Paper dolls – Treasures of childhood

Paper dolls are among the simplest and most inexpensive of toys, yet they have provided great entertainment for children and adults around the world for centuries. These dolls are usually two-dimensional and usually made of paper, but can also be made of other materials such as cloth, wood, or plastic, and can be figures of people, animals, or inanimate objects (including various types of toys). ). These dolls are also considered to include three-dimensional dolls made entirely of paper.

Strictly speaking, the term “paper dolls” includes only dolls that have accompanying clothing or costumes, and the first dolls of this type were used in the fashion industries of France, Austria, Germany, and England in the mid-18th century. . These dolls were hand painted and intended to entertain adults. They were often used to display current fashions or to represent popular figures of the day. These types of dolls were first made in England and the United States in the early 19th century, and many beautifully crafted dolls were exported from Europe to the United States in the late 19th century. Although these dolls date only to the 1700s, the paper figures (without accompanying clothing or costumes) have been around for thousands of years. Asian cultures have used paper figures in ritual ceremonies for over 2,000 years, and other cultures have had special forms of paper folk art for centuries.

Paper dolls began to appear in magazines in the mid-19th century. The dolls, themselves, would be printed on one page, with the clothes and costumes (which could be hand-colored) printed on the next page. This practice became very popular in the early 20th century and continues today. Dolls also began appearing in newspapers in the 1890s. They provided cheap entertainment and were especially popular during the Great Depression, when money was tight and many people could not afford to spend much on entertainment.

In the 1940s and 1950s, dolls also began to appear in comics, including many published by Archie Comics, Atlas Comics, Eclipse Comics, GAY comics, DC Comics, Fawcett Publishing, National Periodical Publications, Renegade Press, and Star Comics. .

Manufactured paper dolls designed by talented artists were very popular in the 1940s and 1950s. There were many excellent artists, including Betty Bell, Doris Butler, Rachel Dixon, Maud Fangel, Irene Geiger, Queen Holden, Miriam Kimbal, Mary Knight, Ann Kovach, Kathy Lawrence, Avis Mac, Maybell Mercer, Hilda Miloche, Jean Morse, Ruth Newton, Rose O’Neill, Fern Peat, Nan and George Pollard, Louise Rumely, Florence Salter, Merily Sharpe, Ethel Simms, Judy Stang, Ethel Taylor and EA Voss.

Some of these artists’ publishers included American Greetings Company, Hobby House Press, Merrill Publishing Company, Saalfield Publishing Company, Samuel Lowe Publishing Company, Western Publishing Company, and Whitman Publishing Company.

Some doll characters were short-lived, but others have continued to this day. A partial list includes A Date with Judy, Angel Babies, Baby Patsy, Baby Shower, Barbie and Ken, Beth Ann, Betty and Veronica, Blondie, California Girls, Carolyn Lee, Dennis the Menace, Hair-do Dolls, Judy Garland, Katy Keene, Millie the model, Misty, My Girl Pearl, Neil the horse, Patsy and Hedy, Sugar and Spike, Dionne Quints, Tiny Tot Shop, and Vicki Valentine. The list also includes many popular Disney characters, celebrities, and movie stars, starting with Silent Screen favorites.

Paper dolls remain very popular and are a beloved childhood treasure, both as fun toys for children and to the delight of collectors of all ages.

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