in Fig. 48 is of a comparable size and appearance to the preceding doll, but wears painted red boots with tiny blue laces, without the crisscrossed ribbons and bows.

Another group of wigged dolls (Figs. 49-54) not only lacks the painted footwear details described by the Matheses, but differs very significantly from the prototypical alien bead in size, appearance and construction features.

Figs. 35-38 - Two 5-inch alien head gentlemen with molded hats representing the contemporary fashion of their period. Author's collection. On the left Figs. 39-40 - Rare alien head child with a molded cap. Private collection

Unlike the mostly dollhouse-size alien heads typically found, these dolls are ll-to-13-incbes in height. The wax coating on their head and shoulders is noticeably thicker than that of the smalJer wigged alien head dolls pictured in Figs. 44-48. Two of the four dolls have eyes that open and close with a wtre lever, clearly a feature of a play doll rather than a doll made primarily for display. All four dolls likely date from the later stages of the 1820-50 era of alien head production, and the many similarities between them would seem to support a common manufacturer.

Top. Figs. 41-43 - Rare alien head lady with a molded hat, braids and earrings. Author's collection. Bottom. Figs. 44-47 - The detail of this 6-inch doll's all-original plaid silk outfit and elaborate coiffure is remarkable on such a diminutive figure. Author's collection

The alien head doll disappears from the scene some time in the 1850s, as the industrial revolution is fully underway and porcelain dolls come to prominence. Wonderful examples of these rare survivors are still out there to be found and further research needs to be done on their origins.

Fig. 48 - Note the difference between the painted footwear on this 5¼-inch wigged alien head lady and the doll shown in Fig. 47. Private collection. Figs. 49-50 - These two 13-inch ladies with wire-lever eyes wear lovely period dresses, like the three other examples I have seen. Author's collection and private collection

There is an interesting book titled "Made to Play House" by Miriam Formanek-Brunell that discusses the commercialization of the toy industry from 1830-1930. It is a study of the sociological influences on the manufacture of dolls, rather than just the history of doll making. ln one chapter, titled Masculinity, Technology and the Doll Economy, the author discusses men's admiration of machines and how they brought that interest to the manufacturing of dolls.


Princess Elizabeth Doll history

Source: March 2016 • Antique Doll Collector, Pages 46-51


The chapter discusses the differences between dolls that were designed by men and those designed by women during the early part of the twentieth century. The author points out that when a woman was the designer, the doll was usually soft and cuddly, had the feel of a baby in one's arms and needed only childhood imagination to make it come alive during play. Indeed, there was no need for any type of automation in the babies designed by Martha Chase, Ella Smith, Julia Jones Beecher and Jessie McCutcheon Raleigh.

However we cannot leave John Barton Gruelle off this list of cuddly dolls. He gave his daughter, Marcella, a dusty, faceless rag doll which was found in an attic. He drew a face on the doll and named her Raggedy Ann. Marcella played with the doll so much, Gruelle wanted other children to have one too. Sadly Marcella died at age 13, but Johnny's Raggedy Ann became a major source of revenue for the Volland Company, who produced his doll.

Little boys grew up playing with toys like trucks, planes, balls, and rocking horses that all had motion involved in the play activity. As men, involved in the manufachtre of dolls, it seems, they preferred to make dolls that had some life-like animation to enhance the play value! I cannot find fault with that. 1n my opinion this has to do with the basic differences between men and women.

Ideal mechanical composition doll
Composition Ideal baby with sleep, flirty eyes. Courtesy Theriault's.

On one hand you have the gatherers and nurturers. Women have diverse awareness and can focus on multiple tasks at once, easily moving between cooking, cleaning, and tending to children. They are more connected to their emotions and easily dream and pretend. Men have the hunter-warrior instincts and are more single-focused. They are inclined to be producers and protectors. For them action and reality are favored over emotion. ot surprisingly the "doll like" playthings for the boys of today are called "action figures". So it is understandable that men were interested in adding mechanics to dolls to give them more life-like attributes for play! There is no right or wrong here, just the wonderful differences in the approach to manufacturing toys for children. There is, of course, a need for both of these aspects in our doll world.

