Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve

It's a fantasy night, staying up late, wearing something special with a champagne flute in one hand. Here's wishing you all a safe and joy-filled evening surrounded by loved ones to welcome in 2008.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Portobello Road find

Two years ago I spent Christmas week in London, and found this booklet at the famous Portobello Road open air antiques market. Check out:

Friday, December 28, 2007

Susie from Children's PlayMate

A classic from Children's PlayMate magazine.

And good news today from Joyce McClelland about John Axe:

"John had surgery yesterday and according to his sister all went well. He may even be released on Sat or Sunday. I spoke very briefly with John this morning. He sounded strong. In few days the drs will determine the course of his post surgery treatment(s)."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Kaiser's Kaffee-Geschaft Card

Here's a coffee card collectible featuring a girl arranging her doll house. I thought it was unusual to see this format for coffee advertising; I'm more familiar with tobacco cards of this size. The scene could be anytime, but it is very evocative of Christmas mornings spent playing with a new toy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sleigh Ride by Dennison

Here's a Christmas postcard by Dennison, the same company that produced many craft and paper doll sets featuring their brand of crepe paper to make dresses. I believe they are still in business to this day.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lucky Strike Paper Doll

Another newspaper cut-out from the Carol Carey treasure trove. This was a Lucky Strike ad in a newspaper, I believe. Always interesting to find a smoking paper doll, now that the habit is thoroughly taboo!

I wonder how many paper dolls exist with cigarette in hand? I know Queen Holden illustrated a male paper doll with a cigarette. Any others out there?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Paper Doll Review

In a hurry, working late tonight, still have a few more gifts to pick up...but whoa, what's this in the mail...the latest issue of Paper Doll Review. Well, maybe a few minutes late won't hurt...The table of contents shows why you should subscribe; click on the picture to read a bigger version. Beautifully illustrated, with a back cover paper doll by Bruce Patrick Jones of himself as a child in Jamaica!

Paper Doll Review, 4 issues,$26; Canada, $32; Overseas, $38. Send check or money order to P.O. Box 14, Kingfield, ME 04947. Or call 1-800-290-2928. And do check out, if you haven't already.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Noelle by Anne Donze

Every year the NYC paper doll group sets aside its December meeting to exchange gifts. I always like to include the work of a new paper doll artist that the members might not be familiar with (Three of the six members do not go online at all). I ordered a few of Anne Donze's folder paper dolls for Christmas 2006, but I was late with my order and decided to hold them until this year--a good idea, since this turned out to be one of the busiest years for me.

I had the folders ready to go, and they were a big hit yesterday. I saved Noelle for myself. Each doll comes with four outfits; check out Anne's Web site for more information.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


This Bootkins appeared in a newspaper 70 years ago, but the style is not so different from the current Baby Bratz and similar dolls that have big stylish heads, small bodies and fabulous wardrobes.

Girl Sleuths and Juvenile Series Books

At the Indianapolis Convention in 2006, John Axe gave a presentation on Juvenile Series Books and distributed a wonderful booklet about the authors and dust jacket artists. He also created a lovely souvenir, his tribute to Girl Sleuths. The back and front covers are shown here; there are two additional pages of outfits.

Here's an update from Joyce McClelland:

"Hi Everyone, Just wanted you to know that I spoke with John today much to my surprise. I expected him to be in the hospital. However, his surgery has been post poned until Dec.27. His doctor has called another doctor to perform the surgery, and this surgeon is not available until then. John was hoping that it would all be over by now but instead he has '9 more sleepless nights' a head of him. I will keep you all posted on his situation. Joyce"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Charlotte's Grand Tour

