Thursday, October 8, 2009

Miss Florence, c. 1860s

My thrilling find for this convention: Miss Florence by Clark, Austin & Smith, c. 1860s.

I have the Tattered and Lost ephemera blog to thank for the story behind this series of dolls, "The Girls' Delight." Check out this link to see Miss Hattie, another doll in the series, and for more information about Miss Florence:

And thanks to T and L for allowing me to reprint here the anonymous comment that appeared on her blog back in February, when she posted Miss Hattie:

I can tell you a bit more about Miss Hattie. She was the daughter of Cornelius Smith, who was the Smith of Clark, Austin and Smith (and also the brother of Winthrop B Smith who published the McGuffey readers). Clark was Lucius Ebeneezer Clark and he and Cornelius Smith were brothers in law. Miss Hattie was the 2nd paper doll CAS brought out, the first being Miss Florence, daughter of Lucius Ebeneer Clark and Miss Hattie's cousin. It was Lucius' (Miss Florence's father) idea (they were book publishers in New York City on Broadway) to bring out a series of paperdolls, based on a book called Paper Dolls and How to Make them by Anson Randolph (another contemporary NY Publishers). They sold very well, with minimal profit (According to the family geneology), but the idea quickly caught on and other publishers got into the business too. Eventually they sold the paperdoll plates to McLoughlin Brothers who eventually became Milton Bradley. I know all this because Lucius is my great-great-grandfather. Thank you for rescuing Hattie from obscurity. These dolls are beautiful, hand water colored by anonymous women artists of the day. It amazes me how well kids could cut with scissors in the 1850's (the dresses came on one sheet of paper in an envelope with the doll on cardstock and needed to be cut out).

The writer, a descendant of the Clark family, has reached out again to the blogger at Tattered and Lost, and is willing to talk more about the company.

My question would be: Does Milton Bradley still have the plates for these dolls after all of these years? Did you yourself have these dolls, or collect other paper dolls?

And wouldn't it be great if the Clark relative could make it to next year's convention in Kansas City, MO, July 1-4?


  1. Oh, I'm so jealous. Yours has both arms! My poor girl is so tattered and but I believe loved through time. Glad you got such a beauty!

  2. How wonderful, I am so happy for you. You must be thrilled. And I agree it would be so lovely for this person to attend the convention next year.

  3. Did girls play with these dolls by laying them flat on a table? I see there are no tabs, so the clothes wouldn't stay put without holding them in place.

    They're so beautiful!

  4. I think many of them had a little round semicircle of paper attached on the back shoulders to slip over the head.