The dolls I chose for this article will showcase the mechanical influence on the doll world. They all do something that adds to the realism of play: sleep, walk, cry, drink, wet, flirt, crawl, talk, dance, sing and whistle.

The eye mechanism is an early addition to doll mechanics. The eyes can make the subject sleep, flirt and even wink. This is most often accomplished by the use of a lead weight on a metal crossbar. The eyes move on a pivot as the doll is moved from an upright to a supine position. Flirty eyes have an additional side to side motion.

Another of the inost common mechanical additions to dolls is the ability to emit sound. This ranges from the simple diaphragm voice boxes in mama dolls, to pull string mama and papa vocals, to the rare Edison's phonograph doll and the Webber singing doll, which were marvels of their time.

Thomas Edison's Talking Doll of 1890 set an early milestone in the history and technology of recorded sound.

It was the world's first recorded-audio product designed, manufactured, and sold for home entertainment. It had a rough start, however. The talking doll venture was a costly failure for Edison and his investors, who ceased sales after only a few months on the market. Production began in February 1890 and ceased in early May 1890.


While developing his original tinfoil phonograph, Thomas Edison wrote, "I propose to apply the phonograph principle to make dolls speak, sing, cry and make various sounds." Mounting complaints about breakage during shipment, performance defects, and returned dolls forced the decision to halt production after only three months. Needless to say this is an extremely rare doll.

Averill mama-type composition doll
Dolly Reckard by Averill was a mama-type doll with the records placed inside the cloth body. Courtesy The Strong, National Museum of Play

The Webber singing doll, patented circa 1882, had a bellows mechanism in torso which operated by pushing an exterior wooden button, causing the doll to "sing". The mechanism was fashioned after a reed organ. The doll's shoulder-head was made of composition attached to a stuffed cloth body which held the mechanism.

Goodwin's Mechanical Walking Doll
Goodwin's Walking Doll uses a clockwork motor under the doll carriage to drive the wheels and make it appear as if the doll is walking. This rare doll was sold by

In 1922, the Averill Manufacturing Co. issued a talking doll, using the same kind of mechanism already in use by the K & K Toy Company. Their doll was called Dolly Reckord and another similar doll called Mae Starr was issued by Effanbee. These mama-type dolls had celluloid covered cardboard cylindrical records placed inside the doll's cloth body. These records were timed to play only on machines licensed by the Universal Talking Toys Company of Newark N.J., who manufactured the records.

In the back of both Mae Starr and Dolly Reckord is a lever that engages the needle oi the player on to the celluloid cylinder. The speaker faced the front of the doll and on the side there was a "key" to wind the phonograph mechanism.

The Madame Hendren Dolly Reckord dolls were not sold in stores according to the authors of "Phonograph Dolls that Talk and Sing" but were awarded as premiums for various sales of products or for subscribing to newspapers or magazines.

Ives Crawling Baby doll
Ives Crawling Baby has an internal clockwork mechanism which allows a realistic crawling motion. Courtesy Bertoia Auctions.

Hearing these dolls speak is definitely a fun experience. Depending on the tightness of the wound spring she speaks fast and in a high squeaky voice that gets lower and slower as it continues to unwind. There were 20 different nursery rhymes/prayer recitations/songs on the cylinders available for these dolls and although they are slightly different in appearance they are interchangeable between the Mae and Dolly dolls.

Interestingly there is an. audio file on the Internet of an Edison doll's voice from a restored wax record, and, to me, it sounds exactly like the voice on the records played on the Mae and Dolly dolls!

