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.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

June 3, 2019, Meeting

The refreshment table was decorated in red, white, and blue to commemorate Juneteenth.  The holiday, its name a blend of "June" and "nineteenth," commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas.

Proudly waving a Juneteenth flag, these two little all-bisque girls celebrate under the watchful eye of an antique cast iron bank.  The taller girl is attributed to the German firm of Gebruder Kuhnlenz and her little sister in her crocheted original outfit and straw hat is a little French all-bisque doll called a Lilliputien.

Holding her Juneteenth flag in one hand and cradling her Lilliputien doll, this all-bisque girl is by the German firm of Simon and Halbig.  She wears her original bathing costume.

Member Brenda Kaye White did a program on Betsy McCall dolls.  She told the club that Betsy began as a paper doll published in McCall's magazine in 1951 as a promotional item.  Although other publications had included paper dolls among their pages, Brenda Kaye explained that Betsy was different as she not only represented a young girl, but each page included a story about Betsy's latest adventure.  Betsy was a huge hit and little girls clamored for their mothers to buy the newest edition of McCall's.  Many fashion designers competed for the honor of designing costumes for Betsy and subsequently patterns were published for recreating Betsy's wardrobe both in doll and child sizes.  Brenda Kaye explained that Betsy's look and fashions in McCall's evolved over the years and her stories became more elaborate with the addition of family members.

This is the magazine that introduced Betsy to the world.

Brenda Kaye said that from 1952 to 1953, Ideal produced the first Betsy as a three-dimensional doll.  The doll was enormously successful.

American Character produced the next generation of Betsy beginning in 1957.  The dolls were made in a wide variety of sizes, from eight inches to a 14-inch doll with flirty eyes to a child-sized 36-inch tall version.  

Brenda Kaye said that these 8-inch Betsy dolls are the type she played with as a child.

In 1964 Uneeda produced Betsy as an 11.5-inch tall teenage doll.  Horsman began producing a doll using the Betsy McCall name beginning in 1971, but the dolls were generic and lacked Betsy's character and features.  The Rothschild Doll Company in 1986 made limited edition Betsy dolls to celebrate her 35th anniversary dolls and today the Robert Tonner Doll Company has reintroduced Betsy.

A number of members brought Betsy dolls from their collections.  Ann Meier shared this Betsy bride doll she received for Christmas when she was around eight or nine years old.

Ann Countryman brought several examples of eight-inch tall vintage Betsy dolls.

Sylvia McDonald had this example of a Rothschild Betsy.  She said she fell in love with the doll's face.

Myrna Loesch said that this 14-inch tall Betsy belonged to another little girl in her hometown and that her mother had later purchased it at an estate sale.

This Betsy was Myrna's childhood doll.  Myrna described how she could purchase outfits for her doll on display cards at the toy store.

This Betsy doll was created for the 2007 Betsy McCall convention held in San Antonio.

Sallie Howard shared several Betsy dolls from her collection.  She said that the nurse is by American Character while the little girl in pink is a limited edition doll by Tonner.

This is an Ideal Betsy.

Tonner made this Irish Betsy with auburn curls and an elaborately embroidered outfit.

This Betsy doll belongs to Anne Campbell.

Beverly Howard brought a batch of Betsy dolls.

She explained that the doll in red and white is not a Betsy McCall, but Sandra Sue, who also fit the patterns made for the Betsy dolls.

Jan Irsfeld brought this Cissy doll she dressed to honor Jillian Mercado, a fashion model who, because of muscular dystrophy, uses a wheelchair use.  The wheelchair is from American Girl and the dress is a copy of one modeled by Jullian.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Wide World of Dolls

Member Sylvia McDonald created this colorful display incorporating international dolls from her extensive collection for Friendship International. The dolls in the center represent countries where the attendees originated from while on the sides are dolls from every continent--even penguins for Antarctica.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

May 6, 2019, Meeting

Dressed in springtime finery, these Madame Alexander dolls greeted members at the refreshment table.

The program, given by President Faydra Jones, was about dolls that bring us joy.  Faydra said that many dolls bring happiness and that these are dolls we enjoy, but are willing to pass on to others.  She explained that when a person has a doll that brings joy, the person forms a deep and lasting connection with the doll and will always keep it.  Members were asked to share examples of dolls that bring them joy.  Brenda Kay White brought this doll, which she admitted is not her prettiest or rarest doll, but is the one that brings her the most joy.  She told the club that when she was in third grade, money was tight, but her mother did her best to ensure that Brenda and her brothers received gifts for Christmas, In addition to making each child a stuffed animal and a set of pajamas, their mother had saved enough S&H Green Stamps so that each child could select one toy.  At the stamp redemption center, Brenda saw this doll and fell in love, but her mother did not have enough stamps to get this doll and toys for her brothers.  While they were there, another shopper became angry with the center staff because they did not have a blanket in the color she wanted.  This shopper turned to Brenda's mother, handed her a bag full of Green Stamp books, and told her that she could have them because the woman was never coming back to the center again.  So Brenda was able to get her doll and has treasured her ever since.  Her nose is dented and her dress has been replaced, but Brenda said that this doll still brings her joy.

