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The treasured Friedericy Dolls with their hand sculpted faces and their intricate costume designs have captivated collectors for over twenty years worldwide.


Alexandra Koukinova Russian doll
Friedericy Dolls. Reading to friends

Source: Fall 2012 • Doll News , Pages 102-109


A mother-daughter team, Judith Friedericy and her daughter Lucia, have enjoyed the rare privilege of working together to create these magnificent, one-of-a-kind sculptures. But sadly, some may not realize their successful partnership merged, not by choice, but from the untimely death of their beloved son and brother, John.

Friedericy Dolls

Pronounced Free-der-ee-see, the family loved art. Lucia describes growing up with her older brother, John, and her younger sister, Bonnie, as "just three kids who liked to make stuff." Their mother, Judith, always encouraged art because she was also an artist. Lucia explained that as children they did not care about regular toys, but preferred arts and crafts so they could, "think up things to make." "We were a kit-making family, that's how we played," Lucia remembers fondly. And in retrospect, Lucia and Judith feel they have never known another family quite like their own.

The children called themselves the "Friedericy Family Puppeteers."

John, Lucia and Bonnie often attended summer art classes at their local community center. "One of us would learn a new skill, then come home and teach it to the rest of us," recalls Lucia. Their artistic talents stood out and they soon began assisting teachers and helping other students with their projects. It was there Lucia's brother John met marionette maker, Jim Gamble. Gamble taught John all aspects of puppet making including how to cast resin. The children took off with the idea and made over twenty-five marionette characters using resin, cloth and papier­mache. They soon began putting on puppet shows, writing plays ,if and entertaining their friends and family. "My Dad built us a large marionette theater in the garage and the art center would bring over the little kids to see our shows," recalls Lucia. One of their favorite shows was Punch and Judy.

Friedericy Dolls
Alice and friends

Even at an early age, Lucia wanted to make dolls. "I always dreamed of making a doll in a three dimensional form but could not figure it out," she said. When she was six, Judith ,gave Lucia old sheets to make into rag dolls. She cut them into gingerbread shapes, stuffed them and made clothing for them. Lucia also made colorful hand-blown eggs. She doesn't remember how the idea came to her, but one day she decided to put an egg on top of her rag doll and called them "eggshell dolls." They were very popular and Lucia sold them at the local art fair and gift shop. To add to her artistic talent, Lucia's grandmother taught her how to sew, embroider and appreciate fabrics. These skills laid the foundation for her future endeavors into fashion design and costuming.

Friedericy Dolls
Alice's croquet game

Love for art and theater remained with the Friedericy children into adulthood. John lived in San Francisco and became a prominent sculptor and painter. Lucia became a costume designer and Bonnie was an actress. Lucia worked as head costume designer at Bonnie's school, Occidental College, for ten years. It was there she met her husband, Patrick O'Conner, while free-lancing in the summer repertoire theater. "Patrick was an older alumnus who came back during the summers to help," Friedericy explains. The couple had two children, Nicholas and Patrick, Jr. Shortly after giving birth to her second son, Patrick, who was premature, Lucia tried to think of a way to stay at home, care for her children and still make a good living.

Friedericy Dolls
Reading in the frame

She remembered her eggshell dolls and went back to visit the local gift shop. While there, Lucia saw a beautiful wax-over-porcelain doll selling for $3,600 and became very intrigued. "I remember thinking, wow, I would Jove to make a doll like that," she recalled. One day Lucia brought John into the shop to see the doll, and he thought they could make them. Being a sculptor, John had an idea to use porcelain clay instead of liquid porcelain. He told her he could sculpt a head, then hollow it out so it wouldn't be heavy. "I thought he was crazy because I thought you had to use porcelain the way everyone else used porcelain," Friedericy exclaimed. But six weeks later, Lucia received a box of porcelain heads. (Half of them broke during shipping.) Lucia immediately started experimenting on them using paints and wax. "I melted some wax in a coffee can then tried painting and dipping them," she remembers. "Those first ones were very thick with wax and looked pretty bad but that's how we got our start."