Goodwin's Patent Walking Doll, Circa 1870, is an early American toy, manufactured by Stevens & Brown of Cromwell, Connecticut. She measures approximately 12" from the front of the front wheel to the back of the doll, 10 1/2" tall, and about 5 1/2" wide. The doll is connected to the carriage via two metal tu bes in her body that receive the carriage's handle. It works using a clockwork motor under the carriage to drive the cast iron wheels. This causes the doll to "walk" but she is actually being pulled along by the carriage. The doll has a composite pressed linen molded head manufactured by Weigand with molded composition arms. Her hands fit over the handles of the carriage so that she can hold on to it.

mechanical Carnivals doll
Carnivals dolls that wet themselves when the legs are lifted. Inset: Metal plumbing system releases water when the doll's leg is lifted.

Edward Ives, the founder of Ives Manufacturing Company, was a descendent of the Plymouth Colony governor William Bradford. They began by making paper dolls whose limbs moved in response to hot air. Their clockwork toys covered a wide range and included toy trains. The company was taken over by Lionel during the depression, but the name Ives remained until 1931. Ives made this crawling baby, c. 1880. She is 12 inches in length, with a composition head and a cloth body that encloses the mechanism. She has a realistic crawling motion.

Measuring 28 inches these carnival-type composition dolls have the an innovative metal plumbing system that allows for a wetting featme. The boy has one of the usual faces found on carnival dolls, the other has a rarer baby face.

The mechanism in the lower body consists of a metal reservoir and a spout that opens when the dolls leg is lifted. (I know you are laughing right about now.) The top of the water is unscrewed and filled with water. When the doll's legs are both down the system closes off the outlet. There is a patent number visible on one of the container's screw caps. I was amazed when I looked through the patent library and saw how many doll inventions have been patented. Doll manufacture was a lucrative business and companies and individuals wanted to protect their ideas and inventions.

Mechanical doll
What would they think of next! Her eyes light up via a battery.

Composition dolls and water do not mix well, so wetting dolls are uncommon in this medium. This innovative mechanism allows the water to be contained within a metal cylinder and a wooden box The doll would however wet whatever it was standing or sitting over when the valve was open. I expect that many moms added cloth diapers and rubber pants to their child's doll wardrobe.

mechanical wax doll
A rare mechanical wax over paper mache baby opens her mouth to receive a bottle. Courtesy Mary White.

One of my favorite carnival dolls is this 1920's sweet girl with her deeply molded hair and blue ribbon with side box. She is a coquette-type and great big 29 inches tall. She has light up eye balls that still work! She is in very good condition and possibly may have been too scary when lit up for a child to play with. She may even have been a store display rather than a prize won at a local fair. Coquette has a flange head on a cloth body stuffed with straw and has composition hands. She has a pleasing and pretty expression when

unlit. Her wires extend out from under her neck and through the cloth and operate by battery. She is marked Electra on her neck-which surely fits her!

This wonderful and rare mechanical wax over papier mache baby doll with bottle and original dress is appearing courtesy of Mary White.

She has blue glass eyes, hand painted baby-like hair and wears her original sateen and lace dress. She has a mechanism in the body to open and close her mouth when her body is pushed. A white blown glass bottle that fits in her mouth is held around her neck with a red ribbon. She is about 13-1 /2" tall with composition lower legs and arms and a gauze like body. When her mouth opens you can actually see the doll's tongue painted on the inside.

Ready to tee off. A button on the left side causes their arms to swing.

A pair of all original twins are each 14 inches tall with metal golf clubs attached at their hands by metal rods that travel through the arms and into the body. There is a metal push button on the left side that make the arms swing as if putting a golf ball. These guys are charming with their painted side glancing eyes and short legged pants and winsome smiles. The manufacturer is unknown, but they are very rare dolls.

A little 12-inch doll with a composition head and arms and her original wig and clothing has a wind-up mechanism that allows her to rock her baby doll side to side. She has metal shaped high heeled boots attached to solid wood legs, and a composition body with wire upper arms and metal hands .. This little Mommy has painted eyes and a rose bud closed mouth. The baby is all composition and measures under 1.5 inches.

Wind-up walking dolls are numerous including ramp walkers, skaters, and those that had leg mechanisms that allowed a waking-like action. Walking being a very human activity, it makes sense that this was one thing that dolls could do well.

mechanical antique doll
A 12-inch doll can rock her baby side to side.

