Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Duchess Dolls Corp. Dress-A-Doll
Q: Can you tell me anything about this doll? I bought her at an auction and wonder what her original clothes were like.

A: Duchess Dolls Corp. of Jackson Heights, N.Y., made small dolls in the late 1940s and 1950s. It specialized in dressed character and souvenir dolls meant for display. The 7 1/2-inch dolls are made of hard plastic and have moving heads, eyes, and arms and fixed legs. They have molded and painted shoes with bows. Their clothes were stapled on. The two most popular series were "Dolls of All Nations" and Disney character dolls, such as Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Tinkerbell. Duchess also sold similar dolls undressed for sewing projects. Some have painted eyes, some moving eyes. Some came with fabric bras and panties and some were completely undressed. They were sold at sewing and dime stores.

The staple marks on your doll's torso indicate that she was probably bought dressed. But it looks like whoever owned your doll had a set of "Dress-a-Doll Disks," made by Johnson & Johnson in the mid-1950s. The disks came in six different colors and could be folded, sewn, or pinned on to make doll clothes. A Duchess dress-me doll with its original box is worth $35 to $40; a doll without its box is worth half that.


Anonymous said...

On my grandparents' farm ca. 1940s, dairying was part of everyday life. A machine on the back porch that separated milk from cream required the use of disposable round white filters, from which some clever person made those bouffant doll dresses. Color could be added to the costumes with yarn or plastic flowers. Cream separator doll dresses. Thanks for reminding me.

Anonymous said...

My Duchess Doll Corp. doll is marked copyright 1949 - and she has sleep eyes, and hair I've not seen on any other dolls: it's auburn-colored human hair, and it extends to her feet. She was sold new (and undressed) in a 5 and dime store in Orange County, CA in 1949 04 1950 - and I've always envisioned dressing her as Sleeping Beauty. Can you tell me any more about this doll?