Author: Debbie Behan Garrett

A Doll For Mom

My mother accompanied me to a doll lecture several years ago to help set up the exhibit dolls. As a result of her “oohing and ahhing” over one of the reborn dolls included in the exhibit, I had an identical doll made for her. It was part of her birthday gift from me that year, which was 2004. Reborn dolls have come a long way since then, but these two were nicely done, and my mother does not realize the progression of this doll art form. Emberlynn (my doll) and Amberlynn (my mother’s doll) With Mother’s Day 2010 right around the corner, why not buy your mom, or someone else you hold near and dear, a doll for Mother’s Day? It does not have to be a reborn doll or an expensive doll, but lifesize baby dolls work best for those with maternal instincts whose nests have been empty for a while. Being a collector is not a prerequisite for the recipient to receive a doll as a gift (anytime of the year). My mother certainly is not a collector and, until now, never displayed any interest in dolls except those purchased for me and my younger sister when we were children. She loves Amberlynn as much as the collector in me loves Emberlynn. She enjoys changing Amberlynn’s outfits on a seasonal basis, too… so think doll, and think...

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Thumbelina Family Reunion

Photograph courtesy of Deb Tuttle, ebay seller betutt One of my first childhood dolls was Thumbelina by Ideal. First produced in 1961-1962, the doll had a wooden knob in its back. When turned, it wriggled or squirmed like a restless infant. Although we were as opposite as day and night, Thumbelina was one of my constant childhood companions. As an adult collector, one of my first vintage play-doll acquisitions was another 1960s Thumbelina that I dyed brown. She became a nice stand-in for the original black, elusive 1960s doll that can command as much as four figures. Several other authentic, black versions, purchased on the secondary market during the 1990s, entered my collection. These were manufactured from 1971 through 1983 and possibly as late as 1985. Newborn Thumbelina was the most difficult to find and the most costly. Only 9 inches tall, instead of a wooden knob, Newborn Thumbelina has a pull-string, which activates her wriggle-like-a-real baby movement. She wears her original outfit.  From wooden knobs and pull strings to batteries, Thumbelina remained mechanical in 1976 with Wake Up Thumbelina. Aided by two D batteries and pressure applied to a lever on her back, Wake Up Thumbelina slowly raises her head, turns from side to side, puts her head back down, and finally rolls over on her back and holds out her arms to be picked up. The watercolor graphics on the box illustrate...

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Temporary Fashion for a Basic Doll

Until today, Vogue’s Jill Back to Basics doll remained “basic,” awaiting the arrival of her due-in-May, “Park Avenue Shopping” clothing pack. Her one-piece, pale pink lace teddy, nude mesh stockings, white elasticized high-heel shoes and pearl earrings have served as her “basic” outfit for nearly a month as she struck a pose atop my computer hutch. Looking quite fashionable now wearing a borrowed fashion, complete with handmade shopping bag, Jill posed for photographs. With or without its poncho, we both “agree” that Hannah Pepper’s “Pink Parade” fashion is a suitable temporary substitute....

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The New-Doll Sensation

In the midst of a self-imposed doll-buying hiatus, I recently stumbled without regret. Instead, I felt immense exhilaration after a doll purchase with shipping that totaled $12.97.  This inexpensive purchase resulted in excitement that has lasted for some 12 hours.  I am certain that several additional rushes of joy will course through my body until and even after the new doll arrives.  Happy, happy, joy, joy! I now understand why I thoroughly enjoy collecting dolls.  The thought of getting a new doll gives me extreme pleasure… especially one that has been longed for, one that will aid in completing a collection, and even better, one that literally cost me a few dollars and cents. The joy of collecting and the new-doll sensation are exhilarating!  But I am happily repositioned on my doll-buying hiatus “wagon,” for a while, at least. ...

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I Asked and Vogue Delivered!

During the third quarter of 2009, I wrote Vogue to inquire about the possible inclusion of an African American (AA) Dress Me Boy as well as an AA 21st Century Jill.  I was told that both were a possibility. This past December, Vogue and I shared information. I shared with them an image of a “reborn” AA vintage Dress Me Ginny girl that I transformed into a boy.  They shared that a manufactured AA Dress Me Boy and an AA Crib Crowd doll would be available in February or March 2010.  I began looking forward. Thanks to Ginny dealer, Judy McGrail, I now know these are a reality.  Judy did some sharing, too.  Her scans and images from the 2010 Vogue Catalogue confirm the existence of the two dolls Vogue promised in addition to an AA Jill and a new AA Mini Ginny!  Mini Ginny also has a carrying case! Just when I declared I would not purchase any more dolls in a long while… When it comes to dolls (and most everything else), it never hurts to ask, and an incurable collector should never say never. Thank you, Vogue!  Thank you, Judy, for sharing the images and scans! Do contact Judy if you would like to preorder any of the 2010 Vogue dolls. Click here to view additional pages from the Vogue 2010...

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Trailblazing Trio

Using their 10-inch Cissette and Coquette Cissy dolls, Madame Alexander pays tribute to three African American women trailblazers.  In 1921, after enrolling in aviation school in France, Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman became the first black woman in the world to earn an international pilot’s license.  Alexander’s 2009 Coquette Cissy from “The Arts Collection,” pays homage to this remarkable, early 20th Century African American woman.  The doll’s very detailed outfit consists of brown leatherette jacket, black vinyl belt with silver buckle, white sleeveless semi-sheer blouse, black Jodhpur-style pants; black vinyl knee-high, lace-up boots; and black vinyl aviator cap with chinstrap and attached silver goggles.  The doll is as lovely as the real Bessie Coleman. From the 2007 Madame Alexander “History of Fashion Collection,” produced in a limitation of 400 dolls, Coquette Cissy’s metallic and pearl bikini top, gold bikini bottom, banana skirt, gold dangle earrings, gold sandals, and blue silk brocade robe, were inspired by the early1900s, American-born entertainer, Josephine Baker.  Born Freda Josephine McDonald in 1906, the actress/entertainer fled America to claim fame and fortune in Paris, France, where she became a citizen and lived until her death in 1975. Alexander’s Cissette from the 1997 “Music Collection,” portrays 1930s jazz diva, Billie Holiday.  The doll is elegantly dressed in a silver shimmery gown with train and white flower at waist, white feather shawl, silver stockings and white cloth high-heel shoes.  An...

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