Poor Pitiful Pearl

See, I promised my next post would be on an actual doll, and here I am, actually delivering!  (For once.)

This is Poor Pitiful Pearl, a Horsman doll from 1963.  I’d seen photos of her, but hadn’t been terribly interested until I saw one in person at the Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s traveling exhibit at the history museum back in January of 2017.  Unfortunately, for some reason I didn’t get any photos of her at the time, possibly because she was still in her box, so I figured she wasn’t going to photograph very well.  You can see a (rather distant) photo of what her box looked like on DollReference.com’s Horsman 1960s-1970s page.  (Which also starts with a close-up of her face.)  Like many of the other unusual ’60s dolls of this sort I’ve been interested in getting — Little Miss No Name and Susie Sad Eyes (though she’s actually early ’70s), primarily — I’d found her price tag a bit off-putting.  But eventually I found this one on a Red Tag sale at Ruby Lane. 🙂

As you can see, she has one serious flaw:  her eyes have paled to a blue far more pale than they originally were, making it look a bit as though she’s gone blind.  (As if she didn’t have enough problems already!)  However, her hair is in good shape for a doll this old (there are a few snarls in the back, as you’ll see, and a bit of a musty smell, but nothing major), and look how crisp her face paint is!  She did lose her kerchief at some point, but I can replace that when I get a chance with just any old bit of red cloth. ;P

Ah, but I’ve skipped over the details about just who Pearl is.  She was designed by William Steig, a cartoonist (who often published in the New Yorker) and author, whose children’s book Sylvester and the Magic Pebble was one I had as a child, and whose much later children’s book, Shrek!, was the basis of the Dreamworks movie.  (Fortunately for him, he passed away long before Shrek 3.  Didn’t quite see release of the second one either, which is sad, but maybe he’d already seen it as a work in progress.)  As far as I can tell (which is not, I admit, very far), Steig created Pearl specifically for the original 1958 doll by Brookglad; both versions of her were released with a little booklet illustrated by him.  I found a series of photos (scans?) of the 1958 booklet in this blog post from 2009, along with some lovely photos of the Brookglad doll, which appears essentially identical to the Horsman doll (I read somewhere that Horsman bought out Brookglad, so that’s not surprising) except for having a less colorful face-up and longer hair.  There was also a 1976 doll released by Tristar, which (from the DollReference.com photo) seems to have a very much identical face, but a rather different body.

Right, so now that I’ve dispensed with the history, on with the rest of the doll photos! 🙂

She has the pudgiest legs I have ever seen on a doll.  Ever. 🙂  I think they’re absolutely adorable.  The nylons help, of course.

As you can see, her hair’s a bit frizzled in the back, but not bad.  Nowhere near as bad as the average 1980s doll’s hair.

I love that her dress is fastened with a button.  I wish doll manufacturers still used buttons (or at least snaps) instead of crummy velcro.

I should have gotten a side-by-side photo of her with some other doll for scale.  She’s about 12″ tall (most of the ones I see online seem to be the 17″ version), so putting her side-by-side with a Barbie would be quite the jarring contrast!  Another child-like doll would probably be a better comparison.  Not quite sure what doll, though.  Most of the others are too tall or too short.  Maybe go a bit older/newer and use the red-headed Patsy replica.  In terms of body-type, Patsy and other dolls of that type would be the best match.  (Maybe when the doll exhibit comes down in July, I can bring in Pearl and a few other dolls to photograph side-by-side with that Scootles on loan for the exhibit.  A slight abuse of power(?), maybe, but what an incredible chance!)

It’s a weird and awesome feeling, though, adding dolls like Pearl to my collection, considering that they’re older than I am.  My collection of dolls older than I am is really growing lately.  (I’ve gotten two others that, like Pearl, I first saw in person at that traveling museum exhibit.  But I haven’t photographed either of the other two yet.)  I should make a gallery in my Google Photos drive to show them all.  (Of course, Pearl has her own album already, and all these photos link there.)  Oooh, now that I think about it, I still haven’t photographed the one that’s probably oldest…I need to remedy that situation…


Such a Sweet Little Smile!