This cute baby has the usual large metal shoes that give stability as the mechanism propels him forward on a flat surface. His legs and body are all metal, only his lower arms and shoulder head are composition. Composition wind up walkers are still plentiful for collectors searching to add one.

A simple movement that surprises and delights young children is the jack-in­the box. This is a very early toy, possibly be 1860s or 1870s. Most toys of this age do not have arms, but this guy has them along with expressive hand sculpts.

He measures almost 11" tall and is all original and very colorful; he even has his original hair! The lid is missing so he can stay out of his box for our enjoyment!

There are several versions of whistlers that were made in composition. This little soldier still whistles by bouncing him on the hand to compress the springs in his legs and force air through his tummy. The air is pushed out with a whistle sound.

composition mechanical walker doll
Composition walkers are plentiful on the market.

These whistlers come with both open and closed mouths and can be easily dressed and undressed. Examples of similar dolls came with a harmonica and appear to play the instrument when the springs are bounced.

One thing I have observed is that the whistlers are all boys - at least those that I have seen. Perhaps boys whistle more than girls, or maybe th.ey just whistle at girls. Just wondering, why they are all boys?

antique mechanical toy
An early toy, this jack-in-the box never fails to amuse children. Courtesy of Craig Rosborough.

mechanical composition doll
Dolls that whistle or play a harmonica seem to always be boys.

composition crawls doll
By manipulating the doll forward the doll crawls. Unfortunately she is limited to a crawling position.

Crawling is another childhood activity and there are dolls that wind up and crawl and those that need manual intervention to accomplish the feat! Shown here is crawling baby with a character face similar to Louis Amberg dolls. Her body is in a permanent crawl position, so that is pretty much all she can do. As you manipulate her forward the left leg and right arm move together and visa-versa. More than any other doll in this article she illustrates the fact

that occasionally the final product is not as play-worthy as it originally sounded to the designer.

Composition mechanical doll
Swing and swap doll, a precursor to the bobble­head doll.

This doll would have been very hard to dress and undress for a child, and clothing choices would easily interfere with the mechanics of crawling. However, she is a fun and

unusual doll for collectors to enjoy.

Composition mechanical toy
Circa 1920 pull toy.

An example of a pendulum toy is this 12" Bobbi­Mae swing & sway doll, manufactured by the Wondercraft Company of NY. She was inspired by the Sammy Kaye Orchestra whose tag line, was "Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye," one of the most famous orchestras of the Big Band Era. This type of doll is the precursor to today's bobble-head dolls.

Here is a sweet little girl (circa 1920) pull toy, attached to the vehicle at her hands and lower torso. She has cork stuffed legs and arms and moves back and forth as the cart moves forward. Her cloth hands were folded and attached

are replaced, but her original tattered clothing is wood plugs in her head are for tying on her hair ribbons. She was surely a loved play thing judging be her condition. Her hair ties and shoes are replaced, but her original tattered clothing is still under her replaced vintage dress. Her cloth body is in fragile condition.

Snookums, a comic character from The Newlyweds newspaper comic strip is made of composition and mounted on a wooden base. Wires extend from her hands and there is an

.lttached toy top that spins on a rope. The doll is stationary.

What little girl doesn't someday wish that she could be a princess? Imagine twirling around in an ornate ball gown while descending from the velvet seats of a royal horse-drawn carriage! Certainly every girl dreams of wearing a bejeweled tiara resting carefully upon her head! Perhap it is for thi reason we are so taken with the lives of royalty. For doll collectors, it is our fascination with Great Britain' Queen Elizabeth II and the dolls that were made in Her Majesty's likeness.

From childhood to marriage and from motherhood to coronation, Queen Elizabeth Il has had the milestones of her life preserved in dolls. This year, Her Majesty proudly celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, marking her 60th year of reign, the longest reign of a British monarch second to Queen Victoria's reign of 63 years. In celebration of this jubilee, let us examine the history of Her Majesty's life from Princess to Queen through her dolls.


