Friday, April 30, 2010

Fletcher Cut Out Post Card,1914

Another re-post from my old blog, just for Postcard Friendship Friday. The art is signed J. Alan Fletcher. You can see it is named "Butterfly" Japanese. The opera "Madame Butterfly" was produced for the first time in 1904, and I imagine its characters were well known and absorbed into the popular culture.

I've yet to see another Fletcher post card, but the back indicates there were many, many others. The hunt for these rare specimens is always part of the fun.

Be sure to check out Beth's site for more interesting postcards from around the world.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Paper Doll Studio, Issue No. 96

What a treat to find the Spring 2010 issue of PD Studio in my mailbox yesterday! Jenny has done it again: a full color issue of paper dolls of all kinds by contemporary artists. Lovely cover art (and back page art) by CharlotteWhatley.

Here's how to order your copy of this very collectible issue:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fairy silhouette and found paper dolls

Artist: Margaret Menamin Eshbaugh, 2008.

Margaret had an extraordinary eye and was exceptional with scissors. The 2010 Morgantown luncheon featured many items from her enormous collection of paper dolls, including hand-mades, as well as bridge tallies, greeting cards and books.

Margaret also had a knack for fitting pieces together, to create what she called "found" paper dolls: she'd find an illustration of a figure in a pattern book or catalog, then outfit the "found" paper doll with clothes from the same or a similar publication. Margaret sometimes also cut out pieces of furniture that would be just the right scale for the figure. All of her cut pieces, whether "found," newspaper, or hand-made, were tucked into small envelopes and labeled with as much information as she had. 

Below, front and back of a "found" paper doll, cut from a 1931 pattern book. Notice how she slipped a doll into the outfit.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Toy Soldiers Galore

From Friday's New York Times Antiques Column. The first story is about French antique furniture. But of course I found this second item in the column more interesting:

Parents a century ago could persuade themselves that the newest toys were educational, since the boxes showed historically accurate battlefield scenes dating back to medieval sieges on moated citadels. The boxes held stacks of cutout paper and cardboard soldiers, wearing uniforms from dozens of countries and wielding rifles, sabers or cannon barrels.
The toys did not hold up well; the soldiers’ necks and weapons were especially likely to snap. But the fragility did not discourage Edward Ryan, the field’s best-known collector, who owned legions of two-dimensional regiments and wrote a comprehensive 1995 guide, “Paper Soldiers: The Illustrated History of Printed Paper Armies of the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries.”
On Saturday, Philip Weiss Auctions in Oceanside, N.Y., will start selling the collection of Mr. Ryan, a retired C.I.A. officer who died in August 2009 at the age of 90. (More phases of the Ryan sale will be held later this year.) Philip Weiss, the auctioneer, knew the collector and had toured his Maryland house.
In room after room, “a lot of the soldiers were standing up on shelves,” Mr. Weiss said. “It was all displayed beautifully.”
According to Mr. Ryan’s obituary in The Washington Post he started acquiring toy soldiers in the 1920s, “an interest fueled by reading pulp adventure stories about World War I.” He built up the collection while traveling on C.I.A. assignments and branched into metal, wood and composition toys. He fabricated his own paper sets as well, by hand-coloring small vintage illustrations of soldiers’ uniforms and posting the cutouts on wooden blocks.
The lots in Saturday’s auction were mostly manufactured between the 1890s and 1940s, by American companies including Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers. The sets of soldiers, less than a foot tall, have gung-ho names on the box covers like “Merry War,” “Forward March!” and “Spear-Em.” The uniforms are meticulous representations of history’s best-known underdogs and doomed armies, including American Revolution troops and Napoleon’s invaders. But Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers also patriotically printed images of the active forces of their own time, from Rough Riders and doughboys through World War II paratroopers.
Mr. Ryan’s holdings even document nearly forgotten moments in the annals of military alliances and conflicts. He owned an early 1900s set from Milton Bradley showing Russian and Japanese forces during the 1904-5 struggle over Port Arthur: the bearded Russians wear gold-and-green jackets, while the Japanese infantrymen are dressed in impractical white. On Mr. Ryan’s 1940s set, optimistically named “United for Liberty/Allied Soldiers/Together They Fight,” a box label explains that it “contains United States Marines, English Guards and Russian Cossacks.” That trio, the label predicts, is “sure to bring joy into the play of every child.”
The labels suggest some proper regiment arrangements. “The soldiers should be about two inches apart, six in a row, with the captain in the lead” was Milton Bradley’s advice for its “100 Soldiers on Parade with Band” set. Toy pistols, rifles and cannons that shoot balls or dowels were sometimes included, so the bad guys could be knocked down. A 1940s set promises a “coastal artillery gun” with “patented mystic shooting mechanism,” while assuring adults that the result would be “loads of harmless fun.”
There are few illustrations of women in the sets — mostly nurses to stand around miniature tents. The auction’s only other women are in scenes from Cinderella incongruously printed on the backs of some British infantrymen.
Mr. Weiss, the auctioneer, has placed estimates of a few hundred dollars on most of the lots. His Web site,, gives mini-slideshows for each soldier set, revealing occasional condition problems: Popsicle sticks and cardboard patches reinforce the backs of some cutouts. Bidders, unfazed by the damage, sometimes concentrate on soldiers from one region, era or manufacturer. But overall the collecting pool is narrow. When the Ryan collection ends up dispersed to new owners, Mr. Weiss said, “I think everybody’s going to know each other.”

