Thursday, July 2, 2009

Effanbee Little Lady / Anne Shirley

Before there was Barbie, there were teen dolls for older girls, and every major doll manufacturer had their own model of a teen doll.

F & B (Effanbee) doll company used a Dewees Cochran mold to make a doll modeled after a popular teen actress of the 1930's, Anne Shirley. Anne Shirley, whose real name was Dawn Evelyn Paris, played the popular heroine Anne of Green Gables on film in 1934. The film proved so successful with young audiences, that Dawn took the name Anne Shirley in real life and made it her own.

Effanbee's Little Lady doll, or sometimes Anne Shirley, doesn't strongly resemble the actress who had her name, but the name alone was enough to ensure sales. Effanbee offered Little Lady for 20 years, from 1939-1959. The one major difference that I have seen, between the dolls called Little Lady and Anne Shirley, is that Anne Shirley dolls often come with human hair wigs, while the Little Ladies have mohair wigs. During WW2, when materials were scarce, the dolls had floss wigs. The only good way to tell, is to check the maker's marks. Anne Shirley dolls are marked Anne Shirley on the back of their heads, while the Little Ladies are marked Effanbee USA.

Outfits for Effanbee's teen doll were grown-up and stylish. As you can see from my Little Lady doll, she is ready to go to her high school prom. Her dress, underwear, socks and shoes are original. She has a beautiful original full mohair wig and is marked Effanbee USA on the back of her head, and on her back. Her paint is original - she looks like she's been lovingly cared for over the decades.