Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Letty Lynton gown

Artist: Betty J. Rolenz, 1991. Likely a souvenir from a past convention. The artist did an excellent job with this Adrian gown.  "Letty Lynton" was the name of a 1932 Joan Crawford film.  You'll find this paper doll on the convention freebie table.

Here's a photo of the Letty Lynton gown as Crawford wore it:

The Wikipedia entry for Letty Lynton reveals this gown was a smash hit, and 500,000 copies were sold. The movie is rarely seen except in bootleg copies, because of a plagiarism lawsuit. I see online discussions from two years ago about its imminent release on DVD, and will check Netflix. The movie is from the pre-Code Hollywood era, before the censors shaped Hollywood and forced every sinner on celluloid to get his or her due before the final credits rolled.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fifth Ave., 1964

Another great '60s view of New York City. The Tishman Building is 666 Fifth Ave. The Top of the Sixes was a popular restaurant in the penthouse, and I recall a family dinner or two at the Sixes to commemorate high school graduations c. 1970. St. Thomas Episcopal Church in the foreground. Top of the Sixes became a cigar bar, as I read here.

Off in the distance to the far left you can see the Empire State Building. This view today would show many more skyscrapers off to the west, and less sky.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pattern book paper doll, c. 1930

A paper doll from a pattern book. The red dress isn't a perfect fit, but comes close.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Patsy by Theresa Shimer, 1977

National Doll World, Nov.-Dec. 1977.  You'll find this cutie on the freebie table at the convention, courtesy of Carol Carey.

Radio City Music Hall, c. 1964

I remember those old green buses and the checker cabs. The movie playing at Radio City is "Spencer's Mountain," with Henry Fonda, Maureen O'Hara and James MacArthur. My Radio City memories include The Yellow Rolls Royce and the re-release of Gone with the Wind in 1967.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lincoln Center, c. 1964

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts was brand new when this was taken. Just behind the fountain is the New York State Theater; this is looking south. To the right of the theater, you can see what I think are the rooftops of my old school, St. Paul the Apostle, which was built around the late 1880s, and was torn down by the early 1980s.

Tough times: the New York City Opera is pulling out of the theater, where it has performed since Lincoln Center opened in 1964, because of financial difficulties.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Today's Inspiration

For all of you fashion illustration artists and fans, there is an interesting discussion going on at Leif Peng's blog, called Today's Inspiration, which spotlights great illustration of all kinds. Below are two from TI:

Artist: Tod Draz, 1956.

Artist: JC Leyendecker, 1930.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Plaza Hotel, c. 1964

This part of Manhattan reminds me of the movie "Sunday in New York." It was a nice walk up from West End Ave., where I grew up, to this part of town. Many Sundays were spent in Central Park, opposite the hotel and out of sight in this picture, on the north side of 59th St. Seeing the horses and hansom cabs held a kind of enchantment for me as a child. Now I see it with different eyes and would be happy for this tradition to end, so the horses can finally rest.

My sisters and I gathered outside the Plaza with other kids when The Beatles visited in 1965. We stood behind barricades near the fountain and screamed our heads off.

Looking south across the fountain is the Paris movie theater, where I saw the Jacques Tati-inspired cartoon, "The Illusionist," last year. And the fountain is where legend has it that F. Scott and Zelda frolicked one boozy evening in the 1920s.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Channel Gardens at Rockefeller Center, c. 1964

A favorite place to stroll at Easter time, right off Fifth Ave. I was sad when the French bookstore on the left closed recently, but that is NYC, always changing. I hope the stores keep their awnings. Funny how a little detail like that changes the feeling of a street. The little lady in her fur stole made me smile. I had a couple of great aunts who would swan into family gatherings with stoles just like that one.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Macy's Herald Square, c. 1964

Macy's, 34th St. at Herald Square. Dexter Press, 1964. Interesting wordy billboard, not visible to most pedestrians, explaining the 6% cash policy: "We endeavor with reasonable exceptions which include goods price controlled by manufacturers to save our customers at least 6% for cash." That took a lot of squinting to make out.