While we're all sending good thoughts John Axe's way, I also wanted to share a sample of John's work: "Charlotte: Views and Diary Excerpts from Her Grand Tour." It's a paper doll overlay that John created in 1996 for Les Rubans Aubergine Doll Club Regional Conference "La Belle Epoque" presented by Region 8 of the United Federation of Doll Clubs. Of course, John has written widely on a number of doll related topics, not just paper dolls, and on collecting girls series books (Nancy Drew, to name one). He also did a memorable presentation on the girl book artist Pelagie Doane at a paper doll convention about three years ago.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Prayers for John Axe

John Axe, sitting left in this photo with Bruce Patrick Jones, is a longtime paper doll artist and supporter who was indispensable in San Antonio. Now comes word from Joyce McClelland that John will undergo surgery on Tuesday. She would like us to spread the word so that friends can keep him in their prayers:

"Hello Everyone, This should be the season of good cheer. However, one of our paper doll friends is having a very hard time being of good cheer this season. Many of you know that John Axe has been having a very difficult time since July. Among other things he has had pneumonia and recently he had an auto accident. These issues pale compared to the news that he has just received. John will undergo surgery on Tuesday to remove a brain tumor. He does not know if the tumor is malignant or benign (the doctor says that information will only be available after the surgery) but he is very worried because cancer runs in his family. One of his sisters died of a malignant brain tumor. He has asked me to tell his pd friends, and I am asking you to keep him in your prayers. I know I don't have a complete list of the individuals who know John so please pass this info along to those who may not be included in this email. Joyce"

Fashion Illustration

Photography has supplanted illustration in newspaper and magazine fashion ads, by and large. But every once in a while, an artist is hired to do the job, and reminds me of how much I loved the artwork as much as the fashions they depicted. (Somewhere in my collection I have an old Betsey Johnson "Alley Cat" advertisement with paper dolls, circa 1972.)

The black and white ad is from Bloomingdales; the faces remind me of those big eye paintings of the 1960s. The color ads are a delightful collage of watercolor and photos in a Lord & Taylor spread.

The late Dot Wilson's paper doll artwork conveyed a lot of the style and wit of the best fashion illustration. The doll shown here, "Claire Whitcomb" was created by Dot in 1999.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Peggy Ell on the Mystery Doll

From Peggy Ell:

"I saw the unknown newspaper lady on the convention blog today & am able to ID her. She is "Connie, the Cut-Out Doll, Has All Her Frocks for Her Many Winter Parties". She was published in 1933. Her clothing is: print gown - Connie Attends a Tea Party; Her Blue Shopping Dress; Her Dainty Black & Yellow Lounging Pyjamas; and Connie Goes to the Theatre [purple gown]. I have attached a scan of the uncut panel (scanned in two parts & then stitched). There is no artist signature.

"On the back is an announcement that "Nearly 3,000 Grade School Children Attend the World-Herald Birthday Party Each Month". I googled World-Herald newspaper and found only the Omaha World-Herald. The two comic strips that are on the back are drawn by Harold Gray & are copyright by the Chicago Tribune. "

Thank you, Peggy, for filling us in. It's great to see this set uncut.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Winter girl scrap

There's something magical about the first snowfall of the season (even if winter doesn't officially begin for another week) and it always feels extra special when it occurs before Christmas. It might not stick around, but it certainly sets the mood. Right now the snow here in NJ has turned to a crunchy wintry mix, heavy on the ice. Best viewed from the window of your home, not your car.

Here's a scrap of a girl dressed to meet the elements. If memory serves, I found her at my favorite West Side flea market in Manhattan, the Green Flea, which is host to a greenmarket as well as antiques and collectibles.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Holiday Cut-out

The School of Visual Arts in New York City knows how to put on a party--and how to design a wonderful invitation, too.

