Yes, I have fallen behind again (confound it), but the good news is I managed to fix the problem with my scanner (for the time being). It's still a clunky old thing and who knows how long it will hang in there, but at the moment it's humming (yay!).Today I am posting a paper doll created by Tom Tierney for his Superstars of the Old West series (which is kinda funny because, well, Jesse James was a murderer and a thief ~ even if he was a folkhero). But anyway, it's a nice doll and has a nice old west nostalgia sensibility without sacrificing authenticity (Tierney is great about that). I omitted the outfit where he is holding the picture that he was hanging when he got shot. While historically interesting, I thought it was a wee bit morbid.Anyway, had Jesse James on my mind since last weekend I went to Northfield for the first time and watched the re-enactment of the Northfield raid at the annual "Defeat of Jesse James Days" event. It was a rollickin' good time.
American history is so wonderfully rich and fascinating.
I have very few of these sticker-type paper dolls. I generally don't find them very interesting subject-wise, and don't really like the idea of stickers for clothing since you can't really gather the wardrobe in a pile and luxuriate at all the colors and shapes ~ which I think is one of the great appeals of playing with paper dolls. Nevertheless, occasionally a sticker doll comes along that I absolutely must have for my collection, and it seems like artist A.G. Smith is the one to make them. This little Abraham Lincoln is fabulously simple and nicely researched. As an added bonus, Smith has included a pair of hands wielding an axe. Of course, this is intended to represent Lincoln as the "rail-splitter" of his youth, but I think it doubles nicely in case you want to play Abraham Lincoln, Vampire-Hunter as well. In case you have never seen the above book, be sure to look at the image of the back cover, though if you're sensitive to bloodshed, you might want to skip it. Because this is a Dover "Little" activity book, it's nicely inexpensive and fun for all ages (vampires or no).
This is one of several Lincoln paper dolls I have to share with you and it being ten days until the anniversary of the Gettysburg address, it seems now's a good time to do so. It strikes me peculiar, however, that such an unlikely subject would have so many paper dolls modeled after him. Not that I am complaining.
So earlier this past year (but not so long ago in posts), I wrote about a set of Napoleonic dolls
that were made as part of the Wolfe Historical Dress-a-Doll Series and mentioned that it was part of a series which included a Victorian set as well. Since the company seemed obscure, I didn't expect to find the Victorian set any time soon, but this past month, idly browsing eBay, I found it! And for a ridiculously cheap price, too!What's interesting about these sets is that the dolls are designed to be "built", with only a few pieces of the clothes that can be changed, and lots of complexity in the layers that make them up. While unconventional, it's interesting because it shows the pieces of fabric and little embellishments that go into an outfit.
The doll below shows a woman of roughly 1880s style (the book sort of covers from about 1850 through the late 80s). She's got a variety of pieces to assemble (click on the image to see more detail). I love the diagrams included on the page that illustrate how the pieces are to be assembled as well (in the bottom right-hand corner). While I think these books are kind of complicated for young children, they are very nicely made.
Like the former one I shared, this was made in 1975 in Great Britain by Wolfe Publishing, and originally cost 60p.
First up from my collection is a paper doll book that doesn't exactly fit the model of this website (which focuses on the 1830s to 1900), but I had to share it anyway and will skate by on the assumption that these uniforms are from the 19th century and men's uniforms did not radically change in the 19th century until at least a quarter of the way in, by which point these designs (or parts of them at least) might be considered Victorian-era consistent.
At any rate, this small book was a relatively recent acquisition off of eBay, published by Wolfe Publishing of London and part of their "Historical Dress-a-Doll-Series" that sold for 60p in 1975.
I think what I love most about this format is twofold: it's a first-rate little piece of historical ephemera with short, but interesting notes about the 13 detailed dress uniforms featured (including French, British, Prussian, Spanish, etc.), but also the construction of the dolls themselves is so novel: with uniforms layered by each piece and including hats, guns, and other equipment. Let's face it, most paper dolls are designed for girls to play with and don't often include soldiers, so this is particularly exciting in that it not only includes soldiers (even a skull-topped "death squad"), but that it's designed in a unique way that lets you see the full complexity of some of these fancy old uniforms. Click on the image below to see one of the seven dolls in more detail.
This company produced several other books, though a brief search has shown them difficult to find. There is one on Victorian Costumes that I would love to get my hands on if it even turns up in my travels.
was an American actress and singer who was popular in the early 20th century, though I have included her here because she was working by the turn of the century and her outfits are certainly reminiscent of the end of the Belle Epoque. This single page was done by John Axe and sports one of his nicer female dolls (click the image to see more details).
I admit I have not been working on my own 19th Century dolls for a while here as I reorganize my workspace and get things in order. But in case you missed it, I am regularly updating my other paper doll blog: Comic Book Chronicles
I am hoping to post new stuff here soon enough, but in the mean time I hope you are enjoying seeing some of the stuff in my collection.
was one of the great actors of the late 19th century (and the father of an acting dynasty that continues today).