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dottie and Lottie by M.G. Hays, c. 1907

I posted this two years ago, on my first blog. It's one of the best postcards I own, and can't resist posting especially for Postcard Friendship Friday. Unused, undivided back, which someone commenting here did say  indicated 1907 or earlier. Artist: Margaret G. Hays, sister of Grace Drayton of Dolly Dingle fame. Hays did her own comic strip and paper dolls, including the full page illustrations for the Mary Frances Housekeeping books. I'm surprised to find very little bio about Hays available on the web, not even exact year of birth and death. Hmm. Maybe someone out there can enlighten me.

And thank you Beth for hosting Postcard Friendship Friday. Be sure to visit her site, The Best Hearts Are Crunchy for some lovely images and writing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rosa Rustic, c. 1880s

This was one of the last things I bought at the Morgantown luncheon, from Sylvia Pencosky, who had many McLoughlin paper dolls for sale.

UPDATE: This is a front and back doll, popular in this era. The outfits were connected at the sleeve or skirt and slipped over the dolls head. Here's the back of the doll, which had a repair at the bottom.The seller probably had a duplicate, and repaired missing pieces with copies from a fine-condition original.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vintage boot with roses

There's nothing like a paper doll gathering to give the boot to the blues. Gwen Goldman and her daughter Cara Herman had hundreds of vintage scraps to peruse, organized by theme (flowers, dogs, cats, etc.). I found this boot and many other pieces at their table.

Sunday, April 18, 2010



The Art Supplement of the New York Recorder, Jan. 5, 1896. A recent eBay purchase. I'm once again perusing the vintage paper doll and paper toy section on eBay.

I found many paper dolls and scraps at the Morgantown luncheon yesterday, and I'll be posting many of them in the coming weeks. Of course, buying new things has prompted me to consider selling on eBay again. Once I post on eBay, I'll have links here to my selling page and the pages of other sellers I think you might enjoy.  

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Vanity Fair lingerie

I'm enjoying the Vanity Fair lingerie campaign that invokes vintage ads. In the Sept. 2009 Fall Fashion issue of Harper's Bazaar, there was a wonderful overlay with a 1942 nightgown; lift the transparency and you had the latest VF style in undergarments. There were risque paper dolls of this type, "flip strips"  where several transparencies with clothing were lifted to reveal the doll au naturel.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Some good luck, 1929

Thanks to Beth for hosting the delightful Postcard Friendship Friday! I leave later today for the Morgantown, P.A., Paper Doll Luncheon but hope to check in with other PFF buddies before I leave, and catch up with the rest of you when I return late Saturday. Of course, I hope to find many interesting goodies at the luncheon, which I will post here in the coming weeks.

