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.
An exceptional seamstress and designer, Jennie Adler Graves opened the Ye Olde Vogue Doll Shoppe in 1922. She began by creating outfits and trousseaus for "Just Me," a wistful googly-eyed character doll by the German maker Armand Marseille. The dolls ranged from 8 to 11 inches. This 9-inch tall toddler is an example of the Just Me, and although she has her original dress, shoes, and socks, they are not from Grave's talented fingers.
In 1948, Graves introduced an 8-inch hard plastic doll. The doll was so popular that Graves designed her own version, christening her creation "Ginny," after her own daughter, Virginia. Ginny and her extensive wardrobe were a huge hit and inspired a new generation of 8-inch tall play dolls. This trio of early Ginny dolls, plus Ginny's canine companion, Sparky, belong to member Jenell Howell. The company Graves started is still in existence today as the Vogue Doll Company and is still making a version of Ginny.
Georgene Averill was more than a doll artist, as in 1915, she and her husband James Averill began a doll company that would operate for many years under a variety of names, including Averill Manufacturing Company, Georgene Novelties, and Madame Hendren. In 1926, Averill introduced one of her best known creations, Bonnie Babe, a bubbly baby with a lop-sided grin. Bonnie Babe was produced with a bisque head on a cloth body with composition limbs, as well as an all-bisque toddler with pink or blue one-strap shoes. This 4.5-inch tall version has brown sleep eyes. Her feline friend is the very scarce 1927 Tag, a 5-inch tall all-bisque cat that had a canine counterpart called Rag.
Today is World Doll Day. World Doll Day was established in 1986 by doll collector and artist Mildred Seeley. What better way to celebrate than by sharing this recent delightful display of 106 dolls for the Friendship International Culture Fair created by member Sylvia McDonald for her church. The dolls are from her extensive collection of international dolls, but Sylvia managed to slip in four of her childhood dolls just for fun. She creates this display every year, but Sylvia stated this is her largest so far. Sylvia said that it is easy to get her dolls out of their cases, but that it is a real job to put them all back, as they seem to enjoy their time outside. This photograph is by Keith Mitchell.
Born in 1874, Rose O'Neill demonstrated her artistic talents early when at the age of 13 she won an newspaper art contest. By the age of 19, she was living in New York City as a professional artist, illustrating books, magazine articles, and advertisements. In the December 1909 issue of Ladies' Home Journal O'Neill's most famous creation appeared, the chubby cheerful Kewpie, whom O'Neill described as "a sort of little round fairy whose one idea is to teach people to be merry and kind at the same time". Her Kewpie cartoons were a popular hit and in 1912 the German doll company J.D. Kestner began to manufacture her appealing imps in bisque. Kewpie dolls would later be made in cloth, celluloid, and composition, and O'Neill would expand her cast of Kewpieville characters to include others, such as the toddler Scootles and Doodle Dog, a canine companion to the Kewpies. O'Neill published and illustrated a number of children's books featuring her Kewpies, but she was much more than the creator of the Kewpie. She wrote and illustrated novels and books of poetry and continued to produce fine artwork. After studying with famed French sculptor Auguste Rodin, O'Neill created sculptural works as well. An ardent advocate for women's rights, O'Neill was active in the suffragist movement, creating cartoons and posters promoting the right of women to vote.
This trio of bisque Kewpie dolls belongs to member Beverly Evans. The pudgy pup is Doodle Dog.
This composition Kewpie was the childhood doll of member Sylvia McDonald and is wearing a dress crocheted by Sylvia's grandmother. Sylvia members her parents struggling (ultimately with success) to restring her beloved doll, using a strip of rubber from an old inner tube from the family car and a bent a coat hanger.
Sasha Morgenthaler (1893 - 1975) was a Swiss artist. She wanted to create dolls that realistically portrayed the innocence and individuality of children. Beginning in the 1940s, she began to create dolls in her studio. However, these individually-made dolls were expensive and Morgenthaler wanted to create a more affordable play doll that would appeal to children. In the 1960s, she created a series of play dolls, manufactured at various times in Germany and England through the 1980s. The dolls were renown for their serene hand-painted faces, poseable realistically-proportioned bodies, and and tan skin tones. Black dolls and babies were also produced.
Sasha dolls are very popular with collectors. These Sasha dolls belong to member Sylvia McDonald. She said that when her daughter was about nine years old, she received a Sasha girl and Sylvia made the doll's wardrobe. Later, Gregor and Baby Gregor joined the family, and Shelley received a Baby Sasha after she had girls of her own. Sylvia has always loved the Sasha dolls and over five years put together this family for herself.