Good to see Nedick's again, the holdout that took a slice out of the Broadway facade. A huge store, takes up the block between 34th and 35th Streets, between Broadway and Seventh Avenue.  I have fond memories of buying new school shoes here every September when I was a child.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Times Square, c. 1966

I found a stack of old New York City postcards in an antique shop, all from the early 1960s. This is the city I remember from my childhood. This is looking south into Times Square from about 45th Street. The mansard roof in the distance on the right is the old Astor Hotel. Also of note: Ripley's Believe it or Not, big ad for Photoplay magazine, Scripto pens. George M. Cohan with his back to us.

Click on the photo for a larger image, and check out the movies: Lord Jim at Loew's State, Dr. No and From Russia with Love at the Victoria. Big splashy ad for The Bible. Another marquee shows something with Burt Lancaster, maybe The Tunnel.

The Allied Chemical building dead center was the old New York Times building--that's why the square is Times Square-- with a new skin. Today it still stands, empty inside but covered outside with billboards--and still the place where the ball drops on New Year's Eve.

Here's a web site with more pictures, and a great history of the building, 1 Times Square.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mostly Paper Dolls

The Mostly Paper Dolls blog by Lucy draws on newspaper archives for many of its cut-outs. Many things here I've never seen before. Search for Aunt Elsie and Laura Brock to see some hard to find paper dolls.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Elinor, c. 1915-1917

An exquisite German paper doll, circa 1915-1917.

And below, information from Garth Lax about specialty museums in the convention city of Philadelphia. Martha Raively has some wonderful tips, plus she's requested a special display at the Philadelphia Free Library, see:

