Archive for June, 2010

Before she turned eight, she had the most recognizable face in the world. She was the top box-office draw for four consecutive years during the Great Depression. She dined with presidents and foreign dignitaries and played with their children. Why shouldn’t she have had her own clothing line?!

This wonderful dress is from the “Shirley Temple” Cinderella Frocks line manufactured by The Rosenau Brothers company in the 1930’s!

In 1934 Sidney Rosenau acquired the rights to use Shirley’s name and adaptations of her movie wardrobe for a line of children’s clothing under the Cinderella Frocks brand. The Philadelphia and New York-based company produced a large line of clothing bearing Temple’s name all throughout the 1930’s. After a period of hiatus in the 1940’s, the company again began producing “Shirley Temple” designs in the late 1950’s, riding on the popularity of the “Shirley Temple Storybook” television series.

Rosenau and Temple maintained a friendship over the years that began when she was a child. She was quite fond of him and he even acted as court-appointed guardian for her in a New York-based lawsuit against a small company that infringed on Ideal Doll Company’s exclusive rights to create Shirley Temple Dolls.

The dress is adorable! I love the purple color and the sassy print! What a treat it must have been for a little girl living during the Depression-era! Shirley Temple Frocks came with graphic hang tags, which are now collector’s items themselves. I once came across a 1930’s Shirley Temple scrapbook that included over ten hang tags pasted throughout its pages. The child who owned the scrapbook must have had a completely “Shirley Temple-inspired” wardrobe! I have included an example of a tag in the gallery images at the bottom.

This dress is just one of the many unusual 1930’s liscensed Shirley Temple products. Soap, socks, slippers, raincoats, and even underwear beared the young star’s name.

This rare dress is currently for sale on EBay. I sell under the user name of Elszen.


As the 19th-century drew to a close, many companies saw the value in using paper toys to market their products.  Companies understood that because paper toy ads weren’t discarded until the children of the house tired of playing with them, this form of advertising had more longevity than the usual flyer.   Not only were they effective marketing tools, but paper toys were also cheap to produce.  Many companies including J&P Coates, New England Mince Meat Company, Enameline, Boraxine, Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company, and Pillsbury, used paper dolls to advertise during the Victorian age.

The adorable set of paper dolls shown on this page was produced by Lion Coffee during the Victorian era.  Lion Coffee used paper dolls extensively in their marketing during the late 1890s and early 1900s.  The company produced many series of dolls including an occupation series, doll house series, and nursery rhyme series.

Lion Coffee has been around since 1864 and is America’s oldest coffee manufacturer.  Some people credit the company with running the first great advertising campaign in American History – a campaign that included an iconic image of a lion drinking coffee and text that boasted “8,000 lbs. of coffee roasted every day.”  This advertising also mentioned that Lion Coffee was sold in 1lb papers; a pioneering effort to establish a brand name packaged coffee.  For more information about Lion Coffee’s advertising campaign, visit the link at the bottom of the page.

This particular set of Lion Coffee Advertising Dolls is based on the the well-known fairy tale of “Little Red Riding Hood” – a story which most likely dates back to the middle ages.  The set is made of a heavier-stock paper with advertising text on the back of every piece.  I love reading the sayings on the back of the pieces!  “In weather cold, and weather hot, Lion Coffee “Hits the spot.”

I think that children can sometimes have the most fun with unexpected, inexpensive toys like this set.  I remember cutting out Alvin and the Chipmunks paper dolls from a Dixie Cup box when I was a child.  The little dolls kept me entertained for the entire day!  I built a home for them out of a shoebox and decorated it with crayons.  I wonder what tales this set has to tell!

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+Lion+Coffee+saga-a08943605

If you like Advertising Paper Dolls, the book below if full of wonderful reproductions from various Victorian companies! Follow the link to purchase or find out more!

This gorgeous sepia-toned photo is framed in brass and may have actually served as a flue cover at one time.  It is the size and shape of flue covers of the Victorian era.

In any case, the image of the girl and doll is as sweet as I’ve ever seen.  I love the girl’s over-sized hair bow and her loving gaze.  Although I’m not sure, it’s possible that the doll in the photo was manufactured by the German company Schoenau & Hoffmeister.  She looks like the doll mold #1909 that the company produced in the early 1900’s.  I have added a picture of a doll of the same mold at the bottom of the page!  Do you see the resemblance too?

