So you don't care about what rabbit hole I have been down, let's look at some cool pictures! Today I have a handful of auctioned dolls found while browsing Theriault's (a great site for pictures of these sorts of things!).
The first is an unusual set of "overlay" dolls (where a cutout image is placed on top of the figure in order to "dress" it). The description on this one reads, in part: "one illustrates the 'management of pale/dark complexion' by showing judicious use of proper costume colors, and the other, a full-figure model, with die-cut face, compares 'simplicity and ornament' in costume." A fun an interesting reminder that many of these early paper dolls were not just considered playthings, but were ascribed an educational and practical value for women navigating a society full of very particular expectations. These are American and marked as being produced by Scofield & Voorhees. By the styles, they were made in the early 1840s.
This was apparently a set in which the family members were packaged and sold individually (I love the envelopes!). Also, notice that the clothes are designed in the style of having a "ghost" back to hold them in place (and are not two-sided as was typical of the fancier models of the era). The lack of a back made these cheaper and faster to produce. Unlike the overlays above, these were definitely playthings for children. The description on the site says: "Comprising the complete seven piece family set (Father, Mother, Miss Adelaide, Clara, George, The Baby, Bridget the Nurse), each in its own envelope along with complete uncut set of double-sided colored costumes, along with matching uncolored costumes designed for child play. Sizes vary, father is largest at 6.5". Also included is advertising flyer for The Family, and envelope wrap for "Paper Dolls Furniture" with price lists and 8 small furniture accessories." Fun! These were produced by Anson Randolph.
And finally, below is a collection of German paper dolls produced by Mainz bei Josef Scholz (circa 1850s). This is a hodgepodge of mostly dolls of children. I love their tiny feet and little boots!
Click on any of the images in this post to better see some of the details on these lovely very old dolls!