                                     LET FREEDOM RING !
                                                Email # 12
                                    SPECIALTY MUSEUMS
In addition to the Art Museums that we reviewed in Emails 5 and 6, there are
several Specialty Museums that may interest you. Let's take a look.
Martha Raively, a Philadelphia native, has pointed out some wonderful and
very rare paper doll holdings in the Rare Book Department of the Free Library
of Philadelphia.
What would you say to a rare 1817 Cinderella, published in the US after the
J&B Fuller origination in England?
How about Lucinda the Orphan, another very rare US version of the original
Fuller Toy Book?
Like to see Little Henry, the famous 1810 Fuller Toy Book? It's here.
What about a Little Fanny, the famed 1810 Fuller Toy Book - - one of the
first two published. And for an even more rare treat, take a look at the
manuscript of Little Fanny, complete with hand-watercolored costumes.
Even The Little Colonel Doll Book of 1910. Where else are you going to see
that one ??
Martha even has arranged for Cinderella to be on display August 15-22 in a
glass case in the Rare Book Department lobby on the third floor, and is working
on getting even more out on display.
If you have interest in a particular one, and think that it might not be among those
on display, you may telephone the Library at (215) 686 5416 to ask them to have
it out for you to view. Give them about a week's notice.
Here are the call numbers:
Lucinda the Orphan - - Call Number is RBD\\CB\\1817\\L963T
Cinderella - - \RBD\\CB\\1815\\C49O3\\
Little Fanny and Manuscript - - \\RBD\\CB\\E\\1810\\H629O\\FACSIM.\\
Little Henry - - \\RBD\\CB\\E\\1810\\H629A\\
Little Colonel Doll Book - - J NON-FICTION MC-W,S,D.
To make a visit even better, they're featuring a Beatrix Potter exhibition during
the Convention week. Since this Library has the most extensive Beatrix Potter
collection outside England, you fans of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and
the Little Red Hen are in for a rare treat !
The big Central Library, a historic Beaux-Arts building, is at 1901 Vine Street,
just off Logan Circle. It's about four blocks south of the big Philadelphia Museum
of Art that we described in Email #5, about two blocks from the Rodin Museum
(also Email #5), and about one block from the Franklin Institute (which we
describe below). There's parking along the streets, a large public parking lot
directly behind the Library, and a parking garage on 20th Street.
When you see Martha Raively at the Convention, be sure to thank her for getting
this special venue arranged for you.
Let me mention some nice dining places mentioned by Martha.
The Rose Tattoo at 19th and Callowhill St., is diagonally across the street from
the east corner of the back of the Library parking lot. Housed in a 100 year old
Victorian building, it serves Lunch Monday-Friday 11:30 am - 3 pm. They serve
American Continental cuisine, with Soups, salads, excellent sandwiches, and
innovative and fine Lunch entrees. The average Lunch Entree would be about
$12 US. Don't miss their signature dessert - - a chocolate macadamia nut
brownie, served warm and topped with white chocolate, caramel, and vanilla
ice cream!
Just down the street a block, at 1804 Callowhill Street, is Sabrina's Cafe.
Open 8 am - 10 pm, Sabrina's features excellent sandwiches (including
vegetarian fare) as well as Brunch specials that range from Eggs Benedict
to stuffed French Toast to a Brisket Sandwich. You won't leave hungry, and the
prices are reasonable.
Other eating spots are King of Tandoor Indian and Doma Japanese, between
the Rose Tattoo and Sabrina's; a Starbucks across Callowhill from the Library
parking lot; and along Hamilton Street (the second street beyond the back of the
parking lot), in a little mall between 30th and 21st Streets, is an excellent
Chinese Restaurant called Long's.
Located at 2253 North Broad Street along the Avenue of the Arts, the Museum
specializes in the rare black dolls, and has over 300 black dolls in its collection.
The collection includes African, European, American Folk Art dolls, the renowned
Roberta Bell Doll Collection, American and internationally manufactured dolls
and more.
Open Thursday-Saturday 10 AM - 4 PM, and Sunday 12 PM - 4 PM.
Admission is $4 US for Adults and $3 US for Seniors.
If, annually, you watch the Parades on New Years Day in the U.S., and have had
a chance to view some of the Philadelphia Parade, you've seen the Mummers