Friedericy Dolls
Hans Christian Anderson fairy

Doll making began in 1988. Brother and sister had the perfect arrangement where John sculpted the heads, arms and legs, and Lucia painted, waxed and outfitted the pieces. Judith assisted both children when they needed help. The siblings decided to exhibit their dolls at a small art fair in Glendale, California. "People said oh, how interesting but nobody bought anything," Lucia laughs. But while there, she discovered a doll magazine, something she never knew existed. The magazine introduced the Friedericys to the world of dolls, doll shows, and Toy Fair.

Blonde girl with doll
Friedericy Doll

Lucia learned about a competition called "The Silver Dollar City Show" in Missouri where dolls were judged so she decided to send several of her pieces. Her dolls won a first, second, and third place. She met Donna Willits, one of the judges and founder of IDEX. Willits judged Lucia's first two shows and was so impressed with her work, she offered to represent Friedericy dolls at Toy Fair.

It was a very exciting yet difficult period for the family. About the same time, the Friedericys

learned that John had tested HIV positive and was diagnosed with AIDS. The news was devastating. "We had heard of the famous Toy Fair and we thought if John could receive some recognition there, it would be a wonderful thing," said Lucia. (1)

Friedericy Dolls
Girl with flower fairy and Asian girl

The Friedericys were a hit at their Toy Fair debut in 1990. Lucia sold her first doll to Actress Demi Moore. John was very excited and determined to produce more dolls but was steadily growing weaker. "He came to the very first Toy Fair but he was pretty ill already," Lucia remembers. John experienced the beginnings of success but sadly passed away in July of that year. He was 34 years old.

The loss was heartbreaking for the Friedericy family. One way Lucia coped with the grief was to work even harder on the dolls. Judith knew with John gone there was no way Lucia could keep the dolls going so she offered to help. "I had never worked in porcelain before but I told Lucia, let me try," Judith said. In the beginning, it wasn't easy for Judith. She explains she was not a sculptor but prefers working two dimensionally using paints and mosaics. Judith not only had to learn to sculpt but then had to learn to work in a style and structure developed by John.

Friedericy Doll
Girl with Jack in the box

"Having watched John work for so long, I just did what he did, though the first few attempts were pretty pathetic," Judith remembers.

Soon mother and daughter became full time creative partners. Judith started developing her

own distinctive style while incorporating her son's technique. Like John, she uses no molds but free­hand sculpts from a block of fine porcelain clay, then hollows them out to one quarter inch thickness. Judith's sculptures have pretty faces and childlike features. When she finishes a piece, her grandson stops by the house and delivers them to Lucia. "It is so exciting to hand Lucia freshly fired pieces and to see what she produces," exclaims Judith. "Sometimes I scarcely recognize them. They are so transformed by her, it is magical."

And magical, they are. For those who know Friedericy dolls, they would say the pieces are exquisite. What makes Lucia's dolls so exceptional is her keen eye for fabrics and her attention to costume details. "I love fabric, textiles and embroidery," Lucia shares. "I collect fabric." Lucia searches for unique materials and accessories in some very unusual places. She finds fabric in thrift shops, antique malls, swap meets, textile shows and sometimes even the zoo gift shop. She'll use unique fabrics from old purses, embroidered place mats and on occasion, from a Christmas gift. "My eyes are always open, but I'm embarrassed to say I'll cut up just about anything," admits Lucia.

Friedericy Doll
Girl with marionette

Lucia's dolls start with cloth over wire armature. She paints the porcelain arms, legs and heads using acrylics then dips them in wax to give them a luminous look. Lucia makes the dolls' eyes separately, using paper clay that she shapes, paints and glazes. "I don't sculpt the eyes because they look more like set-in eyes when I use a different material," she describes. Costuming is Lucia's favorite part. Inspiration comes from children's illustrations, art galleries, paintings, colors, and fabrics with interesting textures. "I'm very moved by color combinations of textures and fabric," says Lucia. Often, dress bodices are created using paper clay while sleeves and skirts are made from fabric. Sometimes patterns are too large in scale so Lucia will paint small details onto the bodice that match the fabric. Sculpted paper clay also gives the illusion of finely detailed clothing or a trompe l'oeil effect. For outfits, Lucia gravitates toward embroidered fabrics and textiles from other countries. "I love silks

because it works really well with dolls. It's not too bulky," she explains.