Princess Elizabeth Doll history
Left: Circa 1930 Postcard of Princess Elizabeth as a young child. Right: 18" SFBJ portrait models of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. Photo courtesy of Theriault's Antique Doll Auctions.

Source: Summer 2012 • Doll News, Pages 58-77



Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of York was born in 1926 in London. She was the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York who would later become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1936. (Queen Elizabeth wa later referred to as "Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother" to eliminate confusion with her daughter Prince Elizabeth who wa to become Queen Elizabeth II, tbe subject of thi article). A darling young child with a radiant smile, Princess Elizabeth quickly captivated people's hearts. The public began to yearn for news, pictures, and memorabilia and very soon, o did the doll market. One

of the first firms to create a doll in the likenes of Princes Elizabeth was the German firm, Schoenau and Hoffmeister in 1929. According to the Coleman's Collector s Encyclopedia of DolJs, this doll was con idered a portrait doll depicting Elizabeth as a three-year-old child. The dolls range from 14" to 24".

Princess Elizabeth Doll
1939 First Day Cover depicting Princess Elizabeth's parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.



Shirley Temple doll
A charming 23" Schoenau and Hoffmeister Princess Elizabeth doll in original clothing circa 1931. Photo courtesy of Theriault's Antique Doll Auctions.

They have a charming character bisque head with sleep eye and an open mouth that is smiling. The head is marked, 'Porzellanfabrik Burggrub Princess Elizabeth Made in Germany D.R.G.M." They have a five-piece ball-jointed composition toddler body with chubby legs. Original dresses on these dolls are often made of organdy a thls example in her lovely original yellow organdy ruffled dress! The charming birthday postcard that accompanied this particular example also depicts the doll in her original organdy dress.

It wasn't long before British doll companies saw the effect of Prince Elizabeth's charm on the public and realized the demand for Elizabeth dolls. In 1930, Chad Valley introduced their 4-year-old version of Princess Elizabeth. According to the Colemans, by 1938, Chad Valley had obtained the "Royal Warrant of Appointment'' as "Toymakers to Her Majesty the Queen," a phrase often found on Chad Valley tags. This very desirable 18" Chad Valley Princess Elizabeth has blue glass eyes, a pressed felt face with hand painted facial features, and a mohair wig. The neck, shoulders, and thigh are jointed. The body i made of velveteen. Princess Elizabeth wears a blue felt coat and bat, although there have been examples of Chad Valley Elizabeth dolls wearing other colors as well. These dolls were immen ely successful for Chad Valley and remain the most mass-produced

royalty doll by this company.

princess Elizabeth doll
1930s birthday postcard of a little girl holding a Schoenau and Hoffmeister doll. Photo courtesy of Theriault's Antique Doll Auctions.

queen princess Elizabeth doll
Chad Valley 18" Princess Elizabeth doll, circa 1930s. Photo courtesy of Joan and Lynette Antique Dolls.

Another British company to create and market Princes Elizabeth dolls wa Dean's Rag Book Co. In 1935, they introduced a doll marketed as "Lilibet" (al o seen spelled "Lilibet"). In the Story of Princess Elizabeth (1930 John Murray Publishers, London, p. 53), one of the former household employees Anne Ring explain that as a young child, Elizabeth coined her own nickname when she called her mother, 'Mummy, Mummy, come to Lilliebeth!" The hard-to-find Dean's Rag Lilibet doll stands 15" tall. She is made of cloth with an oil-painted face and blue eyes. She has a green felt outfit that includes her matching hat, coat, and shoes. She has a bJonde mohair wig. Her cloth tag ewn on her foot says, "Made in England by Dean's Rag Book Co Ltd London."

felt antique princess Elizabeth doll
15" Dean's Rag Book Co. "Lilibet" doll, circa 1935.

