Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Convention time

It's that time of year when paper doll collectors convene-- this year in Las Vegas.

Deanna Williams and her crew always put together a great party, whether a one-day luncheon or a full-out convention. I'll be sure to post pictures of souvenirs and sales room finds--and would love to post photos that other attendees take. I'll be busy in the raffle room helping Ron Fong, so I may not catch everything!

Here is a glimpse of one of the most beautifully drawn paper doll sets,
Big and Little Sister, Merrill, 1945.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lastex and Adaptolettes

Another great page from the 1938 Lane Bryant catalog.

I'm getting ready for the convention in Las Vegas, so my posting may be sporadic over the next few days. Usually I'm good about posting in advance, but this has been a busy week.

Did I put tabs on that Dress A Doll entry? Hmmm.....

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lena Horne

Sings "Paper Doll" from Two Girls and a Sailor, 1944

Paris decrees elegance, 1938

Be sure to click on the photo to savor some of the ad copy. I love the wordiness of old time advertising. People were expected to read!

Of course, during World War II and the Nazi occupation, French designers and products were cut off. The power of "Paris decrees" returned briefly in the postwar era, but would gradually diminish over time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sale prices, 1938

"Acetate pebble crepe" was in vogue, and brings to mind the kind of fabric I've seen over the years in vintage stores.
The layout of this ad is a little creepy, with those extra arms drawn in to illustrate the "push up" sleeve, apparently ringed with elastic.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lane Bryant 1938 catalog

Love that "outsize" hose. Some copywriter figured, "Let's not mince words here." More pages to come.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sunday Magazine Paper Doll Challenge

What do these three dolls have in common? They're all wearing costumes ripped from the headlines--in this case, the actual front page of the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

Ilisha Helfman is a graphic designer who came up with this fun idea and you can see more on her blog:

She also sells paper doll kits ($18) with all kinds of ephemera and templates to inspire fashion design with found paper.

Ilisha also designs exquisite dollhouses and pop-up theatre cards:

You can find information on purchasing these items at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dress Up Animals, 2009

Found these cute stickers in a vending machine at the Pathmark Supermarket.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day of the Dead Paper Dolls by Kwei-Lin

Wow! Our own Kwei-Lin Lum hits the big time with the Dover Publication of her Day of the Dead Paper Dolls and a very cool book of stickers--just in time for Halloween and the Day of the Dead on Nov. 2.

Order two of each, one to save, one to cut up for do-it-yourself greeting cards, collage, scrapbooks, artist trading cards, etc.

And of course, order several as gifts.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Paper doll postcard

This is a reproduction by The Evergreen Press of a circa 1900 Oilette postcard.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A 1920s portrait

Not much to go on here but the hairstyle and the earrings. And a very calm, direct gaze at the camera, not sullen as the earlier portraits. Rather modern. Looks like a woman who just won the right to vote.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Post Civil War Lady

The hat and earrings, again, lead me to believe this is from the Civil War era.
UPDATE: Thanks to Boots for placing this lady in the proper era.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

India Wilkes

This one I feel more certain about, because of the hair style, dress and earrings: the Civil War era. She makes me think of a young India Wilkes, scowling at the cheeky Scarlett O'Hara.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Grand Entrance

Nifty little bag hanging at her hip. I'd guess 1908 or a bit earlier, based on hair style and silhouette.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pensive Lady

A cabinet card from my collection. Very romantically posed; perhaps 1917. Maybe someone out there who knows fashion history can give me a better date.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Allee Willis' Museum of Kitsch

What is kitsch? Think paint-by-numbers, velvet paintings, ceramics in day-glo colors, foreign products with haphazard English (one of my favorites), and quickie marketing ploys to cash in on some craze or fashion. Yes, it can be bad taste, but sometimes it can also be a trend that was innocently embraced by the masses and made someone a lot of money, once...

I can't fly in for the opening of this new kitsch museum in L.A., but the next best thing is browsing Allee Willis' amazing website, and planting her Kitsch O' the Day on my Google page.

There are many links worth exploring here. First off, check out this lady's bio: she wrote Boogie Wonderland and other disco hits, the theme for the TV show "Friends," and collaborated with Brenda Russell, Stephan Bray and Marsha Norman on the Broadway musical, The Color Purple. That's just scratching the surface of all she's done. Also click on some of the hilarious videos she's produced.

