Thursday, October 22, 2009

Arranbee Debu'teen

The Three Graces and a Muse
The Arranbee doll company is known among collectors for creating dolls with beautiful faces. One of these dolls, aimed towards the pre-teen market, was called Debu'teen. As her name implies, this teen doll was intended to be a debutante - or the age at which a girl entered society and was considered to be grown-up.

Debu'teen was made only for two or three years, from what I can tell, between 1938 and 1940. She came in various sizes, from 11" to 22" tall. The larger dolls had cloth bodies, one that was designed so that the doll could be seated more easily. Debu'teen came with beautiful clothes designed to appeal to older girls.

I have four Debu'teen dolls. All are unmarked (not uncommon for these dolls) but are distinguishable by their facial molds, which strongly resemble a larger version of the Mary Hoyer face mold. There is a second face mold doll that I unfortunately don't own, that has wider set eyes and a wider mouth. Three of my dolls have mohair wigs and one has a synthetic wig which may not be original to the doll, although it is certainly very old. It feels like a very early version of saran.

I nicknamed my dolls the Three Graces and a Muse since they are so beautiful and delicate. They all have composition bodies. The larger dolls are 18 inches tall, and the smaller one (which may be a Vogue doll that used the Debu'teen face mold) is 14 inches tall. They all wear their original clothing, with the exception of the blue dress, which is a replica of an original costume. They are truly stunning, dressed in heavy satins, netting, and lace!

Nancy Lee (also made by Arranbee) often gets confused with Debu'teen, but when seen side by side, it's obvious that their faces are quite different. To see more Debu'teen dolls, you can visit Carol Pope restores these dolls to their original beauty and does a great job!


  1. Hi Doll Land Blog, I am a freelancer writer for Doll Collector, Scott looking for pictures of the vintage dolls of the 1930-60's. Would I be permitted to use some of your pix? Please contact me Thanks, Lynn.

  2. Hi there,
    You mention a second face mold in your article above. Can you be a little more specific about this? I love the Debu'teen dolls too and have quite a few but I was never aware of a second mold. Do you have a picture that you could send me for comparison? Thanks so much.
    Mary Pat, Raleigh, North Carolina

    1. hi Mary Pat - I found an image of the other mold. It's slightly different with wider eyes and mouth, while still retaining that teen doll look of the 40s. Looks like these may have been made towards the end of production, but I would have to do some more research.;