It wasn't long before the deep affection for the beloved Princess Elizabeth was felt in the United State. One of the first American companies to sell "Princess Elizabeth" dolls was Madame Alexander. The first Elizabeth dolls marketed by Madame Alexander were in 1935. The early dolls were made of composition and most of them are found in 12- 13" size . They had the so-called "Betty" face. They bad human hair wig. and early ver ions had tin sleep eyes (later version had glassine eyes.)

Although most of the early dolls were of the 13" size, very rare examples exist of smaller Madame Alexander composition Princes Elizabeth dolls. This very elusive example of the smaller 8-inch compo itioo Princes Elizabeth doll is unusual in that Madame Alexander used a wigged version of the Dionne Quintuplet head for this doll. She ha painted eye rather than the usual glassine or tin. She is all original in her taffeta gown and silver shoes. She wear a lovely wreath of flowers around her head. It is also believed there may be a 7" Tiny Betty doll in existence as references to this doll have been found in the literature.

Coronation of King George VI, Elizabeth's Father

princess Elizabeth doll
Rare 8" Madame Alexander Princess Elizabeth doll using Dionne Quintuplets head.

In 1936, the father of Prince e Elizabeth and her si ter Margaret, the Duke of York, became King George VI when Princess Elizabeth was 10 years old. Several months later in 1937, the Princes es celebrated one of the most significant event in their live - the coronation of their father as King.

British coronation doll began to be created, with both Pri.ncesses donned in lovely coronation gowns and robe . One of the leading companie to make these

dolls was Liberty of London, (originally a fine fabric and an oriental import firm) founded in 1875 by Arthur Lazenby Liberty. This 1941 Kimport Doll

advertisement depicts the series of 1937 Liberty of London coronation dolls. Th6

dolls were each handmade of beige linen cloth and typically 9" tall. The 10-year

old children Prince Elizabeth and Prince Margaret were depicted in a 6" tall version. The dolls had needle-sculpted faces with hand prunted facial features.

felt doll princess Elizabeth history
15" 1936 Alpha Farnell King George VI. Photo courtesy of Georgia Valdez.

The hands were either made of stitched cloth, felt, or leather. They had a wire armature o that the doll could be posed. Because Lazenby Liberty was known for his fine fabrics, the clothing on the dolls was of high quality, including fine silk , velvet trains, pearl and embroidery accent , and even ermine trims! Finding these complete sets in good condition is very rare. The

sets generally include the children Princess Elizabeth and Margaret, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth , Queen Mary (the grandmother of Princess Elizabeth), and other ceremonial figure such as Lord Chancellor, Chief Justice, Lord John and Lady Alice, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Speaker of the House.

Princes dolls made for King George VI' coronation were a sensation for doll companies, they were even found in the form of paper doll ! In 1939 Saal field Publishing Co produced a paper doll set called, "The Princess Paper Doll Book" in commemoration of their father's coronation. The paper dolls were made with vibrant colors and exquisite detail! Just as the Liberty of London doll bad captured the regality of princesses perfectly in their coronation gown , so did the Saalfield paper dolls. Among the darling clothe that can,e with the paper doll set included play dresses, dress coat, and riding habits. Also included in the paper doll set was a darling party dress with floral headband, flowers at the waistline, and white gloves. The 1937 postcard shows Princess Elizabeth dressed in the same dress for her father's coronation party. This dress wa also used on many different Prince s Elizabeth dolls of this era.

1941 Kimport Advertisement for Liberty of London Coronation Set.

As children begged their mommies and daddies for coronation dolls, other plaything emerged such as this toddler coronation costume. It has lovely detail with pearl decoration down the sides and gold tassels at the shoulder. The dress has a purple felt robe with faux trim. Oh, how very regal to be a child and dre up like Princess Elizabeth!

coronation doll princess Elizabeth history
1936 Liberty of London King George VI Coronation Set depicting Princess Elizabeth as a child. Photo courtesy of Morphy Auctions.

Princess Elizabeth
1937 postcard of HRH Princess Elizabeth in the same party dress as seen in the Saalfield paper dolls.

