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Toni - an Ideal Doll from the 1950s

Updated on June 10, 2015
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Baby Boomers Remember Their Toni Doll Fondly

The Toni doll by the Ideal Doll Company came out in 1949. It was a few years later, that my sister received her Toni doll for Christmas. I had a ballet doll but developed a strong preference for my sister's Toni doll. She wouldn't trade, but I did get to play with her now and then.

My mother created a whole wardrobe one Christmas for the Toni doll using scraps of curtain material and odd bits of trim from her sewing stash. My sister still has the doll and she is in good condition even though fifty years has passed since the Toni doll was new. She has a place of honor on the bureau in my sister's bedroom.

(photo of my sister's Toni doll taken by Karen Kolavalli)

toni doll from the 1950s
toni doll from the 1950s

My Sister's Toni Doll Was Named Belinda

Here's Belinda in one of the dresses my mother made for her. I think it gives her a Lara from Dr. Zhivago look. Mom didn't have any patterns to make the dresses, she just measured and cut and sewed to magically produce a doll dress. It was a secret, so she had to work at odd times on the clothes to have the wardrobe done by Christmas.

That was the Christmas that we were all making presents for each other. Can you imagine helping six children make gifts for each other. Where did she find the time to fashion all these outfits for Belinda?

I liked this blue dress a lot, but she also had a Cinderella style dress of off-white brocade trimmed with lace.

The Toni Doll Was Popular at the Same Time as This Shirley Temple Doll by Ideal

The Toni doll had similar characteristics (size, hair, etc.).

1950s Doll Commercial on YouTube for the Shirley Temple Doll

Example of a Toni Doll Advertisement

Delight Your Little Girl with a Toni Doll

Every little girl is a mother at heart. That's why she has a world of fun caring for her darling doll... putting her doll to sleep... dressing her up... and above all caring for her hair. There's sheer delight in shampooing the doll's hair and giving her a play wave.

No wonder the Toni doll... with magic nylon hair you can actually shampoo, wave and style -- has become the doll that's first on Santa's list.

Just as the Toni doll is the best loved doll, Tonette is the world's best loved children's home permanent. Because every little girl's hair "takes" and holds a lovely wave with Tonette, by Toni.

Ideal Dolls Like Toni Are Popular with Doll Collectors

Collector's Guide to Ideal Dolls: Identification & Values, 3rd Edition
Collector's Guide to Ideal Dolls: Identification & Values, 3rd Edition

Ideal made other dolls besides the Toni doll. Check out the value of these vintage dolls.

When you go to buy one on eBay or another site, consult this guide for the value to see if you are getting a good buy.

 

The Toni Doll from Our Childhood

My mother made this festive dress with the lace. It turned out lovely, didn't it!
My mother made this festive dress with the lace. It turned out lovely, didn't it! | Source
Toni Doll in white dress with lace trim.
Toni Doll in white dress with lace trim. | Source

Here's Toni in Her Dress Made by My Mother

from the family photo album

Sorry, Sis, for showing you in your hair curlers. There's the Toni doll under the Christmas tree. She's wearing the ivory satin dress with lace overskirt that Mom made for her. It's a beautiful outfit that Marie Antoinette would have been proud of.

(photo from the Martin family album)

Toni Dolls - My Family Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My sister's doll wearing a typical dress with a white pinafore.This is another dress that my mother made. I found the hat at Colonial Williamsburg to go with it.
My sister's doll wearing a typical dress with a white pinafore.
My sister's doll wearing a typical dress with a white pinafore. | Source
This is another dress that my mother made. I found the hat at Colonial Williamsburg to go with it.
This is another dress that my mother made. I found the hat at Colonial Williamsburg to go with it.

More about the Toni Doll by Ideal

Source

Pin by Zazzle: My Heart Belongs To TONI by ilovemyshirt

Make Your Own Doll Clothes for a Toni Doll

Vol 1 Sewing for 20th Century Dolls Clothes Patterns (Volume 1)
Vol 1 Sewing for 20th Century Dolls Clothes Patterns (Volume 1)

You'll find books like this on Amazon for making doll clothes. There are some for knitting outfits for a doll too.

 

If you want your own Toni doll,

check out the auctions I feature below.

A Toni Doll on Display (my photo)

A Toni Doll on Display (my photo)
A Toni Doll on Display (my photo)
Children learn real life skills from taking care of their doll.
Children learn real life skills from taking care of their doll. | Source

Graphic from Zazzle: Doing Laundry by YesterdayCafe

© 2010 Virginia Allain

What Doll Do You Remember from Childhood?

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    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @heytoto: I would have traded the ballerina doll to you. I always coveted Belinda and her vintage looking wardrobe.

    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 4 years ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      How funny, Ginger! I got Belinda on your birthday the year you got the ballerina doll! I threw a tantrum (I was maybe 3 or 4? We still lived in Ark City) because I WANTED your ballerina doll. Apparently Dad went to the smoke shop or wherever he was doing the punch card games and brought home the Toni doll for me. Most productive tantrum ever!

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      I don't remember the Toni doll, but I did have a Betsy Wetsy and of course the first Barbie (I wrote a lens on that one). I had many others but don't recall them offhand.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
      Author

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      @TransplantedSoul: I have seen some doll faces that give me that feeling. The Toni dolls have a really sweet expression and a reasonably natural features. I love them.

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 5 years ago

      Is it just me, or do some dolly look really creepy - maybe I've seen too many horror movies! :)

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      First doll I can remember wanting was Baby Secret probably in the mid 1060's. She whispered at you.

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

      Gayle 6 years ago from McLaughlin

      I have not heard of the Toni doll--my doll was Terri Lee.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      this is a fantastic Toni lens! I learned a lot here! Thank you! I am always needing/wanting to learn about different dolls. I will return again and again for additional info.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 6 years ago

      I love these dolls. As a child, I like stuffed toys the best, and enjoyed dolls more as I got older.