How could I resist this little kitty?

This 1929 card is signed "The Wildwood Bunch." Of course, the gang was being funny: black cats are connected with bad luck, not good. (Although my late great Midnight brought me a ton of luck, and love.) Wildwood is one of the historic seaside resorts here in N.J., mostly famous now for its kitschy motels--think 1950s moderne-space age star-bursts and rockets. Back reads: Black Cat, Printed in U.S.A. Bamforth Comic.  Addressed to The Kern Twins of West Reading, P.A. I bet the Kern Twins were two very pretty young women. Sounds like this bunch had some good times.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Northern Ohio Paper Doll Party

Saturday, May 15, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Click on picture for readable version. Louise Leek also publishes Greetings, a newsletter about paper doll greeting cards.

Here's the reverse of the flyer.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bimbo for children, March 1, 1969

Bambini and bambino I get, but Bimbo? That's the name of this children's magazine, published out of London.

Bimbo ran a contest for best collage paper dolls, "Your Jolly Mixtures." What a great title!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lifebuoy ads, 1940s-1950s

From a 1944 Navy magazine, some cheesecake for a cake of soap. Not the Lifebuoy ad you'd find in Ladies Home Journal or McCall's.

 1944: Rosie the Riveter is reminded to bathe...

1945: Sweet Sue gets wise, thanks to her man in uniform.

1947: Back from the war, and women are off the assembly line, but their hygiene is still wanting...

1947: Even when the man stinks, it's the woman's fault!

1951: Ah! Admission that the old Lifebuoy might not have smelled that great. Some early TV stars deliver the news that the new Lifebuoy smells better, not medicinal.

1953: Very clever, very modern ad campaign--turn the tables on your own product, play to the reader's sense of humor and intelligence. There's still too much type in this ad, but the witty headline, including typeface, is the wave of the future, and would turn up in ads and feature articles (think Esquire and New York magazine) in the 1960s-1970s.

Lifebuoy ads, 1920s-1930s

 I remember when we used the Lifebuoy brand of bath soap in the 1960s. That was the era of Breck  and Herbalessence shampoos and aerosol deodorant (Arrid or Right Guard) in our household.  Funny how certain brands fade over time. And consumers move on to the next big thing or "must have," which is whatever the ad copy convinces us we must have.

From the Duke Digital Archive, a wondrous selection of Lifebuoy ads through the years. Each ad reflects the concerns and fears of  its time, or addresses a different group of people: parents, society girls, working women. Click pictures for larger image.

"How many Typhoid Marys are in this crowd?" asks the picture caption. Typhoid Mary infected 53 people between 1900 and 1915; three died. Her story is not urban myth but based in fact, and was still fresh in the minds of people reading this magazine in 1923.

Another 1923 ad: Here Lifebuoy's special oil is touted to protect children, and reference to its pungent odor is defended as proof of its effectiveness. The red color is because it's made of palm fruit oil, which is red.

1931: Strange Interlude! The play by Eugene O'Neill was a 1928 hit. Actors expressed their real thoughts as asides to the audience. Could an ad man have been inspired? Why not. It skillfully plants the seed of doubt in the consumer who will do anything not to be the clueless guy with B.O. Interesting photo/illustration -- photo touched up with charcoal, perhaps? Tabloids were notorious for touching up photos to make them more lurid.

 1935: Love the way this ad sets up the consumer for enormous insecurity. We all think it's the other person that smells--but hey, maybe it's me! Better get that Lifebuoy soap.