Soon after Germany and England created their version of Princess Elizabeth dolls, France followed suit. In 1938, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were to visit Paris, but it was deemed that Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were too young to travel. A a gift from the "children of France", the French company S.F.B.J. created two bisque head dolls called France and Marianne with extensive wardrobes a gift for the Princesses back home in London. The dolls stood nearly 40 inches tall and had a trousseau of over 350 pieces, including clothing made by Luis Vuitton and jewelry made by the famous Cartier jewelry company! They were marked' JUMEAU PARIS PRINCESS" (the S.F.B.J. and Jumeau companies had merged by this time.) The dolls France and Marianne toured the world as a way to rai e money for charities.

princess Elizabeth paper doll
1939 Saalfield Publishing Co. "The Princess Paper Doll Book" showing the exquisite outfits worn by the Princesses at their father's coronation. "Coronation robes and coronets."

The original France and Marianne SFJB dolls are still on display today at Windsor Castle. These dolls became so well-known by the public that S .F.B .J. made smaller variations for the commercial market.

rare SFBJ princess Elizabeth doll
18" SFBJ portrait models of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. Photo courtesy of Theriault's Antique Doll Auctions.

Dolls such as these 18" versions are considered portrait models of the Prince ses. This particular pair has bisque heads, side­glancing blue eyes, and a closed mouth. They are marked "UNIS FRANCE 149 306 JUMEAU 1938 PARIS" (UNIS was a mark used by SFBJ during this time period.) They had a five-piece jointed composition body. They are all-original in their taffeta gowns and faux pearl necklaces. Elizabeth is the doll in blue· Margaret is the doll in pink. These doll are considered rare, especially in their original clothes such as these.

Madame Alexander Princess Elizabeth doll
Circa 1937 Madame Alexander "Princess Elizabeth" face doll.

Not to be outdone by the other doll companies in 1937. Madame Alexander created the "Princess Elizabeth' face to coincide with the coronation of her father as king. These composition dolls ranged in size fom 13-28''. They are seen with both human hair and mohair wigs. The Princess Elizabeth face came with open and closed mouth variation , the

open mouth being the most commonly seen. The Princess Elizabeth face was made until 1946. As with many of the doll companies, Madame Alexander made Princess Elizabeth in

a variety of party dresses, play dre ses, gowns, and even an Equestrian riding habit! Most of these costumes were de igned from actual outfits worn by Princess Elizabeth herself.

It hould be noted that the New York-based An-a.nbee Doll Company also fabricated composition princess doJls during the 1930s. Arranbee marketed these dolls as "Princess Nancy" most likely to avoid any issues with competitor uch as Madame Alexander as well as any issues with the royal family. Some Princess Nancy dolls have a face and clothing that very closely resembles Madame Alexander's Princess Elizabeth dolls.

Marriage and Motherhood

As Princess Elizabeth blossomed into a radiant young adult, it wasn't surprising for her to ultimately become a bride. In 1947. Princes Elizabeth married Prince Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh. The wedding wa broadcast on the radio worldwide to millions of people. The wedding was such a sen ation that it wasn't long before doll companies began to sell Prince s Elizabeth dolls in royal wedding gowns. Madame Alexander, for example, produced an exquisite example of a l 4" hard plastic bride to commemorate the wedding of the Princess using the so-called "Margaret" face. As described by the well-known collector, Lia Sargent, this "Princess Elizabeth ... know she is a celebrity and has ru1 air of self-confidence in her expression ... In her magnificent all satin gown styled with leg o' mutton sleeves, prince s seams and edged all over with delicate sating looped braid, she is ready for all the world to watch as she walk down the aisle.

Madame Alexander Princess Elizabeth doll
Madame Alexander Princess Elizabeth doll in equestrian outfit.

A cathedral length veil and flourishes of lilies of the valley add elegance." What sets this doll apart from other Madame Alexander brides is that she is specifically tagged, "Princess Elizabeth." According to Ms. Sargent, this "preserves the historical importance of the doll." Madame Alexander also made several composition Princes Elizabeth dolls using the "Wendy" face. There was even a version of the Princess Elizabeth Wendy bride in a wonderful boxed wedding trou eau with several outfits! These boxed doll are quite hard to find.