According to the website http://www.dollreference.com,

“Schoenau & Hoffmeister porcelain factory was located in Burggrub, Germany and was founded by Arthur Schoenau & Carl Hoffmeister in 1901. By 1907 the two partners were in disagreement of the type of porcelain heads for their dolls.  Carl Hoffmeister insisted on producing shoulder head dolls while Arthur Schoenau wanted to produce socket head dolls.  Unable to resolve there differences Carl Hoffmeister left and Arthur Schoenau became it’s sole owner.

In 1911 Arthur passed away and his son Hans Schoenau took over as director of the company.  Sometime later Arthur’s widow Caroline & son Curt Schoenau took over the directorship.  It was Curt who supplied their sculptor Carl Schneider with a photo of Princess Elizabeth that was used for their famous Princess Elizabeth doll.

Some of their trademark names were: Bébé Carmencita, Burggrub Baby, Das Lachende (DALABA – The Laughing baby), Hanna, Künstlerkopf (art head doll), My Cherub, Princess Elizabeth and Viola.”

The company typically marked their dolls on the back of their heads with a star, “SPBH,” and the mold number.  I have added an image of a typical Schoenau & Hoffmeister marking at the end of the page.  Sometimes the dolls from this company are confused with those produced by the Simon & Halbig company since both companies’ initials are the same.

Schoenau & Hoffmeister dolls are especially dear to me because my great-grandmother owned one as a child.  I was still in elementary school when my paternal grandparents died but I remember my parents finding a very old doll in their attic when they were cleaning out their house.  The doll was too old to have been my grandmother’s so we speculated that she belonged to my great-grandmother, Thelma.  The doll was dirty, her hair was matted, and she was dressed in rags.  I could still see her beauty through all of her flaws.  I had never seen a doll like her before and was quite fascinated.  My mom had her restored – thus beginning her antique doll collection.

**photos of flue cover and quilt courtesy of Sage Patch (http://www.sagepatch.com)**


Superman is probably the most recognizable comic book character around! His iconic red cape and “S” chest logo have become synonymous with action, adventure, and heroism. He is definitely a fan favorite!

It’s difficult to believe that our “Man of Steel” is nearly eighty years old! He was created in 1932 by the writer Jerry Siegel and cartoonist Joe Shuster while both men were living in Cleveland, Ohio. I’m a fan of early films and was delighted to discover that Siegel and Shuster modeled Superman from Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and his alter ego, Clark Kent, from be-speckled comedian, Harold Lloyd. In 1938, the duo sold the character to Detective Comics, Inc. (later to become DC Comics) which made the first comic book featuring Superman later that year.

Over the years Superman has been featured in comic books, comic strips, radio serials, television shows, video games, and films.

In 1940, the character was first featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Around this time, companies started selling licensed merchandise. The earliest was a button issued in 1939 proclaiming membership in the Superman of America Club. Puzzles, paper cut-outs, wooden and metal figures, games, trading cards, and even valentines followed.

This Superman Quoit Junior Ring Toss Game was produced by Super-Swim, Inc. in about 1955. A Horseshoes set with a similar look was also produced by the company around the same time. “Senior” versions of both games were also produced with heftier (and potentially more dangerous) parts for older children. Superman may have been at his height in popularity when this game was produced because of the extremely popular television program based on the superhero airing at the time, starring George Reeves. This piece is a perfect example of a simple game that has been made more appealing to children by adding Superman’s name and image to its box. I’m sure that the children who played with it were at their best – imagining that they had some of Superman’s powers!

If you like Superman, the book below is a GREAT PICK! The history of Superman with great images and MORE! Click on the link to purchase or learn more!

I marvel at children’s creativity – especially the creativity of children who lived during the Victorian age.  Since mass-produced toys weren’t as cheap or commonplace as they are today, some children made their own playthings from images found in catalogues.

This lovely set of paper dolls shows the vision and imagination of a little girl living over 100 years ago.  She obviously took her mother’s fancy hat catalogue and cut out figures and hats for them to wear.

Each of the dolls measures about 8″ high and is made of a medium-weight paper. The dolls have such a wide assortment of hats to try on!  I love the vibrant colors and detail to the lithography of the hats!  Brilliant!

Perhaps the girl who made and played with this unusual set pretended that the paper ladies worked in a millinery shop.  Or, maybe they were hat models…  Or, perhaps they were just a couple of friends out on a shopping spree!

Did you ever make a set of paper dolls when you were a child?

This set is currently listed for sale on EBay.  I sell under the user name of Elszen.