marching. With their fabulous themed costumes, their precision marching, and
their lively banjo music, the Mummers are not only a hit, but a high point of every
parade in which they participate.
And, by golly, they have a Museum at 1100 South 2nd Street in Philadelphia.
With its rainbow-like front at the corner of 2nd Street and Washington Avenue,
you can't miss it. Inside, you'll be able to view, close-up, many of the colorful,
detailed, and imaginative costumes that have thrilled parade-viewers for years!
In addition, they have a gift shop that features dolls in Mummer costumes.
Open Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 9:30  - 4:30. Thursday 9:30- 9:30.
Admission is $3.50 for Adults; $2.50 for Seniors (show AARP card).
The Franklin Museum is really a Science Museum, and of great interest to kids
or grandkids, or for that matter to inquisitive, science-loving adults of any age.
It has an Observatory with a Zeiss reflecting telescope that will let you get a
close look at the sun, a liquid air show, a show that reveals the science behind
fireworks, an exploration of Ben Franklin's inventions and ideas, an examination
of how a Segway works, and on and on.
For an extra fee ($5), you can take an out-of-this-world journey on a 4-D full
motion simulator with all sorts of special effects.
For an extra fee ($5), you can enter a flight simulator and "fly" a 2-seat T-33
jet trainer (the same simulator that has trained countless jet pilots).
Finally (my favorite), for an extra $3, you can ride the sky bike. You'll be 28 feet
above the ground, pedaling a 2-wheel bike along a 60 foot long, 1 inch diameter
cable! Not to worry, though. Hanging down from the bicycle is a 250 pound
weight that shifts the center of gravity to a point beneath the cable, so you
can't tip over and fall.
And when you're through, you can get a job with the Circus !
The Museum also has an IMAX Theater with incredible films. Those playing
currently are Legends of Flight , Arabia, and Forces of Nature.
The Franklin Institute is at 20th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The
parking garage entrance is located behind the building at the intersection of
21st Street and Winter Street. Oversize vehicles will not fit into the garage.
The height limit is 6'3" (1.9 m). Bring your parking ticket to the Box Office for
validation in order to receive reduced rates. (Regular rates for parking are
$20 US for 2 - 12 hours. The Reduced rate for Museum visitors is $12 US for
up to 5 hours.)
The Museum is open 9:30 AM - 5 PM every day.
Admission is $15.50 US for Adults; $14.50 for Seniors (62 and over).
Admission plus Theater would be $4.00 to $5.50 additional.
IMAX Theater-only would be $9.00 US.
Yes, the popular Freebie Table will be at Philadelphia !!
When it's opened at the Convention, you'll want to be there to go through the
goodies and spirit away your favorites.
Those who would like to donate items to the Freebie Table, just bring them to
the Convention, and give them to Sondra Leeds. There's no need to tell Sondra
what you're bringing.
In addition to the Silent Auction, Philadelphia will have the traditional raffle for
the wonderful items that are called "Helpers".
Those who would like to donate items to the Helpers Raffle may just bring
them to the Convention and give them to Sondra Leeds (yes, Sondra's
in charge of the raffle as well).
However, David Wolfe is keeping track of what's coming, so please email
David at and tell him what you're bringing.
We'll be back in two weeks with even more places to see (or sea).
- - Garth
                               August 17 - 21, 2011
                  Embassy Suites - Philadelphia Airport
                               9000 Bartram Avenue
                            Philadelphia,  PA  19153
                          CONVENTION REGISTRATION
CITY_______________________STATE_______ ZIP/PC__________
Registration:  $295.00 USD 
Absentee Registration:  $155.00 USD
  (Absentee Registrations are limited in number.)
Guest Registration (Meals, Reception Party) $150.00
  GUEST NAME:__________________________________________
Make Checks payable to:  2011 Paper Doll Convention
____ Check/money order enclosed
____ Credit Card #____________________________Exp.Date______
        (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, AmEx accepted)
        (charge will appear on statement as "Paperdoll Review")
Mail to:
David Wolfe
P.O. Box 2279
New Preston,  CT  06777