Friedericy Dolls
Reading in the frame with a bear

When the Friedericys are not making dolls, Judith and Lucia still find time to have fun together. They enjoy swimming, shopping and going to the movies. Lucia loves hiking and enjoys yoga. Judith is retired but continues to teach art classes to children in her converted garage. Despite having problems walking due to "post polio syndrome." " Judith is up and down ladders working on a very large 16' x 20' mosaic tile wall. When asked what is the secret to their success they both agreed that giving one another space is the answer. "We completely sta y out of each other's way about the part of it we do." says Lucia. Both,

mother and daughter talk every morning by phone collaborating over doll ideas and direction. They live just a mile apart but stay away to give one another space to work Judith explains "There's a lot of energy that comes from two different ideas both working independently off the other, which makes it [creating dolls] ver y exciting."

Judith and Lucia admit that if they were in the same household doll making might not have gone so easily for them, but quickly add, "There is no friction over dolls, only when we try to cook together in the kitchen."

A little girl dressed in her Sunday best is standing next to her brother, who is looking very handsome in a sparkling white sailor suit. They smile into the camera with happy, delighted faces. All around them are wonderful toys - dolls, teddy bears, a toy drum, stacking blocks, a lovely rocking horse. A tabletop Christmas tree, its branches heavy with decorations and tinsel, tells us it is the holiday season, a particularly lucrative one for the lucky children in this photograph.

On the opposite side a charming missive tells the recipient he is missed at this

special time of year. The address seems woefully inadequate by today's zip plus

four standards - no street number and no zip code. And the postage, only 1 cent

to deliver this wonderful sentiment!


Composition Shirley Temple Doll History
A 1909 lithograph postcard.

Source: November 1999 • Antique Doll Collector, Pages 46-48


Doll postcards
Trade Card for Saturday Night Nerve, Brain and Muscle Tonic. Unless you turned it over who would guess that the reverse side claims, "Saturday Night will do more to build up and sustain the Nerves, Brain and Muscles, give Color to the Complexion and increase the Appetite and Strength, renew Vigor and Energy than anything else before the American People."

Photo postcards such as this were enormously popular during the early years of the twentieth century. The camera, once the provenance of a professional photographer, had only recently become a "toy" that nearly everyone could afford.

Events in Britain made it possible for the postcard and the camera to forge a marriage made in heaven. In 1899 the publisher Raphael Tuck convinced the British postal service to accept privately printed (non-government) postcards for delivery. The United States followed suit, and there was a veritable explosion of postcard use.

Doll postcard
Hand-tinted photo postcard sent from Germany to "New Haven, CT. Amerika."

Advances in color lithography made it possible for firms to crank out thousands upon thousands of cards per day. Postcard and scrap albums were still a popular pastime and instead of being tossed out, these pretty ephemeral vignettes were placed in the family album.

The Kodak Company recognized a wonderful opportunity when they saw it. Special photographic postcard stock was developed and printed with a postcard back. Along with the typical snapshot format, they made available photographs as postcards. Suddenly every amateur was a photographer, and every occasion was something to write home about. Holidays, and especially Christmas, were the perfect time to send loved ones a personal greeting with a photograph of the children and their new toys. Aside from their purely nostalgic appeal, these cards are a visual document of the playthings that were once available.

Doll postcards
Lithographed postcard made in Germany.

We can easily imagine the happy relatives joy in seeing an intimate family portrait, only days old. "How they've grown", or perhaps, "they're certainly spoiling those children something silly!"

Bill Gechoff is a collector of many things (his parents were antiquers and he holds them responsible) including toys, dolls, and paper ephemera. He looks for images of children and toys on photo post cards, lithographed cards, and a related category, trade cards. Shops, flea markets, antique shows and specialty postcard shows have produced some fabulous finds, although in the last fifteen years, he has seen prices escalate from a few dollars up to $50.

antique doll postcards
Hand-tinted photo postcard

German antique postcard with doll
German printed postcards.

