My very first doll that I remember…and a few more…

When my older sister and I were younger, my mom bought a few dolls for us. I’m pretty sure these dolls came before my Barbie dolls, but I’m not certain… maybe my sister might know. I also don’t know why the collecting stopped after only 3 dolls, but it did. My dolls have been stored away in just their cardboard box so the years have not been kind to them. Their eyes are still bright and work perfectly and their face paint is perfect. I don’t think we were allowed to play with these dolls, so the hair has never been undone; all the items that came with the dolls are there, but the clothes have lost their elasticity and are somewhat soiled from age…I’m not sure if soaking them in something like Biz would work or if they would disintegrate…
So let me introduce to you, my earliest dolls…

If you click on the pictures, they will enlarge somewhat.


First up is a little German girl that used to be adorable… but now she’s a bit worn looking…
I had a customer who used to buy doll clothes from me at our local Farmer’s Market who invited me over to her house to see her doll collection. She had this exact same little German doll. Her doll was in mint condition and had been displayed and well taken care of. I’m sure hers hadn’t been stored in some box for years.



Next up is McGuffy Ana, by Madam Alexander. Isn’t she just the sweetest thing in that red and white checked dress with her pinafore?



Look at the price on the box when my mom got her…


Now look at the darling expression on my little Hawaiian cutie… She has bendable legs and is so adorable.



Okay, now for the earliest doll I have… We lived in Italy for 2 years because my dad was in the military. I was probably 5 years old when I got this doll. One time we went to Venice and I remember walking around all the water ways there and this one seller had all these doll boxes propped up. My sister picked out this lovely doll with black hair and a gorgeous black mantilla with a purple lacy dress. She was very pretty.
I chose a doll with a beautiful pink lacy dress and loved her. The dolls had squeakers in their tummies and when you bent them backwards and then forward they would say, “Ma-ma.” I used to set my doll on my bed with her beautiful pink dress all spread out around her. They sat the way American Girl dolls do; with their legs flared out. Her dress covered her feet and she looked so pretty on my bed. One time we came home to find a disaster had happened. Our “wonderful” cat had decided to poop…and guess where? Right on my dolls lap all over her lovely pink lacy dress. There was nothing that could be done about it. It was ruined and I had to throw it away…I remember crying.

She isn’t nearly as pretty now as she once was. Her eyes are still a very pretty blue, but her paint has chipped and she looks like she’s got a skin disorder. She’s been naked for over 40 years… poor baby!



See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. Linda Doyle says:

    Lucky you, Jeanne, to still have your childhood dolls! Since I am the oldest of 4 girls, my dolls did not get taken care of very well—-it’s the little sister story! I do remember my dolls though, and I always had really nice ones. I remember the little storybook dolls, like the first two you have pictured. In my younger days, they were porcelain and very detailed (Madame Alexander’s), with gorgeous dresses. Of course, we were not supposed to play with those either, but…… My grandma always got our dolls for us girls, and when I was small, I called her Grandma Dolly! I remember getting a Sparkle Plenty doll, which my younger sister also did, and leaving them outside one day, only to find they turned a lovely shade of brown—very striking with bright yellow yarn hair!
    And Betsy Wetsy!!!! I remember giving my doll water non-stop, and she had more than wet diapers! Water was coming out of her leg and arm joints, and even eyes! My mother was so mad, because I was doing that in her bedroom!! Oh, the doll stories I have! But dolls have always been my first love! So fun to see your dolls and remember mine!

    • Hi Linda,
      Oh, I’m so sorry about your dolls. Mine aren’t in great shape, well the clothes aren’t, but at least I can still look at mine. Sorry about your Betsy Wetsy too… I can’t believe you gave her a BIG drink of water and all the water started pouring out of her. I know it’s terrible, but I started laughing at the thought… but as I read on… I guess your mom didn’t think it was so funny!
      By sharing my dolls, I’m glad it made you think of yours!
      Blessings to you Linda,
      ~ Jeanne