1937: What do you know, even debutantes suffer from B.O. Debs were big celebrities back then, when society pages covered their every move.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. , c. 1910

I'm taking a wild guess on the date, but the shirtwaists and the Gibson Girl hairdos provide a clue. As the caption on the card notes, this is the Home Office Building, N.Y.C.: "Part of the Actuarial Division. Nearly all records here are kept on cards, of which more than ten millions are filed in this room." This fabulous building still stands at 23rd Street and Madison Ave. See The Daily Postcard for exterior shots and more history.

Message in pencil on front:

I am better. Mama is sick. Papa is better. Marie is going to write. We have not heard from Grandma this week. --Virginia  
So Virginia is the working girl at Met Life, busy but still wanting to stay in touch with family. This was addressed to Miss Maud B. Beasinau in Gary, Maryland, but no stamp or postmark, so likely never mailed. Howard Co. in lower left, I guess is Howard County...

Thanks to Beth at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy for hosting Postcard Friendship Friday.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Convention Preview and Update

Good news: the $220 registration fee has been extended until May 1. The convention, July 1-4 in Kansas City, MO, promises to be outstanding.

Here's a taste, courtesy of Garth Lax's e-mail blasts; registration form is at the bottom:

                  POTPOURRI OF PAPER DOLLS !
                                      Email # 8
Among the most popular attractions at any Convention are the
Convention Workshops and Programs, and KANSAS CITY 2010 has
arranged an incredible set of sessions that will inform and delight
every attendee. They include intriguing informational sessions,
fascinating insights into seldom-seen paper dolls, and workshops that
will cause your creativity to bloom, 
There are lots of great Workshops, and lots of great Programs, but in
order to offer this many, it's necessary to run them in parallel, so you'll
have to make some hard choices. However, this particular set is so
good that no matter which ones you choose, you can't go wrong!
Regardless of whether a session is limited or unlimited in attendance,
you must sign up for it if you wish to attend. Chairs and handouts
must be arranged in advance, and they’ll be based on the sign-ups.
Let's see exactly what Kansas City will offer.
This Workshop, led by Patti Fertel, is FULL. Sorry.
Here, you'll create a paper doll with moving head, arms, and legs,
under the expert guidance of Sandy Vanderpool. The full color
collaged paper doll on card stock, the decorative brads, and a
selection of embellishments will be included in the Workshop fee.
You'll need to bring two pairs of scissors - - one regular pair for
general cutting, and one pair for the fine, detailed cutting. Careful,
skilled cutting will be needed to produce this fine Paper Doll that
you'll cherish as a fine addition to your collection.
Creating a paper doll with the guidance of a world-class artist is
very popular. I suggest that you sign up quickly
The Workshop is limited to 15 participants. Workshop fee is $10 US.
Remember the Dennison Paper Dolls with the crepe paper that would
be fashioned into dresses?  Well. Martha Davis is the reigning expert
and leading artist in the creation of crepe paper dresses. Under
Martha's guidance, you'll learn to pleat, gather, and flute the crepe
paper - - just the way your grandmother or great-grandmother did
in the 1920s - - and create a child's dress on a Dennison-type
paper doll. Martha will provide the doll and the vintage crepe paper
(the paper will be aqua). You'll need to bring small, sharp scissors;
10" - 12" (25 - 30 cm) of trim that would go well with aqua and that
can be curved; and any little decorations of your own choosing.
The result will be a Dennison-type paper doll with a costume that
is the result of your own unique creativity and decoration sense
- - and one of which Grandma or Great-Grandma would be proud.
There is a strict limit of 10 participants.  Workshop Fee:  None
There are only 3 openings left in this one.
Peggy Ell may well be the foremost collector of Newspaper Comic
Strip paper dolls in the world, and from her fabulous collection, she
has created a Power-point presentation of Comic Strip paper doll
art and artists.
You may be familiar with Jane Arden and Mopsy, Brenda Starr and
Tillie the Toiler. But how about Etta Kett, or the Toodle Twins, or
Scissor Sketches? Well, you're going to see them in this great
presentation - - the famous, the seldom-seen, and the rare !
There's no Limit on attendance, but you MUST Register. Fee: None
Helen Johnson is going to show you examples from her collection,
beginning with a hand-made, created by Helen's Mother in 1915.
You'll see Helen's complete Dolly Dingle collection, her
newspaper paper dolls from the 1980s to the 1920s, and her
extensive collection of the work of the legendary Queen Holden.
You'll also be able to see many pieces of Helen's own artwork, and
Helen is an excellent artist. In fact, at the 2008 New York Convention,
a piece of Helen's original artwork, "A Touch of Glass", was entered
and took the coveted Blue Ribbon against very strong competition.
This Program is limited to 10 participants.                Fee: None
The Program is 40% full already.
So, in the 9 AM - 10 AM time period, you'll have to choose among
four fabulous experiences. Note that this is the ONLY session
available with Helen. Helen's afternoon session filled very quickly.
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM   MAD ABOUT MARKERS
Design may give the paper doll substance, but color gives it zing !
And Markers, with their broad range of vibrant colors, have been the
choice of artists for many years.
In this Workshop, you'll be led by artist and Professor of Art, Tracy