Still, by comparison to other genuine antiques, quite a bargain!

Trade cards with children and or toys naturally appeal to advertising collectors as well. These were not meant to be mailed but were given away by the merchant to promote his business. On one side of the card there was a brilliant eye-catching chromolithograph, and on the other, an advertising message. As often as not, the product had little or nothing to do with the imagery. Children were simply good advertising ploys, and their cherubic little faces dotted trade cards for alcohol, tobacco, even farm implements.

Antique American holiday postcard with doll and toys
Santa puts the finishing touches on a doll. This beautiful lithograph was printed in the US.

During their heyday, from the mid 1880s until 1900, people collected trade cards, often arranging them in albums by subject or theme. Today these revealing little pieces of paper tell much about our society during the late nineteenth century, and because of their incredible range and variety, a collection be as specific as a particular type of product, or as broad as Bill Gechoff's in his choice of subject matter.

Antique holiday postcard with dolls
Photo postcard dated 1921.

German holiday postcard with antique doll
Photo postcard dated 1915. Printed in Germany.

Santa Claus Soap trade card
Trade card for the N.K. Fairbanks Co. The reverse side of the card gave directions to cut the center, "Fairbank's Santa Claus Soap" from each soap wrapper. Various gifts were redeemable from the company for 10 to 300 wrappers.

As we prepare to send out our annual holiday greetings in this, the last year of the millennium, we can take comfort that, for children at least, the magic and mystery of Santa Claus continues unabated. As Francis Church, the editor of the New York Sun put it so beautifully and succinctly in his reply to a sad little girl who was told by some friends there was no Santa Claus:

German antique doll postcard
Lithographed postcard, made in Germany.

antique doll trade card
Trade card for Clark's Mill End Spool Cotton

"Virginia your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticisms of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. "

It was a very good year for this little girl. Hand tinted photo postcard printed in Germany.

... Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Merry Christmas postcard with doll
A little girl dreams of the presents she hopes to receive on this Germany-printed postcard dated 1908.

"Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your Papa to hire men to watch all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did see him coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.

" ... No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now he will continue to make glad the hearts of childhood."

The most popular personality doll of all time is Shirley Temple. Shirley Temple was the darling diminutive movie star of the 1930s who kept a nation smiling during the Depression. Millions of people went to see her movies and millions more bought the doll made in her likeness by the Ideal Toy Company of New York.


Composition Shirley Temple Doll History
Morris Michtom, founder of the Ideal Toy Company, with Shirley Temple circa 1935.

Source: April 2001 • Antique Doll Collector, Pages 26-30


Shirley Temple doll
Shirley Temple (1935) 13" in knife pleated organdy dress from movie "Curly Top." Notice the little ties that attached to Shirley's wrists. The dress came in several color variations: pink, blue, yellow. It also came in a star-burst variation. Courtesy Loretta and Keith McKenzie.

The first Shirley Temple doll was made in 1934 after Ideal obtained permission from the Temple family to make a composition Shirley Temple doll. This composition Shirley Temple doll was sold until 1939 and continues to delight collectors today. Since then there have been several other licensed versions of the Shirley doll by Ideal and several non-licensed imitation or "knock-off" Shirley Temple dolls by other manufacturers. The composition Shirley doll remains one of the most popular composition doll with collectors.

Shirley Temple doll
Shirley Temple (1934) 16" polka dot dress from the movie :Stand up and Cheer." The dress came in several color variations including red and yellow. Missing matching hat. Courtesy Loretta and Keith McKenzie.

Shirley Temple doll
Shirley Temple (1935) in outfit from the movie "The Littlest Rebel." Courtesy Veronica Philips.