Here, courtesy of Carol Carey (whose husband Gary teaches at SVA) is the 2007 holiday party invite from the renowned school of art and graphic design.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Mystery Comic Strip Paper Doll

Here's a comic strip paper doll that was part of a much larger collection that was purchased by Carol Carey of Brooklyn. Everything I know about comic strip paper dolls I've learned from Carol and her huge collection. She's been collecting for a long time, and when she gets duplicates, she's more than happy to sell them to her NYC club friends! Does anyone recognize this mystery lady?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tillie the Toiler and the Beaux- Arts Ball

These are unusual paper dolls for Tillie the Toiler--as far as I can tell, the doll isn't a character taken from the comic strip, but appears to be a serious "model". Readers were invited to submit a costume outfit for the doll, with the winner receiving a free trip the 1938 Beaux-Arts Ball in New York City. Has anyone come across the winning entries in their collection of Tillie strips?

Queen Holden mini booklet

This small booklet, "Billy and Peggy" is roughly 2 and 1/2 inches high and was part of a collection of paper dolls belonging to one Nancy Anne Nash. I found her stash of paper dolls about two years ago in a local antiques store. They were crammed into a brown paper bag, and dated from the late 1930s-early 1940s. The paper was thin and fragile, with many pieces crumbling at the slightest touch.

My guess is that this was included in a larger set, but which one?

Notice on the little school berets, the date "195?" Perhaps looking forward about 15 years when these toddlers would graduate!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Deanna Williams publishes Cornerstones four times a year, and the current issue is chock full of information about the history of Santa Claus and Old Saint Nick, plus a bounty of Santa paper doll imagery. Deanna's research is exhaustive! And what fabulous finds in her collection:

A Helen Page Santa Claus -- doublesided, with a paper doll and three outfits that slide out of the sack on his back. Charles Ventura did a Santa Claus paper doll! (who knew? Deanna did.) David Wolfe did his version of Santa's Wedding with a Mr. and Mrs. Claus that look positively robust. Lone Nunnally's Origami Bear dons Santa outfits here, too. Tom Tierney did a 3-D Santa and Mrs. Claus figures but I especially like his self-portrait in jammies with Santa outfit. Bruce Patrick Jones did a Brad Pitt like Santa and a Whoopi Goldberg Santa, too. Terri Pettit has some adorable elves with Santa outfits, and Jayne Keller designed a paper doll ornament with a doll with her own Santa-like outfit and wearable tree.

Great historical find: "Aw, Cut It Out," a 1942 risque paper doll--pretty wild for the time. Let's just say Ms. Santa is shapelier than usual, and she looks kind of chilly. In the same spirit (but with more clothing) Larry Bassin's colorful centerfold is delightful, and shows Santa contemplating his own kind of rooftop merrymaking.

One cannot discuss Cornerstones without discussing the Fruitland Chronicles of Gene Maiden and Tom Tierney. A flight of fancy and imagination that will set you laughing out loud!

Cornerstones, $24/U.S; $28/Canada; $33 overseas. US funds only.
Make check payable to Cornerstones and mail to: Deanna Williams, 733 de la Fuente, Monterey Park, CA 91754.

Convention Update: The Bus to NYC

The Lakeland Bus Company provides direct service to New York's Port Authority on the Route 202 & 46 line, which stops just across from the Embassy Suites in Parsippany. Fare is $8.05 one- way, reduced to $4.00 for seniors.

Check out

Click on Route 46 to get the most direct bus route schedules for Mon-Fri or Sat-Sun. Then scroll down to Parsippany/Rt. 202 & 46 to find departure and arrival times.

A Special Get Well

Diana Lax is on the mend after surgery, and we wish her a speedy recovery.

Garth has launched his e-mail blasts -- make sure you're on his list!

I found these cut-outs in an antique store in Red Bank, in south Jersey. The pieces were glued to muslin long ago, I believe, to ensure durability.

This is the art work of Sheila Young, of course, but I'm not sure if this appeared in her Lettie Lane or Betty Bonnet series.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Winter in Paris by Erte

Another card produced by Flame Tree Publishing in the U.K.

