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The Greatest American Dolls

American doll makers granted us with rich history of beautiful and diverse dolls. Here is a rough overview of them.

American Wooden Dolls


The rock maple dolls of Springfield, Vermont, were produced from 1873 to 1893 by a number of men who made almost continuous modifications, mostly to accommodate production. Joel A. H. Ellis was the first of them. Like so many 19th century American production dolls, they retain the look of the German china and papier-mâché dolls of the period.


One of the most vital American dollmakers was Albert Schoenhut, who followed in the traditions of the German wooden toy industry. He emigrated to the United States in 1867 at the age of 17 and five years later opened his own factory in Philadelphia, making pianos and other toys. By the turn of the century he introduced his first circus, which was produced until 1935. These human and animal figures honed his wood turning and modeling techniques, which enabled his doll business, initiated in 1910, to reach a phenomenal level of success. Beautifully molded and articulated, his All-Wood Perfection Art Dolls were eminently playable, not readily breakable, and washable, so they met several of the modern ideals. After Albert's death in 1912, his six sons, headed by the eldest, Albert F., carried on the Schoenhut Company. While the dolls, made until 1930s, are found with a variety of eye treatments, carved hairstyles or separate wigs, they all gently depict real children with lifelike expressions.