My Vintage International Doll Collection
Sharing My Vintage Doll Collection
My vintage doll collection is comprised mostly of dolls I was given as a child.
It started when my aunts travelled; they would bring back a souvenir doll. When I started to travel, I purchased dolls on my trips.
Many of these vintage dolls are different and I hope to let everyone see and share in something not commonly seen.
What good is having a doll collection is everyone can't see it and enjoy it?
Can Can Dancer Doll From Paris
This doll was purchased in the early 1950s in Paris.
Her left foot is fixed to a pedestal and her right foot and arms swing freely. Of course as a child, I would kick up her leg and make her do the can-can. I am surprised she is in as good condition as she appears.
Her dress is made of pink satin ribbons separated by black lace. She has black lace stockings.
The French Word for Doll is.....
A Vintage Souvenir Doll From Italy - One Of My Aunts Brought This Back From Italy In The 1950's
It's a souvenir doll from Sorrento.
What amazed me about this doll is that a lot of her accessories, including her earring are stuck on with straight (common) pins. Probably, not the safest toy for a child. I wonder if today, this is still done with souvenir dolls.
The Italian word for doll is....
Vintage German Souvenir Doll - My mother bought this at a tag sale
I read an article that indicated these dolls were produced during the 1940s for soldiers to bring back to America as souvenirs.
This vintage doll is made of a composite material. She has a straw hat with red pompoms.
The German word for doll is...........
These were purchased by my parents on their honeymoon in 1942 in upstate New York.
Skookum dolls were dressed in Native American type dress, however, they were not made by Native Americans
Earlier Skookum dolls have dried apple faces, these have composition or plastic faces.
Here's a little bit different Native American Dolls - Purchased in Arizona in the 1980sClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Skookum dolls were from Upstate New York -- this is home to Onandaga, Huron, Cuyuga, Seneca and Iroquois.
The Weaving Dolls was purchased in Arizona, home to Pueblos, Acama, Suna Navajo and Apache.
If you know the translation, please let me know. I like to provide my readers with as much information as possible.
The Native American Word for "Doll"
I searched for information on the what the Native American's would call a doll. A reader offered that the Navajo word for doll is "awééshchíín".
I believe languages vary between Native American tribes, other tribes may have other words for doll.
Vintage Banana Leaf Doll - From Bermuda?
Banana Leaf Doll
This is probably the doll that I have the owned longest; early 1950s. One of my aunts brought it back from her travels and it was in my mother's china cabinet when I was a toddler. From time to time, my mother would let me hold her.
She is made of banana leaves and has a nut for a head. She used to have a purse.
When this article was first published, I asked for information on my banana leaf doll.
Here are some of my reader's comments which are so very helpful
From an anonymous reader 1:
My friend Ronnie Chameau in Bermuda makes banana leaf dolls...Oprah Winfrey owns one,and i think one is in the White House! She makes exquisite Christmas angels out of banana leaf as well.I don't think this is one of hers,or the older lady Mrs Gleeson who has passed away now from Bermuda.You could look up Ronnie on the web and find out more about her.Maybe the people in the west indies do these dolls as well.
From anonymous reader 2:
Hi. My great aunt, Marie Gleeson made dolls like these. She had a little shop in St.George's and I'd go there sometimes with my mom and watch her braid the little hats and baskets. i have one that looks a little more sophisticated than yours , with basket and umbrella. She'd dye little dried flowers and seeds and decorate the doll with them. The tag on mine says "I come from Bermuda, the Isles of Sunshine. I'm dressed in banana and native screw pine." I have a Ronnie Chameau doll also, they're lovely.
A response to anonymous reader 2 from anonymous reader 3:
I have one of Marie Gleeson's banana dolls, and she has a small pale green label attached with the words "I come from Bermuda, the Isles of Sunshine. I'm dressed in banana and native screw pine". She is almost 13" tall, dressed in a long skirt with a cape-like shawl that has a lovely woven border and a colourful corsage. She is wearing a lovely lacy straw hat decorated with flowers, and has dark brown palm fibre hair and a pretty face painted on a walnut. She is carrying a beautiful woven basket that contains small coloured seeds. She belonged to my mother Muriel "Bubbles" Gauntlett (1908-2009).
A Video on Banana Leaf Dolls
Thanks to John McGill, I believe we have solved the mystery of the origin of the banana leaf doll.
His friend Ronnie in Bermuda makes them now.
- Angels in Pembroke with Ronnie Chameau
Watch this interesting video of how Ronnie Chameau has revived the banana doll craft in Bermuda.
Mom and Pop Dolls from Pennsylvania, USA - Lancaster, PA. - Pennsylvania Dutch
These are from the Lancaster/Pennsylvania Dutch area of Pennsylvania.
My family took a trip there when I was a child and we picked these up. This was in the late 1950s.
We were told that the woman makes the dolls and and their costumes and her husband makes the rocking chairs. Originally, she made them with dried apple faces, however, so many people complained that they did not last, that she changed her method. Instead, she made a mold of the dried apple faces and cast these faces.
Their arms are pipe cleaners and their hair is cotton balls.
Boy and Girl Sakura Dolls from Japan - These are my favorite vintage dolls
My Mom took me to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, during the 1950s. The girl doll was purchased in their gift shop.
A few years later, my school class took a trip to the Museum of Natural History and I was lucky enough to find the little boy dolls.
I love their costumes and the colors and when you press their chest, they squeak. Their heads are bisque and their bodies are plastic or composite.
Protect and preserve the beauty of your dolls by keeping them in and enclosed cabinet, out of direct sunlight.
Chinese Lady Doll
This is a newer doll from China. This was a gift from friends of mine who visited Epcot Center in Florida. There was a display there from China. She is from the 1990s.
Mexican Flower Vendor Doll - Cheerful and bright
I bought this on a trip to Mexico in the 1980s. She is made of heavy paper and the flowers are a light weight paper, maybe tissue paper.
I love her bright colors.
The Spanish word for doll is...........
Which doll is your favorite and why?
© 2011 Ellen Gregory