Composition Shirley Temple

Designed by prolific doll sculptor Bernard Lipfert, the composition Shirley Temple doll had signature dimples in her cheeks, special hazel color sleep eyes, golden blonde mohair wig in her famous ringlet style, and an open mouth with six teeth and a felt tongue. Most of the dolls are marked "Shirley Temple" on the head and body along with Ideal and their size. The dolls came in several sizes between 11" and 27 including 11", 13", 16", 17", 18", 20", 22", 25", and 27". The most common sizes are 13" and 18." Over one and a half million Shirley dolls were sold from 1934-1939 and many have survived in excellent condition. The Shirley Temple doll's enormous sales reflected the child star's popularity and made millions for the Ideal Toy Company and saved the company from financial ruin in the midst of the Depression.

Shirley Temple doll
Shirley Temple (1936) 20" composition in green sailor dress from "Poor Little Rich Girl" Outfit. Doll is marked Reliable and was 1nade by the Reliable Toy Company of Canada under license from Ideal. Courtesy Loretta and Keith McKenzie.


View Shirley Temple Dolls for Sale


Shirley Temple doll
A gaggle of Shirley Temples ready to charm children and collectors alike ranging in size from 13" up to 27". (Including a 19" and 25" flirty-ei;e version, and the 27" blue eye version.) Replaced dresses on the 23" and 25" doll. Courtesy McMasters Doll Auctions.

Shirley Temple doll
A rare store display of Shirley playing the organ from 1937. Courtesy Veronica Phillips.

Shirley's Birth

Shirley Temple doll
Shirley Te111ple (1936) 27"iu Texas Rauger outfit fro111 the Cenle1111inl. Niissing 111atc/Jing Stetsou hot. This outfit is oue of the hardest to fiud. Courtesy Loretta aud Keith McKenzie.

The first announcement of the Shirley Temple doll came in the September 1934 Playthings

Magazine (the toy industry's trade journal). It read: "Shirley Doll. Shirley has same well-shaped body, legs and arms as 'Ginger'. New Ideal double action glace eyes and lashes, has wig in choice of brunette, blonde, or auburn. Variety of costumes in pink, blue, maize, green or white." The name Shirley Temple was not mentioned nor that she was a film star.

In October 1934 Ideal ran itss first ad for Shirley in Playthings which included the information that the Shirley Temple doll was so popular Ideal didn't have time to send out samples to the stores. Further information stated that Fox Films was helping to promote the doll with display material and admission tickets for stores to use for promotions including contests for the girl who best resembled Shirley. Four sizes of the new doll were available retailing at $3, $5, $6, and $7.

Shirley Temple doll
Shirley Temple (1935) in musical dress from movie "Our Little Girl." There also was a red and royal blue with white notes color variation. Courtesy Millie Caliri.

Shirley's Outfits

Ideal issued the Shirley doll in outfits that were exact replicas of dresses Shirley Temple wore in her movies "Stand Up and Cheer." "Littlest Rebel," "Curly Top," and "Our Little Girl." Each dress had a woven label featuring her signature sewn into the seam and came with a signed photo of Shirley in the box.

In 1934 Shirley was issued in a long dress from the film "The Little Colonel." This remains a favorite with coJlectors with its pantaloons and fancy bonnet. Lucky little girls could also obtain Shirley in a trunk filled with clothing from her movies. The wardrobe trunk was available in three sizes retailing for $5, $8, and $11, and had stickers of Shirley's name and pictures on all sides.

Ideal was selling thousands of Shirley dolls by this time and Ideal had licensed factories from all around the world to make the Shirley dolls. These companies included: Reliable from Canada; Hijos Francisco Merin Perez from Spain; Richards, Son & Allwin from England; Printemps Sapac from Paris; and S. Hoffnung; & Co from Australia.

Shirley Temple doll
Shirley Temple in trunk wearing with various outfits from her movies. Courtesy Loretta and Keith McKenzie.

In 1936 the Shirley face mold was changed. The Ideal ads in Playthings said that the Cape Cod Slicker (featured in Captain January) was being sold separately. Coming was a new Shirley doll at a new price to celebrate her birthday, April 23rd (she'll be 7). In reality, Shirley was one year older than the studio let on.

Shirley Temple doll
Box for 20" Shirley Temple showing original label. Notice number #2020, and price $10.50. Courtesy Diane Zillner.