*cough*  Somehow this ended up taking me until late Thursday night to write, even though on Monday I said it would probably be up on Tuesday… *cough*

Okay, so what we have here is a very special doll that I had the privilege to meet at work.  He (she?) is on loan to the museum for the duration of our doll exhibit, and I was so thrilled to get to see this doll that I couldn’t help taking a few pictures, and I wanted to share them with you.  Of course, since I wasn’t expecting this loan to suddenly come in, I didn’t have my camera with me, and had to use my phone.  (If I hadn’t been forced to replace my flip phone, I’d have had to use the museum’s camera, which would have resulted in better pictures.  Realistically, I should have thought to use the museum’s camera regardless of the availability of my phone’s camera.  Sorry about that.)

So, in summary, this is another of those rare posts that is centered on a doll I don’t own.  (Though one of my dolls also cameos in the post…)

This is Scootles, a composition doll manufactured by Cameo, and designed by Rose O’Neill, best known as the creator of the Kewpie doll.  The museum’s collection has a 22″ (ish) Scootles, which I already thought was cute, but this one is all kinds of adorable, above and beyond the big one in the museum’s collection.  (It doesn’t help the case of the museum’s Scootles that s/he has glass eyes, and one of them is horribly crazed while the other is still in good condition.)

That sweet little face! 😀  He’s got a few paint issues on his face, but the composition is in perfect condition, and barely even has any crazing.  Or she does.  I don’t know if Scootles has an official gender, but the doll has always looked like a little boy to me.  (The woman who actually owns this doll has also always thought of him as a boy.)  I’ve seen people refer to Scootles as a girl, though, so I have no idea what the majority consensus is, or if there even is a majority consensus.

I don’t know when Cameo stopped making Scootles dolls:  the only year I’ve ever seen mentioned regarding the date of Cameo Scootles dolls is 1925.  I don’t know if that means that Scootles failed to recapture the popularity of his Kewpie cousins and was only made for a year, or if there just isn’t any information as to when production stopped.

We were short on display space for Scootles, so we had to take my blonde Snow White type out of the vitrine and put Scootles in her place.  (She’d been there for comparison to the African-American one, but I think the presence of a white doll in an exhibit on African-American dolls tended to confuse the visitors anyway…)  We couldn’t put Scootles on a stand, though, because we didn’t have any capable of holding his super-chubby waist.

Speaking of my two Snow White types, I’ve decided to name the blonde one Cindy, because she makes me think of Cinderella, but I’m still not sure what to name this one.  I suppose I could call her Minerva (or some diminutive thereof) because I think she was made by a company called Minerva, but somehow that feels a little weird.  (Any suggestions?)

A 3/4 angle, because.  The doll behind them is a Madame Hendren baby doll, btw, composition head and cloth body.  Pretty cute, but there’s a bad crack in the composition of her face.  (Isn’t there always?)

And one last angle, badly diminished by reflections on the vitrine.  😦

Anyway, given that African-American versions of dolls were always made in smaller quantities back then (which hasn’t actually changed, but hopefully these days the percentages are closer together) and that Scootles dolls are rather rare to begin with, I wanted to share these photos, since so many people will never have the opportunity even to see an African-American Scootles.  (And pretty much all of us will never have the chance to actually own one.  But at least I’ve seen one!  😀  Even held him in my hands.  That was really cool, if a little nerve-wracking.)

I’m hoping to get back into the habit of posting at least once in between each Blind Box Monday…but I can’t guarantee it’s going to happen with any regularity.  My life (especially in terms of my house) is pretty messy right now.  Makes it hard to take pictures.  But now that I think about it, I think I have some photos sitting around that I haven’t posted yet..

Liberty of London and Kimport

Before I get to the actual post, I have to apologize, twice.  First, I apologize for my prolonged silence.  It’s been crazy here (I’m doing both April CampNaNo and April A-to-Z on my other blog) and I’ve been having worse trouble sleeping than ever.  Plus I have real trouble getting photos taken.  None of that excuses my silence; I just wanted to explain.  And second, I apologize for how late this post is, because I promised it would come immediately after my Wonder Woman Nendoroid post, and yet here it is almost a month later, and I’m only just now posting it.