You can find Dinah-Mite on Allee's Soul Patch :

What would be a kitsch-y paper doll? Here's one from my collection:

A sticker paper doll I couldn't resist dressing up. Found in a Chinese mall in Flushing, Queens a few years back.

Tattered and Lost

This is a collage I did five years ago, using a copy of an old photo that I found at a flea market. The photo reminds me of the pictures I see on the Vernacular Photography blog. I don't collect many pictures -- just a few that really speak to me -- but after viewing some of the pictures at VP, I'll be looking with new eyes at things I might have quickly passed over...

A companion blog focuses on ephemera--postcards, a rare Dennis the Menace paper doll, Scholastic book covers, 45s, a Chef-Boy-ar-dee package, videos, and just about anything else that catches her fancy. Love the research on the Jackson Hole, Wyo., postcard, and her commentary is very witty and engaging.

Here's a book cover from my collection of children's books. I didn't read this one as a child, but I did know of Lois Lenski, and came to appreciate her art when I was older:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Paper Doll Studio Issue 94

Wow! Jenny and her staff have done it again. An absolutely wonderful issue, chock full of good things: Carol Peters' delightful Three Mouseketeers, and pages of paper doll art from contributors inspired by their favorite novels. As always, a great showcase.

Here are some of the articles: David Wolfe in "Costuming the Classics," takes us behind the scenes of how classic novels are brought to the screen, and includes his fabulous illustrations of designs by Adrian, Walter Plunkett and others; Tom Tierney on the Bronte sisters, accompanied by his fine pen-and-ink drawings of the Brontes; Brenda Mattox on draping and the human figure; Brenda also has a wonderful piece on Gene Maiden.

I never tire of reading about the childhood inspirations of paper doll artists, how they grew creatively and learned to fit art into their busy (and challenging) family lives, and Carol Peters delivers the goods in her article.

Last but not least, is the very first thing you'll read in the issue: Jenny's story of her visit a couple of years ago to the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland. Absolutely lovely, and very moving.

And that picture of Jenny and Gene Maiden will definitely put a lump in your throat.

How we'll miss him in Las Vegas.

Diaghilev's Theater of Marvels

No, this is not in my collection. A found image I am grateful for. I went to see the exhibit on the Ballet Russes at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts yesterday--the last day, so no more programs were available. It was a fantastic exhibit, of posters, art work, costumes, personal letters and notebooks and diaries of Diaghilev and the members of his troupe through the years.

Here is another image, found on the web awhile ago, of a Ballet Russes costume:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Boots, 1960

This was on the reverse of the Mopsy man that I posted earlier. Feb. 21, 1960.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Americans by Robert Frank

Hoboken, New Jersey, 1955.

See The New Yorker for more information about his work and an upcoming exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Muñecas Recortables

A while back I posted items from a blogger in Spain (search for the title, "De Espana" and you'll find the post) who had stopped posting new items, but who had a wonderful archive still online.

Well, Marga Lozano Crespo found my blog, and let me know she has returned with Muñecas Recortables at Over the last several days I've been going through her new blog to catch up.

She has posted video montages of her own collection, in addition to photos. Marga writes about illustrators familiar (such as Rose O'Neill and Frances Tipton Hunter), and new to me, such as Maria Pascual and Manuel Jiminez Arnalot. For anyone interested in Spanish paper dolls, her blog is a must-read. She has excellent information about children's magazines that featured cut-outs.

Here are images Marga posted from a Madrid paper doll exhibit:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mopsy Modes, c. 1950

Finally getting around to scanning in some Mopsy Modes that I bought a few months ago. This one only has a 1950 copyright on the back, in the Rex Morgan comic strip. The later strips have the full date. Gladys Parker is one of my favorite comic strip paper doll artists.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Newspaper paper doll

This ran with an article about tight clothing on July 21, 1980, in the Chicago Tribune, which at that time, also owned the New York Daily News. Artist: Marcos Oksenhendler.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Flapper Fanny's little sister

I don't know if she had a name or not, and my first thought was that she was Mopsy Mode's little sister. But then I remembered that Gladys Parker took over Flapper Fanny sometime in the 1930s, and this little girl character appears in a Flapper Fanny paper doll book.

I love the changeable face! The cut in the hat might have been made to "wheel" the expressions around...