In March 1936 Playthings featured an interview with Morris Michtom, President of the Ideal Toy Company. Mr. Michtom had returned from an 18-day trip in Hollywood visiting Shirley Temple. The article quotes Mr. Michtom who was most impressed by "the natural sweetness and happiness of the child". "She is intelligent, too. Acting is not work for Shirley Temple, in fact she regards it as so much play.

Shirley Temple doll outfit
Shirley Temple (1935+) One of the outfits that were available as separates for Shirley Temple - her plaid raincoat, hat and umbrella. Also available in red. Notice the Shirley hanger that the separates came on. Courtesy Veronica Phillips.

An incident which showed her intelligence and judgment occurred one night when I was at dinner with the Temples. I turned to Shirley and asked her a question which has often been put to me, 'How is it, darling, when you are acting you are never pictured with a Shirley Temple doll like yourself?' Quick as a flash she answered, 'Oh, Mr. Michtom, you wouldn't want me to do that; it wouldn't be nice - it would be too much like advertising, and you can't do that in a picture.' I had to agree, she had me there."

Shirley Temple doll trunk
Shirley Temple (1934), 16," in "Stand Up and Cheer" dress in trunk, shown with 20" Shirley Temple Baby. Courtesy McMasters Doll Auctions.

Mr. Michtom had negotiated with the Temple family and her agents for the rights to produce the Shirley doll. The negotiations had taken several months and included the points that the doll was to have hazel eyes, just like Shirley, and that there be 52 sausage curls exactly like the hair that Shirley made famous.

In 1936, Shirley Temple came in a cowgirl costume, the Official Doll of the Texas Centennial, which was a special summer item. The Texas Centennial Shirley came in 3 sizes- 11", 13", 16,"and retailed for $2.98, $3.98, $5.98. The outfit included a plaid shirt, khaki shorts, brown stockings, high brown boots, sleeveless vest and leather chaps, red bandana, studs, real western metal ornaments and a Stetson hat. This remains a hard-to-find outfit that collectors are willing to pay more for especially if it includes the Stetson hat and the elusive little metal pistol. A 27" Centennial doll was available for $15 which was quite expensive at the time. Shirley Temple accessories and costumes including new doll handbags were available.

Shirley Temple doll
A rare ston; display of 27" Shirley Temple. Courtesy Veronica Phillips.

The outfits available in 1936 were: "Captain January", "Baby Take A Bow," "Curly Top," "Bright Eyes" and "Littlest Rebel" for the 16", 20", 27" sized dolls priced at $3.96, $5.92, and $12.18. The 11" doll came in "Curly Top" or "Baby Take a Bow" only for $2.19. Costumes could be bought separately for $0.94 for 11" up to $2.49 for 27" doll.

Promotional material was available from Ideal to help dealers sell Shirley dolls. This included publicity pictures of Shirley in many poses, mirrors with her picture on the back, flip books showing her changing expressions, a booklet by Shirley called The Story of My Life", balloons and cutouts. Also available for dealers were newspaper mats of ads and publicity releases, life­-size cut out figures with easel, 18" counter stands, 16" head

hangers, enlarged photos and other aids for arranging Shirley Temple displays. These publicity items remain favorite collectibles for the devoted Shirley collector.

In addition to dolls dressed in costumes from her movies, separate outfits were available for Shirley as well and included party dresses, play dresses, pajamas, coats, hats, rain coats, Cape Cod slicker, and a sailor suit. An outfit from ''Poor Little Rich Girl" had a coat and beret. Sales of the Shirley doll were up 14% in 1936 over 1935 for Ideal.

Shirley Temple doll
What all little girls from the 1930s wished for, as well as today's Shirley Temple collectors - a Mint In box Shirley Temple wearing one of the most commonly found outfits, a knife pleated pink organdy dress from "Curly Top." Courtesy Iva Mae M. Jones.

