Sunday, July 12, 2009

Arranbee Nancy Lee

One of Effanbee's major competitors was the R&B Doll Company (Arranbee). Arranbee came out with teen dolls about the same time that Effanbee came out with Little Lady. Arranbee's teen composition dolls were marketed as Debu'teen and Nancy Lee. Their bodies and faces are more slim than Effanbee's teen doll (more about Debu'teen in another post.)

Nancy Lee has an all composition body and came with fashionable costumes, the same as Little Lady. Nancy Lee has a slender teen body, mohair wig, sleep eyes, and closed mouth. My Nancy Lee is 18 inches tall, and when she came to me, her face paint was damaged. She has since been repaired and wears her original oil cloth shoes. She is dressed like Little Red Riding Hood in an original rayon dress and cape. The rayon dates her to the World War 2 era when rayon was a popular dressmaking material. She is marked R&B on the back of her head.

In the late 1930's, Arranbee manufactured a line of Nancy Lee dolls dressed as Southern Belles, due to the unending popularity of Gone With the Wind. These costumes rivaled those of Madame Alexander dolls and were made of taffeta and tulle.

Teen dolls of this era fascinate me. Unlike the smiling toothed baby dolls of the same era, teen dolls were neutral faced and had closed mouths. They were made to resemble more closely the fashion models of their day. They were the perfect doll for girls who had outgrown their baby dolls but weren't quite ready to stop playing with dolls altogether.

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