Compo corner

Compo corner

Schoonmaker, Patricia N

AMERICAN CHARACTER’S PETITE BABY

I would like to share my 12 1/2-inch all-original Petite baby Mama doll. She is perfect except that her crier no longer works. She is a shoulder head that is marked AM Char. Doll Co with molded blonde hair, two-tone painted blue eyes with painted upper lashes and closed mouth. She has full composition arms and composition legs to mid-thigh. Her panties and slip (combination suit) are one-piece white cotton with lace trim. The pink organdy dress is tagged PETITE and fastened with old-fashioned safety pins. She came with her original box marked PETITE.

American Character Doll Co. first used the term PETITE in 1923.

This was a trade name for babies and character dolls that were older girl mama dolls than your young toddler version as she does not have bent baby legs. They listed their smallest doll at 13 inches, which is yours with just a difference in measuring. In 1928, the company advertised baby and mama dolls in lace-trimmed dresses. Your doll’s pink organdy dress and bonnet with white Valenciennes lace are of fine quality. Her pink shoes complete the ensemble. One can imagine the joy of a child lifting such a doll from her box on Christmas morning. She will be helpful to readers needing to costume a similar doll.

BARBARA ANN

I think my 17-inch all composition doll is Barbara Ann by Dewees Cochran for Effanbee. Her head is unmarked and her body is marked Anne Shirley. She has a blonde human hair wig, brown sleep eyes with real upper lashes and painted lower lashes and an open mouth with teeth. She has a metal Effanbee heart bracelet. I’m assuming her clothes are original. She has a matching print combination suit under the dress.

Your doll is one of Dewees Cochran’s American Children series. Foulke’s Blue Book lists a doll your size at Barbara Ann. Most of the American Children series were marked EFFANBEE//AMERICAS..CHILDREN on the back of the head, but for some reason the open-mouthed doll’s head in unmarked. She ia a characterfaced doll. Your doll’s dress appears to bo original with her Peter Pan collar and figured blue rpint of the 1930s. This everday outfit was worn under a navy wool coat with large pearl buttons.

Effanbee also issued the open mouth doll as Ice Queen complete with Alexander’s Sonja Henie and a rarely located Snow White version from Grimms’ Fairy Tales. They are all highly collectible and are a part of the Golden Age of composition dolls.

VANTA BABY

Here is my 22-inch shoulder head Vanta Baby by Amberg wearing her original tagged dress, Vanta Baby//Trade mark Registered//An Amberg Doll. The dress is a soft white muslin with lace at the neck and sleeve edges. Her bonnet with fine handwork may be a replacement. She has full composition arms and legs with cloth torso and blonde molded hair, rather straight with side part, multi-stroke light brows, blue-gray metal sleep eyes with real lashes as well as painted upper and lower lashes. The smiling mouth is open with two teeth. When was she made?

A Vanta Baby was available from 1927 through 1930. Nearly all sources describe has a bent-limbed baby, but yours is a far less common toddler stand-up version. The line was distributed by Sears with advertising for Vanta baby garments which used no pins but had twill ties. Since your doll’s dress has a plain front yoke, she most likely had a fancy sweater or jacket over it. It is quite unique to have the original tagged dress as children usually liked to undress baby dolls or change clothing.

SUSIE Q

In the May 2000 issue of Doll Reader, you had a photo of a doll a dealer thought was a possibly Judy Canova. Here is a picture of my doll whose actual name is Susie Q and has her button and paper hang tag. She was put out by the Royal Blue Stores in 1948. Her tag reads, “Hi Gals, Hi Fellas, I’m Susie Q. I’m scheming big plans for all of you. Keep in touch with me, and I’ll tell you more. You can always find me at the Royal Blue Store.”

Thank you so much for this new information on an undiscovered doll. The hang tag shows fulllength art work of Susie Q from which the doll must have been designed. Perhaps we can include a more detailed picture of this hang tag in the future. Susie wears a blue cotton dress with white collar trimmed in blue rickrack and a blue-andwhite checked apron with matching bows on her black braids. Who knows more of the Royal Blue Stores?

FLOSSIE FLIRT

Enclosed are photos of one of my favorite 21inch compo dolls that I would like you to identify. She has a flange neck head with closed dome of very pale bisque-like coloring. She has a red mohair wig and blue metal eyes which flirt (side-to-side) and wink, but there are no lashes painted around the eye socket. Instead, there are vertical black lash lines decaled on the eyeball lid that looks very much like the teeth of a comb. Her eye mechanism is marvelous and they work perfectly. She has compo half arms and legs on a stuffed cloth body. Obviously, she is an early Ideal with the diamondshaped mark with Ideal and U.S. of A- around the diamond, but I cannot say anything more specific. She looks a lot like Flossie Flirt. But her nose and mouth seem wider and more babylike. Who is she?

I would say this charmer is one version of Flossie Flirt but a rare one indeed. She may have been from an early mold and possibly was a prototype that can differ somewhat from the later examples. Ideal introduced Flossie Flirt in 1924. These particular eyes were mounted individually inside the head with the ability to flirt, glance sideto-side as well as wink with only one eye. This is most unique. It has been said that the highest paid worker in the doll factory was the eyelash painter. Your doll could have been an experiment to have lashes stamped onto the metal eye by a machine, a cost saver. I have never seen another. “She winks and she blinks,” was part of Flossie’s advertising.

PATSYETTE LOOK-ALIKE

Can you tell me who made this 9-inch Patsyette look-alike? She is all composition with dark eyes and golden hair but is completely unmarked.

Effanbee’s Patsyette made her debut in 1931, a smaller version of Patsykin (marked Patsy)r:) and was well-marked. She sold for $1.25. During the Depression, even this was difficult for many families to afford. It was the nature of the game for other companies to do a knockoff at lesser price. So your doll is ca. 1932 by Ralph A. Freundlich of New York. A small child would have been just as happy with her and collectors today have taken an interest in all the look-alikes.

For answers to your composition doll questions, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Doll Research Projects, Patricia N. Schoonmaker, c/o Doll Reader, 6405 Flank Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17112. Photographs and/or illustrations submitted to Mrs. Schoonmaker carry permission for reproducing in this magazine unless otherwise requested. Once printed, they become the property of PRIMEDIA Enthusiast Group, and cannot be returned.

Copyright Cowles Enthusiast Media Dec 2000/Jan 2001

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