Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Artist Mary Murray, from the Merrill Archives of Jean Woodcock

Here is more original art for a paper doll book that was never produced, this time by Mary Murray. Ultimately, Charlot Byj created a book on this theme for Merrill in 1949. 

Mark Woodcock says he never found any clothes for this particular version. I initially posted this item as a mystery, but Mark found the name of the artist in his mother's files. 

Does anyone have any further information about Mary Murray? And thank you Mark for these delightful pictures!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

E.A. Voss sketches from the Jean Woodcock collection

Always a pleasure to hear from Mark Woodcock, who has been organizing his late mother's collection of original artwork from the Merrill archives. These sketches by the artist E.A. Voss were done in the 1950s for books that were never produced.

The Cotsen Children's Library at Princeton University has an interesting article by Andrea Immel on the artist Elizabeth Anne Voss (1925-1969):
Voss’s fans have speculated that there were two sisters working for Merrill at the same time because covers in the same style are signed “E. Voss,” “E. A. Voss,” “B. Gartrell,” “Betty Gartrell,” and “Elizabeth Gartrell.”  
Thanks to a recent gift of a small group of covers and artwork by Voss from the late 1950s and early 1960s from her husband Donald H. Voss [Princeton]’44, *49, I’ve pieced together some information about Betty Anne, as she was known.  She was the daughter of Nancy Reynolds and the engineer Robert D. Gartrell, who is famous in horticultural circles for the Robin Hill Azaleas, a group of hybrids he developed while living in New Jersey.  One cultivar was named after his artist-daughter.   Before her marriage to Donald Voss in 1952, Betty Anne signed her work with her maiden name Gartrell.
Covers in the Voss donation suggest that cover designs signed “Gartrell” or “Voss” could be in simultaneous circulation for some years, so it’s no wonder  people have assumed that E. A. Voss and B. Gartrell were two people. This confusion might have been cleared up much sooner if Voss had illustrated picture books instead of covers, in which case it’s more likely that she would have been the subject of articles in standard reference sources.   
The copies of Little Miss Christmas and Santa and Little Miss Christmas and Holly-Belle in the Voss donation suggest that Merrill must have asked her to redo the cover paintings periodically to keep them fresh. Voss designed new gowns and accessories,  added and subtracted figures, which necessitated rearranging the composition, etc. The typefaces and their layout could vary significantly from cover to cover, although at first glance they look rather similar.

I've quoted from most of the article, but go to the Cotsen site for more information and more images of this beloved artist's work. Excellent research for those of us fascinated by the life and work of earlier paper doll artists. And I love that the first line in the article refers to Paper Goodies from Judy's Place!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015

Estey Organs

Jayne Keller made a copy of this advertising paper doll for me. 

Porto Rico!

"Dolls of America and her New Possessions." 

Well, that allows us to date this after 1898, that's for sure. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Roseline et Danielle

From the sublime collection of Agence Eureka

For many years, Patricia has posted vintage illustrations and paper dolls. Once you click on an image, it takes you to a Flickr site where you can download various sizes of the image.

Thank you Patricia for your generous postings over the years! 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Thank you, Joan Homann!

Joan Homann posted the following message on the Paper Doll Bulletin Board last week:

"After going on 18 years as Administrator of the Board, I have decided that it is time to retire. I cannot express the pleasure I have experienced since creating the Board for fellow paper doll collectors. I hope that the Board has increased knowledge of the hobby, advised as to availability of various sets, provided social contact, answered questions, and encouraged others to join in this wonderful hobby. 

"As of now, the Board will go on under the supervision of the webmaster. Thank you for many wonderful years. Joan Homann"

In addition to administering the board, Joan also put together a nice guide to Magazine Paper Dolls, pictured above. I believe you can still order it directly from Joan at her website.  It's indispensable if you collect Lettie Lanes, Dolly Dingles and Betsy McCalls.

I first learned of the New York City paper doll group via the bulletin board. Thank you, Joan, for connecting me to so many wonderful people!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Updated: Flow Magazine

I've been plagiarized in a magazine! And I feel awful about it, because it is a lovely magazine.

First, this:

Last year at the 14th St. Barnes & Noble bookstore, I found a copy of Flow's thick 5th anniversary special -- the Dutch & English edition. The Flow Book is a feast for the eyes: colorful pages filled with wrapping papers, stickers, postcards, stationery, a garland and even pop-up scenes. Gorgeous. People who love paper created a magical book for like-minded people.

So I was happy to find the magazine today (in the same bookstore). It has articles about slowing down and living the mindful life, and other stories about creative people and how they do what they do. There's a lovely little booklet insert about how to do hand lettering, with space for you to practice. 

And... there's an article about paper dolls! Including paper dolls by contemporary artists!

But first, the article. It's not signed. I think it borrows liberally from things published elsewhere. Would have been nice if the anonymous author had cited sources. 

It's hard to copy the entire thing because the 140-page magazine is so nicely bound:

I think this is an image from an auction website. 

We all copy images from the web, so what's the big deal, right?

Oh look, a little story about Fluffy Ruffles...hey wait a minute, they took my research and used it without even giving me credit! Unless someone spent time as I did a few years back, researching old newspaper articles at the New York Historical Society. I doubt it. That insipid "bunny wabbit" line is not mine, but the research and analysis is all mine:

Not cool, Flow Magazine. I first wrote about Fluffy in a small handmade zine that I gave out in my presentation at the paper doll convention in San Antonio in 2007. Last year, I wrote a new version of the story for Paperdoll Review. 

...I just realized they probably read this interview I gave to Collectors Weekly back in 2013. Ah well.  

Check out their website, http://www.flowmagazine.com/ 

to see images from the latest issue.

Update: RLC is right, and there's no two ways about it!