Other prominent doll artists made exceptional examples of Elizabeth on her wedding day. Perhaps the most exquisite rendition of Princess Elizabeth in her wedding gown is this very rare l948 one-of-a-kind 15" portrait cloth needle­sculpted doll by the American-born NIADA artist, Dorothy Wendell Heizer. Heizer is often credited a being one of the most gifted doll artist of our time and her dolls are often said to be true works of art. With a background training in sculpting, painting, and sewing, Dorothy Heizer had quite an exceptional talent at creating very realistic portrait dolls of many different historical figures.

Madame Alexander Princess Elizabeth doll
18" Madame Alexander hard plastic bride marked ­"Princess Elizabeth". Photo of Lia Sargent.

She was often commissioned by celebrities and the wealthy to create specific dolls. Her doll have a cloth tag sewn inside the clothing that bears the signature, "Dorothy Wendell Heizer." Dorothy Heizer was known for her craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Her Princess Elizabeth bride doll has a wire armature body covered in silk crepe and is wearing a copy of Princess Elizabeth's wedding dress. The jewelry and tiara the doll wear are exact replica of those worn by Pru1cess Elizabeth on her wedding day. According to Theriault's, Dorothy Heizer considered this doll to be one of ber best pieces of work.

The year after her wedding, in 1948, Princess Elizabeth and Philip gave binh to a bouncing baby boy, Prince Charles Philip Artbur George. The birth of Princess Elizabeth's first child was certainly not overlooked by the doll companie of the era. This 14" doll made by the Arranbee Doll Company depicts a hard plastic Prince s Elizabeth holding a bi que baby Prince Charles

in his christening gown.

Princess Elizabeth with Baby Prince Charles
1948 postcard of Princess Elizabeth with Baby Prince Charles.

The fabric of Princess Elizabeth' dress and baby Prince Charles' gown are color variations of the ame material. Prince Charle was considered a darling infant and in many 1948 British radio broadcast , Prince Charle wa referred to a "the world' most famous baby." After all, he was now second to the throne after his mother.

In just a few short years, that was soon about to change a "Prince Elizabeth" was not to remain "Princess" for very much longer.

Coronation of Elizabeth

Arranbee plastic Princess Elizabeth doll
14" Arranbee hard plastic Princess Elizabeth holding bisque baby Prince Charles.

Ever ince Elizabeth was ten years old, this prince s, wife, and mother always knew she wa heir to the throne. But when her father, King George VI, died unexpectedly in 1952, Princes Elizabeth did not expect he would so quickly become Queen at the young age of 25. The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 was one of tbe biggest event in British history. This was the first coronation event televised, broadca tin forty-four languages! Three million people crowded the streets of London to see her carriage go by. There were street partie anc fireworks! And, of course, a wealth of coronation souvenirs! From plate to coloring books to buttons to toys to dolls, the souvenirs abounded!

1953 Coronation postcard of Queen Elizabeth II.

Coronation dolls once again became the populai theme for companies. Madame Alexander gave the Elizabeth dolls a refreshed look by marketing an 18" hard plastic "Margaret" face coronation doll in 1950 and 1954. This doll was part of a series referred to as the 'Beaux Arts Creations." This example is a 1954 version of the Margaret face Queen. The dolI was decorated with a rhinestone crown, fancy pearl accents, matching earrings, the royal blue Order of the Garter sash, a lovely taffeta gown, and an elegant small cape with white faux fur.

In 1954, Madame Alexander introduced an 8-inch Alexander-kins Queen Elizabeth II doll for the "Me and My Shadow Series." She i a hard plastic straight leg walker doll. She wear her ivory brocade gown with burgundy velvet cape. The faux jewels on her blue ribbon sash match those of her crown. In 1992, a variation of this 8-inch coronation doll was reintroduced to celebrate the 40th anniver ary of Her Majesty's reign.