Saturday, November 21, 2009

More Patsy family dolls

With the phenomenal success of Patsy, Effanbee developed several other dolls with the same Patsy type face and right bent arm. These dolls were manufactured in the period from 1929 to 1946

First there was Patsy Ann, essentially a larger version of Patsy; Patsy Lou, Patsy Joan, Patsyette, Patsy Jr, and many others. All of the dolls have a typical Patsy-type face: chubby cheeks, puckered lips, short bobbed hair (some with molded headbands), painted side-glancing eyes or sleep eyes in all different colors with lashes, and a toddler proportioned body. Dolls are all composition. Some dolls came with mohair or caracul wigs.  There were also black versions of these dolls.

The dolls started to wane in popularity and in the last year of their manufacture, 1946, they were unmarked, otherwise, dolls are marked Effanbee and have the doll's name.

I have a Patsy Ann from the early 1930's and a Patsy Jr, from 1946. There's a big difference in the quality of the newer dolls versus the older dolls. I am guessing that when materials became scarce during World War 2, shortcuts had to be made. As you can see on my Patsy Jr from 1946, there is a top layer of paint that is peeling, revealing a lighter tint below. I've seen this on a few Patsy Jrs. Patsy Ann, however, looks almost as good as the day she was purchased. Patsy Ann wears an original dress (don't you love the penguins?) and shoes, and Patsy Jr wears a vintage mommy-made onesie and old oilcloth shoes.

Patsy Ann is 19 inches tall, and Patsy Jr is 11 inches tall. There were plenty of imitators during the years of Patsy's popularity, but one good way to identify your doll, if she is unmarked, is to closely check the pattern in the molded hair. It's unique to Patsy dolls. It's generally straight, slightly parted in the middle, and curves on her cheeks. Some dolls have the molded headband. Patsys did not come with bow loops (a loop of composition through which you can thread a ribbon.)

Patsy's face is so endearing - no wonder she had so many imitators!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ginny, Jill and Jeff

Vogue Dolls, Inc. was created by Mrs Jennie Graves and grew from humble roots as a cottage industry, to be the largest doll-only manufacturer in the world. In 1957 Vogue bought the Arranbee doll company and used their R & B doll molds for a few years.

In the late 1940's, with the advent of hard plastic being used for doll manufacturing, Mrs Graves developed a little doll who was to be named after her daughter, Virginia (Ginny.) Ginny dolls are only eight inches tall, but came with extensive wardrobes and accessories that Mrs Graves designed herself.

These dolls are highly sought after and changed in small ways through the years. The earliest dolls had painted lashes and eyes and had molded hair under their wigs. Later dolls had molded eyelashes, sleep eyes, and came as bent leg walkers. Dolls are often marked Ginny and/or Vogue. Ginny connoisseurs will say that the best Ginnys have a hard plastic head and body (later dolls had vinyl heads).

Of course, a successful doll always has extended family. In 1957, Vogue introduced Jill (1957 - 1965), Ginny's big sister, and then in 1958, Jan came on board. Jan was Jill's best friend. Ginny and Jill also had a brother, named Jeff (1958-1961), who was Jan's boyfriend. There was even a baby sister, named Ginette (1955 - 1969). Jill and Jan are 10 1/2 inches tall, Jeff is 11 inches tall, and Ginny and Ginette are eight inches tall. Dolls are marked Vogue either on the head or the back.

Jill and Jan are teen dolls. My Jill is an early Jill, with a grayer skin than later Jills, and a pony tail instead of a bubble hair cut. She wears a vintage untagged dress. Jeff  is wearing original clothes tagged Vogue. My Ginny is wearing an original tagged Ginny dress. Together, they make a cute slice of 1950 's Americana.

Mrs Graves refused to advertise on television, so Barbie overtook sales of Ginny and Ginny faded into obscurity before becoming popular again with collectors. Thankfully, there are plenty of people who appreciate Ginny, Jill, and Jeff.