Sleeping Beauty by Erte

I was thrilled to find this greeting card at the Drama Book Shop in Manhattan last year. This particular Erte painting was featured on the cover of Harpers Bazaar, I believe; not sure which year.
Flame Tree Publishing in London produced this and other Erte greeting cards.

Paper Doll Studio

Jenny Taliadoros publishes two amazing publications: Paper Doll Studio and Paper Doll Review. I first heard about the magazines when Mary Engelbreit did a profile on the paper doll collection of her grandmother, Helen Johnson, and the family tradition of paper art and collecting that Judy Johnson and daughter Jenny continue. I still remember the impressive files that Helen kept her collections in!

Paper Doll Studio, the quarterly publication of the Original Paper Doll Artists Guild (OPDAG), showcases original paper doll art. Here's where you can see the latest from current artists you know (including Sandra Vanderpool, Brenda Sneathen Mattox, Norma Lu Meehan, David Wolfe, Sylvia Kleindinst and Kwei-lin Lum) and many more than you may not have heard of before, such as Alina Kouri, Basia Koenig, Charlotte Krause and Larry Bassin, to name a mere handful. Readers are encouraged to submit clothing for each issue's Dress-A-Doll--and you don't have to be a pro, just follow submission guidelines for the best reproduction in the magazine. Each issue has a color insert, and profiles a paper doll artist.

The current issue (#89 Fall 2007) is richly illustrated (as usual) with fashions submitted for the Erte Dress-A-Doll designed by Norma Lu Meehan, with a color insert by Basia Koenig. The featured artist is Maureen Fitzsimmons. In addition to all the wonderful artwork, excellent articles: an appreciation of Erte by Norma Lu Meehan, Tom Tierney writing about his encounter with Erte! and David Wolfe providing insight into why Erte didn't do well in Hollywood. Also in this issue: a San Antonio convention review by Brenda Sneathen Mattox, drawing tips by Joann Anderton, which I mentioned in an earlier post and letters from readers and artists about their latest projects.

Subscriptions: $27 a year/$33.00 Canada/$39 Overseas. OPDAG, Jenny Taliadoros, Publisher, P.O. Box 14, Kingfield, ME 04947. And check out the Web site:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Golden Opportunities

Nan Moorehead left Golden, Colorado and is settled in at her new home in the state of Washington. She hasn't skipped a beat in publishing her Golden Opportunities newsletter, and even had a play date with Bent Tabs in Oregon! (I think that group has the best club name around.)

The current 26-page issue features the Movie and Muny Opera Dressographs of the St. Louis Post Dispatch from the collection of Barbara Bigelow. Stars I've never heard of (Una Val? Heather Angel? Child actress Mitzi Green?) to the world famous: Sylvia Sidney, Mary Astor, Fay Wray, Katherine Hepburn, Ida Lupino and Joan Crawford. These are hard to find, in any condition, so it is an invaluable guide to what's out there. The front cover of this issue features an unidentified Muny Opera Dressograph. Do you recognize who this is?

Previous issues of this newsletter have featured rare finds, including hand-mades, from the collection of Elaine Price. And Nan features an auction in each issue, and lately a sales list, too. I recently purchased the Flapper Fanny strip from her list.

Subscriptions: $24-US; in Canada, $26; Others, $32. Sample issue, $7. Nan Moorehead, Golden Opportunities: Paper Doll & Toy Quarterly, P.O. Box 1831, Edmonds, WA 98020.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Paper Doll Circle

Here's a 36- page quarterly newsletter published by Lorna Currie Thompoulos in England. Lorna uses a distinctive Do Not Bend rubber stamp on her envelope and I always look forward to the postage stamps!

In the current issue, there is a thorough reporting on the San Antonio convention by Diana Lax, with photos by Garth Lax. Then Lorna reported on the paper doll party she hosted at her home in Cobham, which drew collectors from England, Wales, Denmark and Norway. Photos of original paper dolls created by Lorna and Marie Walters for the lucky partygoers.

