The Austin Doll Collectors Society is an organization of antique, vintage, and modern doll collectors, dealers, and artisans. We meet on the first Monday of each month and our meetings are fun and educational. We begin with refreshments and socializing, and, following our brief business meeting, there is a special doll-related program and "show and tell." The Austin Doll Collectors Society is a nonprofit organization and is a member of the United Federation of Doll Clubs.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

This cute colleen is from member Pam Wolf. This little doll is a resin Bleuette from Ruby Red Galleria and is wearing a jumpsuit Pam made from a 1920s pattern.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Mikado

On March 14, 1885, Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera "The Mikado" premiered in London at the Savoy Theatre. This 7-inch tall bisque Asian doll by the German company of Simon and Halbig Oriental doll could be part of the Mikado cast with her original mohair wig and silk kimono embroidered with butterflies. She has molded blue slippers with up-turned toes.

Monday, March 12, 2018

A Good Scout

On March 12, 1912, Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts in Savannah, Georgia. This sweet little 8-inch tall scout belongs to member Sylvia McDonald. She is "Ginger" by Cosmopolitan Doll Company and was used by the Terri Lee Doll Company for their scout doll. Her dress and panties are tagged "Terri Lee."

Saturday, March 10, 2018

March 5, 2018, Meeting

To commemorate the approaching St. Patrick's Day, the refreshment table was decked out in green.

Member Elaine Jackson did a program on Schoenhut dolls.  The company was started by Albert Schoenhut, a German immigrant from Germany.  The company's first success was a toy piano and by 1903 Schoenhut was producing circus characters and other toys out of wood.  In 1911, the first Schoenut doll was produced.  The dolls were created out of wood and could hold any pose thanks to a  clever system of internal springs.  They had holes in their feet and wore special shoes and socks with matching openings.  The holes could be used to fit the dolls on a special stand which allowed the dolls to stand, pose on tiptoe, and even balance on one leg.  The early dolls had character faces created by an Italian artist, but the faces were criticized as looking too old and serious.  Albert's son, Harry, later redesigned the faces to represent younger children.

In order to compete with the sweet-faced German bisque dolls, Schoenhut later introduced a doll with more doll-like features, like the little brunette girl in this picture. 

Schoenhut also expanded its line to include all-wood toddler and infant dolls.  The baby has a typical bent-limb body, but the toddler is fully jointed.

Schoenhut later struggled to compete with the lighter and less expensive bisque and composition dolls.  In 1921, Harry patented sleeping wooden eyes.  However, by 1935 the company declared bankruptcy.

Other members brought Schoenhut dolls to share.  This little girl belongs to Myrna Loesch, who carefully restored her and repainted her face.  

This little girl belongs to Bette Birdsong.  She is in nearly mint condition.  Although her dress may not be original, it is from the period. 

Jenell Howell brought several examples to share.

This little girl has the very desirable carved hair.

This charming child wears her factory original "union suit."

Sue Smith brought this example of a Pinn Family doll.  Albert's youngest son, Otto, started the Otto Schoenhut Company in 1935 and one of the company's offerings was the wooden Pinn Family, created out of wooden clothespins. This is the daughter of the family, Beauty Pin.  She is missing her yarn hair.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

First Lady

Today, in 1959, the Barbie doll made her debut at the American Toy Fair in New York. However, Barbie was not the first modern doll with a shapely female figure, feet molded for high heels, and an extensive fashion wardrobe. That honor goes to Cissy, an elegant lady doll introduced by Madame Alexander in 1955. This 20-inch tall Cissy is all original and wears Style 2082 from 1956.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Hina-matsuri or Girls' Day