In 1937 Ideal introduced the Shirley Temple Doll Hair Curler "to keep Shirley Curly." It was packed with curlers and instructions in each doll sold. Also new was the Scottish Highlander outfit from "Wee Willie Winkie," available for the 18 inch doll at $6; 22 inch size for $9, and $15 for the 27 inch doll . The outfit included a jaunty Glengarry bonnet, sporran, tan military jacket with brass buttons, a white army belt, a MacKenzie plaid kilt, patterned socks and black shoes. Outfits from "Heidi" including a Tyrolean costume were also sold.

Ideal always paid special attention to publicity and promotion. A special store display was designed with a mechanically animated Shirley playing a pipe organ. Shirley was synchronized to transcribed organ music. The music came from five speakers behind the organ pipes. The display was 4 feet wide by 5 1/2 feet high by 3 feet deep. It was quite a sight! This display when found remains a rarity in the Shirley collecting world.

In 1938 Ideal issued a new model of Shirley with curls close to the head and side part called "Shirley Temple At Nine" (she was in reality 10 years old). Shirley's popularity was beginning to wane as she matured into a pre-teen, and fewer dolls were being sold. Ideal issued Shirley's last costume from the film "The Blue Bird" in February 1940. This outfit remains a very difficult one for collectors to find since Ideal never went into full production for this outfit.

Shirley Temple doll
Shirley Temple (1934-39), 18" is marked "Shirley Temple" on her head and body. Courtesy McMasters Doll Auctions.

Throughout her production Shirley's shoes were made of oilcloth and were white with center snaps. Most had a cute silver buckle on the toe. Her eye color varied from pale brown to true brown, a few have been found in blue and even brown or blue metal eyes have been found. Her hair color ranged from pale blonde to golden blonde. No matter what color hair or eyes, the Shirley doll still captures collector's fancy after all these years.

Prices for Shirley

Prices for Shirley depend on condition of the doll, rarity of size, and rarity of outfit. Condition of the composition is very important. Because it is made of wood pulp and glue, it is subject to cracking and craze if exposed to extremes of temperature. Collectors should look for Shirley with her original ringlet hairdo, original clothing, minimal crazing, and clear eyes since the eyes tend to get cloudy. The doll is worth more if the original box and button are present. Shirley dolls range in price from $600 to $1,800, with the 11 inch and the larger 27 inch being the rarest sizes to find.

Shirley Temple doll
A recently made reproduction Shirley Temple doll that looks like the original. Collectors should be aware of imitation and reproduction Shirley Temple dolls. Courtesy Dyan Murphy.

Collectors should be aware that with these dolls commanding high prices, reproductions will be made. Currently, there is a gentleman in Texas who is making reproduction composition Shirley Temples. However, he does sign them on their shoe. However, unscrupulous dealers may remove the shoe, so please be aware. I have included a photo of her so that collectors can see how faithful the reproduction is. (The article was published in 2001 and does not reflect the current prices.)

Composition Shirley Temple Baby

In addition to the all composition Shirley Temple girl doll, there was an adorable Shirley Temple baby made in 1935 only. These lovely babies had composition head and limbs with a cloth body. The adorable face with signature dimples had sleep eyes, an open mouth with teeth, and a blonde wig. Marked

"Shirley Temple" on their head, they are quite appealing and very desirable to collectors who pay in the $1,500 range for them. They are available in six sizes ranging from 20 to 27 inches. A darling carriage from F.A. Whitney Company of Leominster, Mass. was introduced at the same time to allow little girls to wheel their Baby Shirley Temple doll around.

Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple Baby in carriage by Whitney Carriage Company of Leominster, Mass. Notice Shirley Temple photo on the side. Courtesy Veronica Phillips.

The lovely Shirley Temple dolls still bring joy to collectors who remember the charming child actress Shirley Temple in movies from the 1930s and even to newer collectors seeing the movies on television for the first time. Both are enchanted with the Shirley Temple doll's adorable smile and dimples which remind of us a time when an talented child brought happiness to a nation in the depths of a Depression.

For more information about Shirley Temple or other ideal dolls see Judith Izen's book: Collectors Guide to [deal Dolls: Second Edition. She is also the author of the Collector's Encyclopedia of Vogue Dolls co-authored with Carol Stover.

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