Also in this issue: Many photos of new paper dolls from around the world, a 1914 McLoughlin Bros. catalog, a review of an exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum on The Golden Age of Couture 1947-1957 (and two paper doll sets for sale in the museum gift shop) and a lovely photo of Marion Jennings visiting the Musee de la Poupee in Paris. Cleveland conventiongoers may remember Guido and Samy Odin, who run the museum. The picture shows a smiling Marion in Samy's paper doll room. The back cover of the newsletter has a Marion Hughes paperdoll, and there is a color insert of a male paper doll, from the 1997 collection of Italian designer, Elio Ferraro.

Also inside there's a picture showing a creative collage paper doll by Lorna of Amy Winehouse, the British r&b singer.

Subscriptions: $25. Lorna Currie Thomopoulos, 28 Ferndown Gardens, Cobham, Surrey KT11 2BH, England. Check out Lorna's My Space page:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Midwest Paper Dolls and Toys Quarterly

Janie Varsolona and Louise Kaufman published the Midwest Paper Dolls and Toys Quarterly from 1973 until? I have a binder of issues dating from 1978 (when they announce they have been publishing for five years) and ending somewhere around 1986.

It's a blast going through these old newsletters. So many familiar names, and pictures of items I've never seen before, lists of things like the Boston Sunday Globe paper toys. There was always a paper doll party going on--even a pajama party! and someone happy to write it up for others to enjoy. Midwest had an auction list, and ran photos of conventiongoers, too.

In the fall of 1982, Johana Gast Anderton wrote up the Lowe convention in Troy, Michigan. She mentions something that I think all of us can identify with: "Now, it's confession time. I was so enamored of the salesroom, I totally neglected to get in to look at the competition. ... What a loss! Because THERE is the place to learn. THERE is the place to see those goodies you will probably never own." I, too, have neglected the competition in the past. Big mistake! For all the reasons Johana cites, 25 years ago. (Johana, by the way, has a wonderfully instructive article on drawing in black and white in the current Erte issue of Paper Doll Studio.)

Midwest Paper Dolls paid tribute to Joan Carol Kaltschmidt, editor of Paper Playthings, in the Fall 1986 issue. Joan Carol had finally succumbed that year to cancer, after a three-year battle. According to Midwest: "She was the originator of Paper Doll Parties that eventually became what we call Conventions today. Small gathering of collectors would meet, trade, share, and have fun. Today those small gatherings have over 100 attend." So here's to Joan Carol, and the wonderful tradition she started.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Paper Playthings by Joan Carol Kaltschmidt

How did people buy and sell paper dolls before eBay? They relied on flea markets, garage sales and paper doll newsletters. I've discovered some old newsletters at parties and online sale lists. "Paper Playthings" was published by Joan Carol Kaltschmidt from her home in Flushing, Queens from the 1960s through the 1980s, I think. I have copies from 1971-1986--the May 1971 issue is No. 85, so there are many others I haven't seen from the early days of publication.

Joan Carol's newsletter is like a letter from an old friend, filled with news--good, bad and in-between-- about her family, including son Matthew and daughter Mary Lou (M'lou, as she called her). I've no doubt that if Joan Carol were still alive, she'd be blogging about paper dolls--certainly outdoing anything I could possible do--and organizing one fabulous convention.

The May 1971 issue, shown here, also has news about Carol Carey's baby shower--she's one of the members of the NYC paper doll group.

You can imagine my delight when I found "Laura," a handmade paper doll by Joan Carol at a convention sales table a few years ago.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hank by Dale Messick

Hank was the tough female editor in the Brenda Starr comic strip, of course. The paper is a little dirty, because it came from beneath someone's linoleum! Didn't everyone lay newspaper down underneath the new linoleum in the old days? I did it in my first apartment in 1980!

By the way, I checked our Embassy Suites online reservation form, and it works like a charm. My thanks to Jennifer Andersen for all of her help.