Bonnie Burch brought this Bonnie Braids doll.  As a child, she had a Bonnie Braids doll, but her mother gave it away while she was in college.  Bonnie bought this doll in memory of her childhood doll.

Bonnie told the club that she treasures this doll because it was given to her by a friend, who is now deceased.

Bonnie told the club that this doll is the first doll she made to win a blue ribbon.

Bette Birdsong bought this cloth doll by Martha Chase.  She said that she saw this doll at another member's home and each time she felt a need to pick it up and hold it.  Bette told the club that looking at the doll makes her happy.

Sylvia McDonald told the club that when she was a child, she had a beloved Patsy doll with a trunk full of clothing made by her mother.  The green sweater is the only piece remaining.  Sylvia said that after many years she has finally replaced her Patsy doll.  The Patsyette in red was purchased from the club's charity booth at its last doll show.  Sylvia described how other members found the perfect dress, shoes, socks, and other accessories for this little doll.

Elaine Jackson brought her childhood Toni doll.  When she was 10 years old, Elaine's mother told her that Santa could bring her either a new bicycle or a Toni doll.  Elaine could not decide which she wanted and Christmas day found she had a new bike.  After Christmas, her mother took her to the store and using money saved from her allowance, Elaine bought her own Toni doll.  Even though the doll was on sale, Elaine did not have enough money, so her mother helped her pay for it, but afterward deducted the debt from Elaine's allowance.  

This is the first Schoenhut doll Elaine purchased, after finding it at a United Federation of Doll Clubs convention.  Elaine said it was the first Schoenhut she had ever seen in person.

Jenell Howell brought this early K├Ąthe Kruse doll.  She had spotted the doll tucked in the corner of a massive doll collection.

This doll was made by a friend of Jenell's.  After her friend died, Jenell helped the woman's daughter arrange her mother's dolls at the memorial service and the daughter told Jenell to take one of the dolls in memory of her mother.

Sallie Howard brought this doll by Robin Woods.  She said that looking at her always makes her happy.

Michele Thelen brought this bevy of Barbies.  She told the club that Barbie was her first doll.  Michele explained that although many of the dolls are reproductions, their outfits are authentic.  She said that they bring back childhood memories of playing with her Barbie dolls.

Beverly Evans said that she likes dolls that speak to her and have expression, such as these smiling children.

Jan Irsfeld brought two examples of Madame Alexander Cissy dolls.  The one in the bead-encrusted gown is called "Crystal Elegance" and is a limited edition.  Jan said that she was drawn to the exquisitely detailed outfit.  The doll in blue Jan dressed herself, copying the dress from a picture in a fashion magazine.

Sharon Weintraub brought two examples of dolls she always wanted to add to her collection.  She said that she admired the French Fashion dolls on jointed wood bodies, but most were too costly and many did not have especially pretty faces or expressions.  Then she found this early example by Francois Gaultier.  The doll is dressed in an old beautifully tailored and hand sewn outfit, including layers of undergarments.  Pinned to the back of her slip is a yellowed note declaring in French "Margueritte of France, Sister of Francis the 1st."  This would indicate that the doll represents Margaret of Valois, but Sharon pointed out that if so, the doll should be more properly dressed in Elizabethan garb rather than a romanticized outfit of the Middle Ages.

Sharon also collects all-bisque animal dolls by Hertwig and Company of Germany.  She told the club that these tiny dolls came in several sizes, ranging from 2.5 inches to 1.5 inches.  Sharon said that the smallest sizes can be hard to find, especially for the rarer animals, like the glass-eyed cats.  Finally, after many years of searching, she found this tiny 1.5 inch "kitten" to add to her cat family.

Faydra wound up the program by talking about her favorite dolls.  She said that she was always drawn to the looks of the Patsy dolls, like this tiny wee Patsyette.  The other dolls she created.  The little bunny-eared babies she named "Bitty Bit Cuddle Dolls"   Faydra told the club that she posted the pattern for the baby dolls for free on the Internet and that it brings her great joy when people contact her and tell her how much they enjoyed making these dolls.  

Faydra said that this Black doll is the second doll she ever made.  She spun the wool for the hair and hopes someday to give the doll to a grandchild.