Thing is, if I’d gone on my intended schedule at that time, I’d have ended up posting this on the 17th, and I didn’t want to post this guy’s photo on St. Patrick’s Day…

Yup. 🙂  This is a Liberty of London doll.  The dolls were made by a pair of sisters, using fabric from the department store of the same name, and often selling the dolls through them as well.  (At least, I think that was what the story behind these dolls was…)  The dolls were made from the 1930s to the 1960s, if I recall correctly.  (They did coronation sets both for Queen Elizabeth and her father.  The QEII set is pretty common (and massive), but her father’s set is more rare.) Continue reading

Tiny Betsy McCall

So, like I said before, this time we’re returning to the 1950s….sort of.  Because of course this isn’t a vintage Tiny Betsy, but a Tonner Tiny Betsy, reproducing American Character’s 8″ Betsy McCall doll.  (To the best of my knowledge, the American Character Betsy McCall dolls were never available in an African-American version.  I don’t think Ideal’s were, either.)  She came in a bland white swimsuit-like garment, so she’s currently wearing a Middie Blythe dress by TiredMomKnits.  It’s a tiny bit tight in the waist, but otherwise fits fine.  And I love the peacock feather print cloth! 😀 Continue reading


Okay, that is my first (and hopefully last) hashtag joke.

(And yes, I am deeply sorry for it.)

Aaaaaaaanyway, let’s just move on to the post.  For the most part, I want the Black History Month posts to move in a thematically chronological order.  (There is one exception that will become clear when the time comes.)

By thematically chronological I mean that I’m including reproductions with the time period of their original, rather than the time period in which they were reproduced.

Which actually means this should have been the first post.  (Well, first after Soul, who went first as more or less of a joke.)  Only I didn’t have photos ready on this one, since it was a reproduction that didn’t actually pass for the original, so I didn’t want to use any photos for work.

This replica Patsy was made by Effanbee in the ’80s, before Effanbee became part of Tonner.  This is not what she came wearing, though.  She came in this:

Oh, and yes, you’re reading her tag correctly.  See?

As I said, it was the ’80s, so no one was yet trying to find less offensive ways to phrase things.   (I keep writing things set in the ’80s, and it’s absolutely maddening.)

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Snow White-type by Minerva

I bet that title seems confusing, right?  You might be wondering why there isn’t a comma before “by Minerva,” and if you know me well, you’re probably wondering what would ever possess me to use a Roman deity name rather than a Greek one.  Well, there’s a good reason for all of it! 😀

Meet one of the oldest dolls I own.  I don’t know the exact year she was made, but she’s a copycat of Ideal and Knickerbocker’s Snow White dolls (Ideal’s actually was available in an African-American version, btw!), which were released in 1938 to tie in with Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, so she’s likely from either 1939 or the early 1940s.  (Her dress is almost unquestionably home-made, and her shoes and socks probably aren’t original, either.)

As to why I said “by Minerva” in the title, I believe that’s the name of the company that manufactured her.  She’s entirely unmarked, but in looking at a book I have about composition dolls, in the section on Snow White-types, it showed one that had this same lazy hair painting, where they basically just airbrushed the back of the head and didn’t care if they got all the hair, and didn’t bother painting the bow.  That one was described as being by a company called Minerva, as having one bent arm, and being about 15 inches tall, all of which also applies to this doll.  The one pictured in the book wasn’t an African-American version, but the other factors all agreeing seems to me to be a strong indicator that I’m right about who manufactured this doll.

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Princess of Power

So I’ve been meaning to get to this post for a while, and I managed to get the photos taken before I started working on the photos for June.  (I’ll explain in my first June post as to why I have a special theme for the month.)  It’s not that I want to show off my She-Ra collection, it’s that I’ve got two big purchases I want to squee about. 🙂

And here’s the first one:




Sadly, there’s only one half of the front door (and it doesn’t actually stay in place, due to broken hinges) and only one window pane, but still!  She-Ra’s Crystal Castle! 😀

And it has pretty much all its interior accessories:


(Though from looking at a list I found online, it turns out the purple fur thing I put on the bed as a comforter is supposed to be a rug.  Oops. 😛 )

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