Williams, in the use of markers to add color to pre-printed paper doll
and costume sheets, experimenting with three different paper
substrates. In addition, you'll use color pencils in conjunction with the
markers to achieve texture and details. In brief, you're going to learn a
great deal about color, paper, and application, and from then on, your
own paper dolls will come alive as you've never seen before.
There's a strict limit of 30 participants.    Workshop Fee is $ 8:00 US.
This Workshop is half full already.
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM               DRESS-A-DOLL
If you can't draw, or believe that you can't draw, then THIS is the
Workshop for you!
Led by Deanna Williams, the participants will receive a doll, and then
will use patterns to create several collaged outfits for the doll.
If you register for this Workshop you're going to be thrilled with
your creations and your new-found confidence! Trust me on this one.
Limited to 20 participants.                     Workshop Fee: None
The Workshop is 60% full as of last night.
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM           PAPER DOLLS A LA MODE
If you like fashion in your paper dolls, you'll enjoy this Program! 
Conducted by collector and author Cynthia Musser, this Power Point
presentation will take you through the world of fashion as portrayed
by Paper Dolls in 19th and 20th Century fashion publications.
You'll study the famed "Psyche" from Journal de la Mode, the dolls
of the Sunday Supplements from the Boston Herald, Demorest's
Magazine, and others, advertising for patterns, antique fashion plates,
and other ephemera. There will be a discussion following the
Limited to 25 participants.                                     Fee: None
The Workshop is 60% full.
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM        THE GREAT WHITE WEDDING
I've never known a Carol Sullivan presentation that was not fully
subscribed and the talk of the Convention!
Carol is going to do it again this time!
In this fascinating talk, Carol will separate wedding fable from fact,
while historical bridal fashions are modeled by original artist paper  
dolls. While every attendee will receive a hand-out, one very very
fortunate person will win a paper doll set, designed by a great artist
especially for this Workshop !
This Program is strictly limited to 20.                        Fee:  None
Carol's Program is 40% full as of last night.
Have you ever wondered how a Paper Doll Book is created?
Wonder no more.
Artist David Wolfe will use a PowerPoint presentation to let you follow
the creative process from start to finish. Beginning with concept
formulation; moving to licensing, contract, and research; continuing
through drawing and painting, editing and test-cutting, to proofing and
printing, you'll be witness to the entire project.
And by the way, we're talking about a real Paper Doll Book.
You see, David recorded all the steps, every procedure, as he created
a brand new paper doll book starring Donna Reed as a Hollywood
Movie Star (The book has been published by Jenny Taliadoros' Paper
Doll Studio Press.) 
There's no Limit on attendance, but you MUST Register. Fee: None
1:30 PM - 2:30 PM         ABCs OF CUTE
Have you ever looked at a paper doll of a child and thought,
"How Darling"? Then looked at another one and sighed,
"Oh, the poor thing"?
So, why do some child paper dolls look so realistic and "childlike",
while others do not? The answer will be found in this Workshop.
You'll examine successful child paper dolls, both past and present,
to identify the "attributes" that distinguish one from the other. Then,
contemporary paper doll artist Kim Brecklein will show you how to
apply solutions in your own drawing and coloring.
Lots of free Black & White paper dolls and all coloring materials
will be provided by Kim. In addition, two lucky attendees will win
a new child paper doll book by Kim Brecklein!!
The Workshop is limited to 15 attendees.                  Fee: None
The Workshop still has some space, but is filling steadily.
The beautiful paper doll artwork of the great Helen Page will be on
display for your thorough enjoyment in this session.
Jan McKay, perhaps the leading collector of Helen Page paper dolls
and paintings by Helen Page, will show and discuss many examples
of Helen's exceptional art.  
There's no Limit on attendance, but you MUST Register. Fee: None
                                    PAPER DOLLS
Norene Allen has an extensive collection that crosses many
categories, and naturally she has favorites - - some because
they're, well, "favorite", others because they're unusual.
Norene is going to share her favorite and unusual PDs with you.
So, what do you think you'll see from this fine collection?
MOVY Dolls? McLaughlins? Comic? Advertising? Handmades?
Only Norene knows for sure. You'll have to attend to find out!
But I guarantee that it will be worth it !!
There's no Limit on attendance, but you MUST Register. Fee: None
This is a repeat of one of the 9 AM - 10 AM Programs,
but this one is FULL. Sorry.
So - - there you have it. As fine a selection of Workshops and
Programs as any Paper Doll Convention ever has seen!
They're going to fill up quickly, already some have filled,
and some requesters are going to be disappointed.
Don't delay in getting your Convention Registration sent in, so
you can receive your Packet and sign up for your favorite sessions!!
If you've registered, but haven't sent in your Workshop Form yet,
here's a hint. To maximize your chances of getting the Workshops
that are your first choices, send your Workshop form directly to
Jean Sullivan, 320 Shaftesbury Lane, Summerville, SC 29485.
And do it quickly!
In two weeks, we'll be back to telling you about great venues in
the Kansas City area - - this time about Specialty Museums
that are unique and fascinating.
- - Garth
                Embassy Suites Plaza, Kansas City, Missouri
                                  July 1-4, 2010

