I love the vibrant coloring and details of fine paper dolls from the Victorian era! This set, named “Mamie,” is lovely!
The doll depicts a beautiful brunette child, perhaps ten years old, with rosy cheeks and an oversized blue hair bow. She comes with three dresses and matching hats. The paper is thick and sturdy.
This set was made by Selchow and Righter, an American company with an interesting history. The company made many paper doll sets during the same era as this set, including one featuring a Teddy Bear and his clothes!
According to 20th Century Paper Dolls Identification and Values, by Mary Young:
The Selchow and Righter Company is an offshoot of a business started in 1867 by A. B. Swift. Mr. Swift was a wholesale distributor of toys and games on John Street in New York City. One of the games listed in his first catalog that year was Parcheesi. In 1870, the company was purchased by Mr. Elisha G. Selchow. Mr. Selchow hired a young man named John Harris Righter to help run the business. Righter did such a successful job that he was soon made manager, and he later became partner in the firm. The company continued to sell large quantities of toys, games, and baseball equipment, and a large assortment of mechanical toy banks. Mr. Righter died in 1909 and Mr. Selchow in 1915, but the company continued to succeed under the name of Selchow and Righter. Like most other toy companies, it experienced only two major slowdowns during the years that followed: one during the Depression of the early thirties and the other during World War II.
After the war, a crossword game was brought to Selchow and Righter for consideration but was turned down. It was not the first time the owner of the game had been turned down, so he decided to set up his own factory and produce the game himself. The name of the game was Scrabble, and the owner had the name trademarked. He asked Selchow and Righter if they would sell him a small quantity of playing boards, which they agreed to do. A year later, a greater amount of playing boards was ordered, and by 1952, the order was large enough to cause Selchow and Righter to wonder if they had done the right thing in turning down the game. The owner’s little factory was beginning to swim in Scrabble tiles, and new orders from customers made the owner realize he could no longer handle it alone. Hence, the game was licensed to Selchow and Righter. The game has now been translated into many foreign languages and also made in Braille.
For many years, the Selchow and Righter Co. was the American distributor for J. W. Spear and Sons of London/Bavaria. It handled all types of Spear games and toys, including toy theaters and paper dolls. A Little Red Riding Hood theater with jointed figures was pictured in the 1924/25 Selchow and Righter catalog. Spear’s paper dolls were also featured in that catalog.