Monday, June 13, 2011

Paper Doll Studio, Issue #99

Another terrific issue by Jenny Taliadoros and company. I'm bowled over by the talent in the paper doll community! And looking forward to seeing many of these artists at the convention in August.

Click on images to read more details about this colorful issue, and for information on how to order your copy, or better yet, to subscribe.

Subscribing to Paper Doll Studio is a good place to start to stay up to date on your favorite artist, and to show your support for the work they do! Click here to order online.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Little Nemo's Bear, 1907


A New York Herald supplement, 1907. I posted this cut-out four years ago on my first blog.  I'm posting Little Nemo's Bear once again because I'm taking him to the convention as my entry in the convention competition.  A first for me!

Winsor McKay's Little Nemo is considered one of the most beautiful and imaginative comic strips ever created, in the days when comic pages (and newspapers!) were large and had little competition for a child's attention. I love it because it touches on so many things fascinating to me: New York newspaper history, turn-of-the century comic strips and great illustration. It's one of my favorites.

Here's Garth Lax on the competition and other convention activities:

                            LET  FREEDOM  RING !
                                      Email # 11
If you've never put a paper doll into competition before, the process is
easy and painless. Of course, you must be registered for the Convention,
but there's no entry fee, you get to arrange your own entry as you wish
within the space that you specify, you may well find that your entry
wins a ribbon, and most of all, you'll be "sharing" your paper doll
treasure with all the other collectors.
Best of all, not only is the Entry Fee Zero, but any Ribbon that you win
is yours to keep with pride; and the excitement and value of the
Competition experience are Priceless.
At Philadelphia 2011, the Competition will be different from those of
past Conventions.
There will be four time-based Divisions:
Early 20th Century 1900-1940
Mid-Century 1941-1960
Contemporary 1961-2011
There will be no Categories within those time periods.
There will be no teams of expert Judges.
Instead, within each Division, it will be a "My Favorite Paper Doll"
Each person will be able to enter only one Paper Doll per Division,
or a maximum of four if they enter one in each Division.
In each Division your entry may be a Paper Doll or a Paper Toy. 
It may be old or new, cut or uncut, mint or "played with".
It may be in any form - - book or boxed or magazine or newspaper.
It may be Advertising or non-Advertising, commercial or hand-made
or Original Art.
It doesn't matter.  It just has to be your Favorite.
The only restriction is that you may not re-enter an item that you
entered and was judged in the past five years.
The Judging will be by everyone at the Convention. As folks view
the entries, they'll be able to fill out a form that lists their top choices
- - a lot like the Popular Voting process at previous Conventions.
There will be 4 Top Winners, one for each Division, and the one lucky
paper doll that gets the most votes across all four Divisions will be
honored as "The Convention's Favorite Paper Doll" and will receive
a very special award.
Entering is easy. Just select one Paper Doll to enter for any or one for each
Division, fill out the forms in your Registration Packet, and you're all set.
Lori Lawson is in charge of the Competition for Philadelphia. If you have
a question, you can ask Lori at
So - - put on your thinking cap and start pondering which are your
favorite paper dolls that you'll be entering in the Competition !!
(That's really the hard part, isn't it??)
At every evening event as well as the Sunday Farewell, there will be
a Program. Some are informative, some are fun, some are both - -
but every one is riveting!  Let's see what Philadelphia will have for you:
On the Wednesday evening, at the Get-Together, the Program series
will open with a Blockbuster - - Norma Lu Meehan's
"Paper Dolls - Fashion's Archives".
In this Power Point presentation you're going to see stunningly
beautiful paper dolls of antiquity and Norma Lu's extensive fashion
knowledge melded into a fashion road map in a talk that has played
to enthusiastic SRO crowds in the US Mid-West. 
You definitely don't want to miss this one !!
On the Thursday evening, your Program will be fun and challenging
as Jenny Taliadoros gets your mental juices flowing with a Trivia Game.
But not just any Trivia Game. This one will be Paper Doll Trivia !!
Each table will constitute a team, and everyone at the table will work
to come up with the answers to Jenny's Paper Doll trivia questions!
Whichever table gets the most answers correct will be the winner!
And everyone at that table will receive a prize!!
So start brushing up on your PD knowledge. Time's a-wastin'  !!
On Friday night, the theme will be Colonial, and the program
will be "Colonial Fashions", presented by Brenda Sneathen Mattox,
an expert in the fashions of centuries past.
Brenda will focus on the period 1789 - 1800, a decade in which the
change in women's dress was the most radical in centuries. 
"A tiny waist was no longer a requirement.  Heavy skirts disappeared.
Outer clothes started to look like underwear, for heavens sake! 
Shocking! " - - to quote Brenda.
As you can see, Brenda's program will be filled with accurate fashions,
concise information, and a presentation style that will bring smiles to all.
On Saturday evening, the theme will be High Society, and the program
will be "Grace Kelly", presented by Lorna Currie Thomopoulos.
Synonymous with cool elegance and impeccable taste, Grace Kelly
remains a style icon of the twentieth century. Lorna's program will
follow her influence on fashion from her glamorous movie career
to her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco, and her subsequent life
as Princess Grace and the mother of Prince Albert and Princesses
Caroline and Stephanie.
Lorna's presentation will have all the biographical details, and will be
filled with inside observations and dishy details (and rumours) along
the way. "Grace Kelly" will be a highlight of the Convention!
Sunday morning, at the Farewell Gathering, you're in for another treat.
Scott Jorgenson will present "Collecting Fashion in Cloth and Paper".
Searching for genuine vintage treasures in thrift shops or on the Internet
is a quest for fashion history that has been worn in the past - -
a quest from which Scott has amassed a collection of over 500 pieces.
Scott, an expert on Vintage Fashion, will explain how collecting vintage
fashion is the same whether it is made of fabric or print for paper dolls.
He will share some stories about his never-ending quest for special
fashions and show how those very same styles have been illustrated
by paper doll artists in years gone by as well as today. 
How are those for great Programs ??!! 
- - Garth
                               August 17 - 21, 2011
                  Embassy Suites - Philadelphia Airport
                               9000 Bartram Avenue
                            Philadelphia,  PA  19153
                          CONVENTION REGISTRATION
CITY_______________________STATE_______ ZIP/PC__________
Registration:  $295.00 USD 
Absentee Registration:  $155.00 USD
  (Absentee Registrations are limited in number.)
Guest Registration (Meals, Reception Party) $150.00
  GUEST NAME:__________________________________________
Make Checks payable to:  2011 Paper Doll Convention
____ Check/money order enclosed
____ Credit Card #____________________________Exp.Date______
        (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, AmEx accepted)
        (charge will appear on statement as "Paperdoll Review")
Mail to:
David Wolfe
P.O. Box 2279
New Preston,  CT  06777

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Pony Boy, 1909

The excellent Duke Digital archive has been revamped. Great sheet music art.  Music from a Ziegfeld show called "Miss Innocence" with Anna Held, who no doubt held the reins of her "Pony Boy."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another Brenda Starr mystery

c. 1947, another Starr featured player. Would love to know the story line that accompanied these characters.