                      CONVENTION REGISTRATION


Address: ______________________________________

City: ______________________ State: _____
Zip/Postal Code: _______

Phone Number. __________________
Email Address: ________________________________   

Registration Fee: 
Absentee Registration: $125.00 (souvenirs)
Guest Registration (Meals only): $120.00
[All prices are in U.S. Dollars]

Make checks payable to Patricia O'Rourke
Mail to:
Patricia O'Rourke
6 Piccadilly Court
Toms River, NJ  08757

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Theriault's paper doll auction

This lovely Mary Ware paper doll, c.1915, was one of many treasures at the Theriault's auction of the Shirley Fischer paper doll collection, held in Morristown, N.J., in 2006.

Now comes word of another Theriault paper doll auction coming up soon: the collection of Virginia Crossley. Thanks to Dee Radcliffe of Oahu for alerting me and others on the Yahoo paper doll newsgroup.

I immediately emailed Stuart Holbrook at Theriault's to get more details. Here's what he had to say:

The collection will be presented on June 21, in Annapolis, MD at the Sheraton Annapolis (Washington/Baltimore area).  The exhibit for the auction will be from 9:00AM-11:00AM. Auction to begin at 11:00AM.  The auction will also have absentee, phone and live internet bidding.  The catalog, with full-color photographs of each lot and complete descriptions, will be shown online two-weeks prior to the event and is available for everyone to view. There is no printed catalog.

I hope that this helps Linda and hopefully we might see you there for the auction!  Also, you are welcome to direct any questions about the event to or 1-800-638-0422.

Happy Collecting,


Spring paper doll by Jayne Keller