Paper dolls: the story of the appearance of dolls with a wardrobe made of paper

In the middle of the 17th century, colorful sheets with a rich wardrobe of a society lady were printed on them. So the information on a mode long before appearance of the first fashion magazines spread. One hundred years later, when paper toys became popular, these sheets were remembered. From 1790 it appeared on sale and a flat cardboard doll with a wardrobe made of paper immediately became extremely popular. She had to be cut with scissors. Here is how the Journal der Modern wrote about it: “A new, very nice invention is the so-called English dolls, which have recently been received from London. Actually, this is a children's toy for girls, but so attractive and funny that mothers and adult women will play with it with pleasure, especially since here you can show your good or bad taste in clothes or hairstyle, and, essentially, learn. The doll is a figure of a young woman, carved from solid cardboard, about 8 inches tall (about 20 cm)with just laid out hair, in the lower skirt and corset. 6 full sets with taste of painted clothes are attached to it, which is cut out of paper. These are summer and winter clothes, negligee, dickey, furs, caps and hats, fur coats and dresses, etc. ”

The first paper doll, little Fannie, was produced by a London firm in 1810. The first American paper doll is The Story and Adventures of Little Henry, published by J. Belcher in Boston in 1812. In the 1820s, paper dolls were usually produced in Europe and exported to America for wealthy children.

Often, dolls were made as satirical illustrations of popular figures.
In France, in the mid-1700s, paper dolls "pantins" (Pappet) were enraged in high society and royal courts, as these figurines, a mixture of puppet and paper doll, ridiculed the noble class. But in our understanding, a paper doll is a doll with a set of costumes.

In 1791, a London advertisement announced a new invention called the “English doll.” It was a young female figure, eight inches tall, with a wardrobe underwear, headdresses, a corset and full equipment.

Celebrity's first paper doll is a doll depicting the famous ballerina Maria Taglioni, published in the 1830s. In 1840, another ballerina was recruited, Fanny Elsler, as well as Queen Victoria.
These early paper dolls are very rare and quite appreciated.

Serially paper dolls have been produced since the 19th century, there are many of them in promotional products: tea and cigarette cards, advertising brochures. Paper dolls massively printed newspapers and magazines, it always gave the publication popularity.

From the 1870s to the 1890s, European manufacturers began to produce beautifully lithographed full-color paper dolls. They were often famous theatrical figures, including German royal families and actresses.
In 1866, Raphael Tuck, possibly the most famous manufacturer of vintage paper dolls, began working in London. Raphael Tuck & Sons soon opened branches in New York and Paris. Their first paper doll was a baby with a horn patented in 1893.

Celebrities and movie stars were very popular and many of their portrait dolls with costumes from films were released:
Mary Pickford, Billie Burke, Mary Miles Minter and Charlie Chaplin. The Delineator in 1917 also uses movie stars as a paper doll. Photoplay also introduced Movy-Dolls in 1919 and 1920. They were all from silent movies.In 1925, Woman’s Home Companion made a short series of children's stars in the form of paper dolls. In 1925, Hollywood Dollies were released, making sixty-six different celebrities including Rudolph Valentino, Tom Mix, Colleen Moore, Mary Astor and Rin Tin Tin.

And by the end of the 20th century, they began to produce paper dolls with large sets of various clothes in the form of brochures from which children cut out all the accessories for the doll.

Paper Dolls "The Lettie Lane Paper Family", 1908

Paper dolls 1919-1921

1920

Paper dolls



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