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Posts Tagged ‘collectible paper dolls’

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My mother wrote the names on the back in pencil. They weren’t movie stars (to my knowledge), but were the teen-age girlfriends. (Left-Right: Nan, Betty Lou, Janet, Shirley, Marianne, Babs)

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Why is one paper doll face down, you ask? I just wanted to show how much my mother really cared about these. The little girl doll (daughter to the vivacious blond mother doll) has been taped and tooth-picked back together. This was a fun set: the mothers and daughters had matching suits for every occasion.

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One wedding party. There are two wedding parties in Mom’s collection. This one even has a Parson.

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Two sets of teenagers who obviously liked to hang out together in large groups and one more wedding party (on the right in the bottom photo). I believe the teens were all about being Debutantes and going to some fancy Ball or Senior Prom. These dolls didn’t attract me as much as the Movie Stars or the Cabaret Girls.

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I think it is fair to say, the Cabaret Girls were the favorites. I don’t know what order they are in, but their names are: Janis, Tina, Cecie, Babs, Fay, Mimi, Lea, Jeanne, and Nan (Nan is missing her right hand). They had the swankiest dresses and little shocking outfits for the 1940’s girls that they were.

My grandmother was probably scandalized by the Cabaret Girls.

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Inside the box with the paper dolls is this cigar box.

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And inside the cigar box, is this box. These were the Strictly Forbidden Paper Dolls, the ones we were never allowed to handle.

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They were cut out of magazines and catalogs. My mother kept lists of their names, who was married to who and what children belonged to what couple. Sometimes, typed names were crossed off where she changed her mind and renamed a paper doll. The spelling is terrible, so my mother must have been very young when she compiled these genealogies. (My mother did not misspell many words as an adult.)

Jeffery Ren Burt 27  – Marlene Vilee 24 Prodestant (sic). (They are, apparently, a couple.)

Daniel Goodjoy 25 – Linda Lou Costellas 18 Prodestant (sic)-Catholic. (My mother liked crossing denominational lines. My Baptist grandmother must have truly arched her eyebrows!)

One sheet is dated Sept. 15, 1946. Mom would have been 14. All the dolls have first-middle-last names. They have ages and histories.

For instance, Willard Joseph Winston, Prodestant, 45 was “killed in fire”.

Juanita Marie Winston, Catholic, 21 was “adopted”.

Gordon Paul Costellas went by “Gordie”

I handle this box with reverence. These are different that the others who are glamorous and can change clothes. These dolls are stuck forever in the outfits they are wearing. They are thin slips of paper with advertisements and magazine articles on the flip side. They are the dolls we were never allowed to touch, the favorites of all my mother’s childhood, and the ones who hold more memory of her than the other dolls do. After all, the other dolls have known many hands. These have known two hands.

I need to find a better way to store these treasures, but I hesitate to remove the last ones from their two boxes. They are safe there, hidden from pudgy little hands and light that fades their ink. And if I stick my nose deep into the box, I imagine I can still smell stale cigarette smoke on them.

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