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.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Women Doll Artists; Ruth Marianna Handler

No modern doll has become as iconic as Barbie, the teenage fashion model creation of Ruth Marianna Handler. Handler and her husband Elliot were creative and forward-thinking business people and the founders of the toy company Mattel. Inspired by watching her daughter play with paper dolls, Handler wanted to create a three-dimensional adult paper doll with as extensive a wardrobe and accessories as her two-dimensional sisters. On a trip to Europe, Handler came upon a Bild Lilli doll. Lilli was a comic character who appeared in the German newspaper Bild. She was a curvy blond bimbo who dressed in tight-fitting or revealing clothing.  Her cartoon became so popular, she was made into a promotional doll, but as a mascot for adults, not a toy for children. However, Handler saw in the lascivious Lilli the all-American girl she wanted to create. She reworked the design to better fit her vision and Barbie (named after the Handler's daughter) was born, debuting at the New York toy fair on March 9, 1959.   Barbie became the billion-dollar baby for Mattel, her world expanding to include her boyfriend Ken and other friends and family, endless dresses and accessories reflecting the newest fashions, and a vast variety of careers. 

These beautiful Barbies belong to member Jenell Howell.  The center doll is the Number 1 Barbie, with feet that fit over rods in her stand.  The other two are the Number 3 Barbie introduced in 1960.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Lucky Black Cat

Today is Friday the 13th, considered an unlucky day by some.  Black cats in many parts of the world are also considered a symbol of bad luck.  However, any collector coming across this rather fierce looking feline would be considered lucky.   This is a Felix the Cat as interpreted by the English toy company Chad Valley in the early 1920s. Of black and white mohair, with jointed limbs and a hunched back, he is 14 inches tall.  He is in overall good condition with his original bow. The eyes are old glass, but are replacements, as he should have glass black and white eyes (the prominent eyes are very vulnerable to loss). 

Felix appeared in 1919 in silent animated short cartoons.  The first Felix had a prominent snout and long pointed ears.  The imaginative and often surrealistic cartoons made Felix a favorite mascot for both children and adults and his image appeared on a wide variety of products, from toys to postcards to sheet music.  In 1924 Felix was redesigned with rounder, cuter features.  This Chad Valley Felix was inspired by the earlier, and one might say scary, version of Felix.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

July 2, 2018, Meeting

The refreshment table decorations were suitably patriotic for the upcoming Fourth of July.

Member Nancy Countryman did a program on bears created by artist Robert Raikes. She told the club that Robert Raikes began carving wood sculptures while still in school and continued carving during his stint in the military.  He carved everything from award-winning bird sculptures to carrousel horses.  When bears became popular in the 1980s, Raikes created bears with fabric bodies and individually hand-carved wooden faces.  The bears were so popular that Raikes entered into a contract with Applause, Inc., a toy company, who made versions of his bears with resin faces, although he continued to produce wooden-faced bears as well.   Nancy said that it appears that Raikes' company is no longer active.

This is a resin-faced bear made by Applause.

Although best known for his bears, Raikes created other animals, like these bunnies, as well as dolls, including his version of the famous Hitty.

Member Jenell Howell brought two beautiful vintage Madame Alexander dolls to share, a hard plastic bridesmaid doll with the Maggie mold face and an exquisitely outfitted composition Wendy Ann.

Wendy Ann has magnets in her hands and came with a variety of special objects that she could hold.

Pam Wolf, who is the United Federal of Doll Clubs Region 3 director, displayed a center piece she had won at a recent regional meeting.