Archive for September, 2010

Mother Goose’s fairy tales and nursery rhymes have inspired the imaginations of children throughout the centuries. There are many theories surrounding the true identity of this woman who wrote such captivating tales. Some believe that she was based upon ancient legends of the wife of King Robert II of France; others say she was the wife of Isaac Goose and lived in Boston in the 1600s. I have visited this woman’s gravesite in the Granary Burial Ground near the Boston Common. The small gravestone is always covered with pennies left for good luck by Mother Goose devotees.

Through the years, many Mother Goose-themed toys were created.  This wooden bowling game, by Charles Crandell, is one of the most interesting I’ve ever seen! Mother Goose is flanked on either side by Jack Spratt, Dame Trott, Tom Tucker, and Jack Horner. The toy is made of wood with paper lithographs attached. A ball was used to hit the pegs at the bottom. This action made the characters’ heads go down.

The toy was made by Charles Crandell. The website Antique Antiques describes this toymaker’s history:

In about 1867 Charles Crandall took over the woodworking shop of his father, in Covington, Pennsylvania, and gradually shifted the firm’s emphasis to toy making. In 1875 he moved the growing firm to Montrose, Pennsylvania, and in 1888 to Waverly, New York. Many of the company’s toys featured components with interlocking tongue-and-groove joints that allowed them to form scores of figures. Especially popular were the Acrobats and Treasure Box. Other products included blocks, puzzles, and games.

If you’re interested in purchasing this wonderful toy, visit Kendon Antiques!

What a whimsical photo postcard! A curly-headed lass giving her beloved Teddy Bear a bath!

Most toy collectors know how the teddy bears craze began in the early 1900s.  The stuffed bears rose to popularity after a political cartoon of President Theodore Roosevelt showing him sparing a young cub’s life was circulated. The early toymaker history and culture surrounding this still-popular toy is not as widely known. An article entitled “The History of the Teddy Bear,” by Marianne Clay, describes this history:

By 1906, the teddy bear craze was in full swing in the United States. The excitement probably compared to the frenzy for Cabbage Patch dolls in the 1980s and Beanie Babies in the 1990s. Society ladies carried their teddies everywhere, and children had their pictures taken with their teddy bears. President Roosevelt, after using a bear as a mascot in his re-election bid, was serving his second term. Seymour Eaton, an educator and a newspaper columnist, was writing a series of children’s books about the adventures of The Roosevelt Bears, and another American, composer J.K. Bratton, wrote “The Teddy Bear Two Step.” That song would become, with the addition of words, “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.”

Meanwhile, American manufacturers were turning out bears in all colors and all kinds, from teddy bears on roller skates to teddy bears with electric eyes. “Teddy bear,” without the apostrophe and the s, became the accepted term for this plush bruin, first appearing in print in the October 1906 issue of Playthings Magazine. Even Steiff, a German company, adopted the name for its bears.

Steiff and Ideal were no longer the only players in the teddy bear business. In America, dozens of competitors sprang up. Almost all of these very early companies didn’t last, with the notable exception of the Gund Manufacturing Corporation. Gund made its first bears in 1906 and is still making bears today.

American teddy bear companies faced stiff competition from all the teddy bears imported from Germany, and many of the U.S. companies didn’t last long. In Germany, toymaking was an old and established industry, and many German firms, such as Bing, Schuco, and Hermann, joined with Steiff in making fine teddy bears.

In England, The J.K. Farnell & Co. got its start; in fact, the original Winnie the Pooh was a Farnell bear Christopher Robin Milne received as a first birthday present from his mother in 1921. Five years later, his father, A.A. Milne, would begin to publish the Winnie-the-Pooh books about his son Christopher’s adventures with his bear and his other stuffed animals. Today you can see the original toys that inspired the Winnie-the-Pooh books on permanent display in the Central Children’s Room of the Donnell Branch of the New York Public Library in New York City, while the Pooh books themselves are as popular as ever.

I hope you enjoy this adorable photo!

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” has been an American classic for over 150 years. It is a story of suspense and adventure; of love and hope. It’s no surprise that The Boston Sunday Globe chose characters from the novel as the subject of one of its paper doll supplements in 1896!

Paper toys as newspaper supplements have an interesting history!  The Original Paper Doll Artists Guild describes this history in the following passage:

The Boston Herald began printing paper dolls in the 1890s. Two lady fashion dolls –one blonde, one brunette- were issued in the paper, and others could be ordered. Costumes in subsequent issues fit the dolls first shown. The Boston Globe soon followed with their own unusual paper dolls to put together. In 1907 and 1908, a Teddy Bear series was published, and in 1910, a family. After 1900, the Boston Post printed a series about Little Polly and Her Paper Playmates with the popular addition of Polly’s older sister Prue, all in full color. The Sunshine Paper Dolls series appeared in The Boston American and The Buffalo Express in 1916.

Paper dolls enjoyed a huge resurgence in newspapers during the Great Depression, when much entertainment could be had for a nickel from the comics and the paper dolls that often appeared in them. Some paper doll characters sprang directly from the comics: the Katzenjammer Kids, Dick Tracy, Brenda Starr, Daisy Mae and Li’l Abner, Fritzy Ritz and Jane Arden. Other newspapers had their own paper doll features, such as Mopsy, Boots and Millie.

I love newspaper paper dolls!  I’m sure Victorian boys and girls looked forward to getting the Sunday paper so they could engage in playtime with their new toy!  Such simple fun!

What a treat!  It’s so difficult to find vintage dolls in immaculate condition with their original box.  This Effanbee “Little Lady” doll is a rarity because of her pristine state!

According to the website

Effanbee stands for the initals of the two original owners of the company, Bernard Fleishaker and Hugo Baum (sometimes marked F & B).  The company began in New York City in1910.  I personally think that Effanbee had some of the most beautiful dolls of the very highest quality of the day.  Some of the most popular Effanbee dolls were the Patsy doll family, Dy-Dee Baby, the Historical Series (dolls dresses in elaborate costumes depicting America’s early history),  the Ann Shirley/Little Lady and the hard plastic Honey.

Little Lady was introduced in the late 1930s and was popular throughout the 1940s.   The doll came in various sizes from 15″ up to a very rare 27″.  Most had human hair wigs with blue or brown sleep eyes.  They were frequently featured in the Wards Christmas catalogs along with other fine Effanbee dolls.

A Little Lady doll must have been a real treasure for a little girl back in the 40s.  Most are dressed very elaborately in exquisite ball gowns or fancy dresses and pegnoir sets.  She usually represented a grown up girl as opposed to the more common toddlers. and little girl dolls that were on the market during the same era.   Many times you see them for sale as an Ann Shirley doll but they were probably originally marketed as “Little Lady”.  The earlier dolls are marked on the back Effanbee//Anne Shirley, the later dolls tended to be marked with only “Effanbee”. They were made of the finest composition with arms of hard rubber which allowed for beautifully formed hands.  The majority of the dolls had hands with separated fingers, which was a unique design by Dewees Cochran (Effanbee’s American Child).  Each finger was separate of each other to be able to accommodate gloves.  A few specially designed dolls had magnets embedded in their palms which would allow them to hold small metal objects such as the American flag, a kitchen utensil, etc.  One thing I have noticed about Effanbee composition dolls is that it is not uncommon to see cracks in the compostion around the eyes.  One must be careful to protect these dolls from extreme temperatures in order to preserve their beauty.

This beauty is FOR SALE! Please contact me for details!