March 3rd is Hina-matsuri, also known as Girls' Day, in Japan. The holiday is celebrated by setting up multi-tiered platforms on which are seated elaborately dressed dolls representing the ancient emperor and empress and their court, accompanied by exquisite lacquer miniature furniture and accessories. These traditional dolls are called hina-ningyo. This beautifully modeled and dressed doll is known as a sosaku-ningyo (art doll). Beginning in the 1920s, some younger Japanese doll artists moved away from traditional Japanese dolls. Although the artists used traditional doll-making methods and materials, like gofun and silk, they created art dolls that strove to be more natural and life-like. This graceful geisha is 4.5 inches tall and comes dressed in her original silk kimono. Although her arms are slightly jointed (perhaps to aid in dressing her), the rest of her body is a single piece. She is also anatomically correct.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Texas Independence Day

On this day in 1836 the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed. This tiny Texan is a 1.5 inch tall all-bisque doll in his original crochet costume. He is from the German firm of Carl Horn, who specialized in miniature dolls from 1906 through the 1930s.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Black History Month; Heubach Koppelsdorf

This 9-inch tall little boy is from the collection of member Jenell Howell. He is by Heubach Koppelsdorf and has a bisque head on a composition body. Dressed in what might be his original bellhop outfit, he likely dates from 1919 to 1932.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Black History Month; Another All-Bisque Girl

This 6-inch tall barefoot all-bisque doll is attributed to Kestner. The wig is original and the dress old.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Black History Month; S.F.B.J. Lady

This Black lady doll belongs to member Myna Loesch. This lovely lass is approximately 10 inches tall with a composition body and bisque painted head. She may have been clothed to represent Martinique (her turban is replaced). The maker is Société Française de Fabrication de Bébés et Jouets, known by its initials "S.F.B.J." In 1899 the remaining French doll manufacturers joined together to form S.F.B.J. in an attempt to survive competition by German doll makers.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Black History Month; Hanna

This tropical tot is Hanna by Schoenau and Hoffmeister. She is all original and is 7.5 inches with a fired bisque complexion. Hanna came in her original box with the palm tree, which is stamped "Germany" on its composition base. She is incised "Hanna" on the back of her head, as well as with the Schoenau mark of a "S" and "H" separated by a star.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Black History Month; South African Zulu Doll

This beautiful doll is from the collection of member Sylvia McDonald and represents a woman from the Zulu tribe. She is made of stuffed felt and elaborately decorated with amazing beadwork, for which the Zulus are famous. The Zulu tribe is one of the several tribes in South Africa. These distinctive dolls were made in the 1950’s and 1960’s by Zulu women at the Red Cross Rehabilitation Center in Durban, South Africa.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Black History Month; Cotton Joe

This is Cotton Joe from the collection of member Myrna Loesch. He was made by the Horsman Company from 1910 to 1916. Joe is 10 inches tall with a "Can't Break Em" composition brown head with painted features, hard stuffed tan cloth body, and olive cloth legs. He came wearing a red or striped shirt with brown or khaki suspender pants; some may have had a straw hat and was one of the original American Kids in Toyland series. This example has replaced clothes and repainted facial features.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Black History Month; All-Bisque Doll by Simon and Halbig

Continuing our showcasing of Black dolls for Black History Month, this 9 inch tall all-bisque doll is attributed to the German company of Simon and Halbig. She wears her original red and ecru striped knee length knit swimsuit with ecru ribbon straps, black knit socks and black leatherette slippers on her bare feet, and is marked "4//836" back of her head.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Black History Month; Meet Jada

This adorable African-American girl is from the collection of member Sylvia McDonald. Her name is Jada and she was created by artist Helen Kish as a friend for Kish's Riley doll.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Black History Month

The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by African-Americans, sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926. Schools, churches, and communities would organize local celebrations and lectures. Cities began issuing proclamations recognizing Negro History Week and by the 1970s college campuses began designating February as Black History month. In 1976, as part of America's bicentennial, President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month. Black dolls are an important part of doll history, so in commemoration of Black History Month, our club will be sharing examples of Black dolls. This 7 inch tall wax doll of an African-American woman selling chickens was created in New Orleans by the Vargas family. The patriarch of this artistic family was Francisco Vargas. He was born in Mexico, where he had been trained in making wax religious sculptures. Francisco immigrated to the United States and in 1875 set up a shop in New Orleans selling his wax sculptures. Instead of religious images, Vargas created realistic looking flowers, fruits and human figures. The Vargas figures are made of beeswax and dressed in fabric that had been dipped in hot wax and draped over the doll. His children and grandchildren continued the family tradition up through 1930s. Many of the figures were sold as souvenirs and are based on vendors seen on the streets of New Orleans. Under her base, a black and silver label reads “Harriet’s 318 Royal Street New Orleans.”

