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.


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