19th century actors are a lot of fun because stage costumes back then were so fanciful (and often even ridiculous).
This is one of a handful of John Axe dolls I have in my collection. While I often enjoy Axe's subjects, his dolls are of mixed success for me. I think his faces in particular are not very attractive, unfortunately. In the case of this set of dolls, for example, the first one is good, but the second one looks a little strange, especially when you consider that Maurice Barrymore was quite handsome. Still, it's a nice small set and I enjoy having it as part of my collection. Click on the image to see the art in much better detail!
Also, click here
to see the original costume of "Orlando" represented above.
This is a recent and unusual acquisition of mine, produced in 1985 by Press Pacifica in Hawaii, the dolls were designed by Cassandra Land-Nellist, and carefully researched from photo archives.
King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma (later called Kaleleonalani), enjoyed a very short reign in Hawaii, from 1856 to 1863, and were loved because of their care and concern for improving the lives of their people.
You can read more about them here
. They look like such a beautiful couple and seemed to have been very happy in their very brief time together.
This collection includes 14 pages of lovely period clothing including their wedding attire (at left), fancy formal wear, casual wear, and the queen's wardrobe following the death of her husband (including her mourning gown).
This is one of those lovely sets that I would really enjoy cutting, but since I've never seen it anywhere else, I'm going to keep it intact. The paper it is printed on is likewise lovely: textured and thick. The colors are absolutely vibrant. I acquired this off of that evil place known as eBay for a very reasonable price (it seemed).
I am reminded that one of the reasons I began this blog was to sort of catalog the collection of paper dolls of the 19th Century that I have acquired over the years. I've been so distracted working on other stuff, I've hardly talked about the wonderful books available out there at all!
Today I offer a glimpse of Norma Lu Meehan's Victorian Paper Doll Wardrobe. I think this one is out of print, but you can find it on eBay and the like. Meehan's work is amazing on a lot of levels: she works from actual gowns from actual historical collections, which makes the amount of detail incredible. This particular set of dresses is from the Northern Indiana Historical Society
In the book there are three dolls and 12 dresses ranging from the 1860s to the 1890s (with an emphasis on the 90s ~ but a nice range of styles of that decade). The one I've posted here is from 1887 and was worn to a wedding reception (click the picture to see more details).
That's the other great thing about Meehan's books: the notes are fabulous, often telling who owned the dress, where it was worn (and why), and providing other detail about the type of material, accessories, etc.
Meehan has a number of books, all equally detailed (and just recently published a new book of 19th century wedding fashions ~ which I hope to acquire soon). I have several of her other books and will share reviews on them also.
And while I'm posting, I just want to say that I realize I am slow at posting new material of my own and hope to remedy that. On Halloween, I'll be launching a second blog with a project I have been working on (and which will be updating more quickly doll-wise that this one). Stay tuned!
* This post was reproduced from my Reconstruction website (where you will see why I have been too busy to post here, I hope).
Peterson's magazine was practically a staple for ladies in the American Victorian home. Next to Godey's Lady's Book, it was certainly the most popular. Published monthly, it contained stories, fashion plates (both hand-colored and black & white engravings), advice on home management (furnishing, cooking, maintenance, and sewing), poetry, songs, embroidery patterns, and much more.
Many women saved the magazine for its tips and illustrations, and if it was economically feasible for them, had it bound. This edition in my collection is from 1867 and once belonged to Jennie L. Howard.
Peterson's Magazine hasn't been published in over a hundred years, but its popularity with collectors (particularly for its fold-out colored fashion plates), is rivaled only by that of Godey's. Both single loose issues and bound volumes can readily be found at antiquarian book stores and auctions, but prices can vary radically depending on the age, condition, and contents of the magazine. I got a bargain when I found this volume online for less than $20. I love it not only for its plates but because it's a window into the popular culture of the 19th century, its trends, attitudes, and amusements for women of a growing middle class.
I have some more plates to share from Peterson's from my personal collection, but they are not from this particular volume.
It's been hard to get any creative work done this past week. Busy on the regular job and evenings have been spent reading and trying to stay away from things that otherwise tax my eyes. But I am hoping to have new things to post after the coming weekend (which can't get here soon enough!)
Meanwhile, here's Lydia by Peggy Jo Rosamund. I think she's one of Rosamund's nicer looking dolls (more natural, anyway ~ she doesn't have that creepy doll look). I bought her on eBay a bazillion years ago, it seems. She was originally made with three extra pages of clothes, but I only have one extra page (a shame!).
She was published in a doll magazine (Doll Reader, I think). These are the two pages I own. I actually found the other two pages online and will share them in another post at another time. I just wanted to share a bit of her here to keep things buzzing along in the interim. As always, give the image a click to see a little more detail.
It's definitely my ambition to finish a couple of dresses this weekend! I am studying some color combinations and working myself up to the task of tackling something that's not quite so duo or monochrome!