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February 5, 2018, Meeting

For our February meeting, the refreshment able was decked out in a festive Mardi Gras theme. 

Member Sharon Weintraub did a program on frozen Charlottes and Charlies. These unjointed bisque and china children are typically frozen into a standing position. Early doll collectors dubbed these dolls "Frozen Charlottes" after the the old American folk ballad called “Fair (or sometimes Young) Charlotte,” which tells the sad tale of a beautiful young woman who foolishly refuses her mother's advice to dress warmly and subsequently freezes to death on a sleigh ride to a Christmas Eve ball. However, these figurines are actually German in origin, where they were called badekinder (bathing children). Produced in Germany beginning in the 1860s, they were offered as children’s playthings and bath toys (some, like the little boy at the top left in yellow and white striped bathing trunks will actually float when placed in water).

The little girl on the left is a bank with a slot on her back for coins.  Not too many seem to have survived, because the only way to reclaim your savings is the literally break the bank!

Although many badekinder are nude, they also can be found in molded clothing. 

Some frozen Charlottes wore wigs.

Frozen Charlottes also appear in novelty items, such as this the badekinder in a bottle.

This early china Charlotte is beautifully dressed an antique bridal gown of silk and net.  Sometimes a doll would be dressed a scraps left over from making the bridal gown to commemorate the happy occasion.

Other members brought Frozen Charlottes to share.  This diminutive doll belongs to Beverly Evans.

This tiny child is a family heirloom belonging to Elaine Jackson.

Sylvia McDonald brought this bisque-headed baby character by the Japanese firm of Morimura for show and tell.  

Thursday, January 25, 2018

January 8, 2018, Meeting

 This month's program asked members to bring a favorite doll and tell the club why this doll was so special.  Peggy Lenke shared this well loved Ginny doll from her childhood.

Jenell Howell told the club about her new infatuation, her first American Girl doll.

Sue Smith brought this handmade Cabbage Patch that she received on Christmas. . . 

and this pair of carved wood American folk dolls.

More wooden dolls, brought by Elaine Jackson.  These hand carved dolls were created by an Austin doll artist, Nancy Grobe.  Grobe unfortunately had to give up doll making when she developed arthritis in her hands.

Sylvia McDonald brought this beautiful antique Bye-Lo baby.  The doll was given to Sylvia by an elderly member of her church; she told Sylvia that the doll was a gift from her father to her mother on their first Christmas together.

Sallie Howard proudly displayed her award-winning nearly-mint composition Deanna Durbin doll.

Beverly Evans brought this reproduction of a rare character doll called Mein Liebling by the German firm of Kammer and Reinhardt and told the club how she enjoys dressing her in different outfits and changing her wig.  

Another vintage composition doll, a childhood doll brought by Nancy Countryman.

Michele Thelen shared these two Flexy dolls by Ideal from the 1930s.  The girl represents actress Fanny Brice as her character "Baby Snooks," and the other is Mortimer Snerd, one of the dummies used by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen.

Pam Wolf brought this Toodles baby doll by American Character and an antique ball-jointed doll by German maker J.D. Kestner.  She told the club how she had won the Kestner at a raffle at an annual United Federation of Doll Clubs convention. 

Faydra Jones created this doll.  She said that this is the first doll she made using a wire armature.

This unusual bisque piano baby with a swivel neck belongs to Sharon Weintraub.  Sharon explained that the figurine was found by her parents while her father was teaching in England many years ago.  Her mother had tried to draw a picture of it in a letter to Sharon and Sharon told the club that while her mother had many talents, drawing was not one of them.