  2. What fun to see your childhood dolls and how nice that you still have them. They are in pretty good shape too. There is a powder substance that will take the mysterious “orange” spots/age spots out most of the time, that I’ve used on old family linens/doilies/cloth napkins/old doll clothes etc. Once the granules dissolve with water, you soak the items in it. When I get home I’d be happy to send you the name.
    Around the age of 4, I had a baby doll and I tried to put lipstick on her lips. You can imagine the permanent stain on her face. Unbeknownst to me, my mother took her to a doll hospital and had her cleaned up, and guess who was waiting for me later under the Christmas tree? I don’t know what happened to her when I outgrew my “Julie”. About 20 years ago, my older sister found the exact same doll as Julie, fixed her up, made a darling dress for her and presented her to me for Christmas. You cant imagine the tears of joy over an old friend.
    Before the Barbies, we received the beautiful Miss Revlons. Mom made beautiful clothes for them.
    I, like Linda, have always loved dolls from an early age. The dolls had to have perfect hair and facial paint and accessories!!


    • Hi Paula,
      Yes, when you get home let me know the name of the stuff you used to remove stains from your old doll clothes. I might as well give it a try and see what happens.
      What a sweet thing for your sister to replace your Julie doll! That was incredibly nice of her to think to do.
      We didn’t have Miss Revlon dolls, but Cindy and I had Toni dolls, that came with those permanents for their hair.
      It’s funny, I guess I’ve always been around dolls, but it took me growing into an adult woman to realize they were who I wanted to sew for. The rest is history…
      Thanks Paula,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. Kathie Welsh says:

    Those dolls are adorable! Love that little Hawaiian one.
    I think you could soak that eyelet pinafore in Biz without hurting it.. It’s cotton and MA always used good fabric in her doll dresses. I wouldn’t launder the dress though..put it in the dryer on low with a damp towel for a few minutes and freshen it that way….press if necessary. The white items on the little German doll could be laundered in Biz too…let them soak…swish with your fingers…rinse and lay flat to dry. Your Italian doll is like one I received form a lady who said her dad brought it home from WWII. She looks like she is flaking? or is that spots on her?

    • Hi Kathie,
      I might try soaking the pinafore in some Biz and see what happens… it surely couldn’t be any worse than it is now. The little German girls outfit is stitched on her… her pantalettes are glued on. So…
      Yes, I’d say my Italian doll is flaking… that’s a good word to describe it. But she does have little white spots on her face too. She looks like she has a swollen face, but I know that’s not possible.
      It’s not super important that I restore them but just know that I still have them. I have always kept them in the house and never in a basement but they are over 50 years old so what should I expect?
      Thanks Kathie,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. Good evening, Jeanne, or I should say night. It’s me late to the party this time. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed seeing your first dolls. I love the face on the little Hawaiian doll. She’s sweet. The three are in good shape except for their clothing needing laundering. Twin Pines of Maine has a safe product for whitening and brightening fabrics called Booost. I’ve never used it before, but remember seeing it when I was trying to get rid of Barbie’s green ear syndrome.

    • HI Cindy,
      I’m definitely going to try laundering the dress on my MA… I’ve heard of that Twin Pines stuff too but never have ordered it… maybe it’s time. One of my other ladies told me about something to use too…
      Thanks for the info…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. Charlotte Trayer says:

    I enjoyed seeing your childhood dolls, Jeanne. Definitely try laundering the Madame Alexander doll’s clothes–the red dress separately, of course, but, as someone else said, she always used high-quality fabrics for her dolls’ outfits, so I think cold or coolish water with some Biz would definitely be doable. I would check every so often, though, especially anything that is colored fabric or has a color in the trim, just to make sure there is no (or minimal) bleeding.

    Is the little Hawaiian girl by M.A., also? She has that kind of a face, but looks to be a little smaller than the other one, so perhaps a look-alike.

    The little German girl has such a cute expression on her face! A real little character, I think!! As to your Italian doll, perhaps it’s time for you to make Her a dress, so you can display her again!

    Whatever you decide to do, be sure to put notes with each of your dolls, telling their stories. Your family will enjoy that in years to come, I think.

    • Hi Charlotte,
      I’ve gotten enough comments about using Biz on that little Pinafore, that I’m going to give that a try.
      Yes, the little Hawaiian girl is a Madam Alexander doll, but she is shorter… she does have bendable knees too. She is such a cutie I think.
      Your’e right, I could make my Italian doll a new dress, but I really don’t have a place to display her now. I’ll consider it.
      Thanks so much for all your comments. I appreciate them.
      Blessings, Jeanne

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