Madame Alexander dolls

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wikicollecting

2015-06-26 10:38:08

Madame Alexander dolls are made by the Alexander Doll Company.

Madame Alexander has been in the doll making business for over 80 years. The brand is synonymous with beauty, quality and superior craftsmanship.

Madame Beatrice Alexander Behrman, the company’s founder, grew up in an environment where dolls were a constant presence. Her father had a doll hospital (which was the first ever of its kind in the US) and Behrman’s room was just directly above it. She began designing her own dolls during the First World War to help her father’s business. Today, these dolls which were made of cloth are considered highly collectible and are extremely valuable.

Her early dolls were inspired by popular children’s characters such as the Three Little Pigs, Little Women, and Alice in Wonderland. Behrman is credited for being the first person to ever make a doll that referenced a licensed character (Scarlett O’Hara, the lead in the famous movie Gone With the Wind), and is also the pioneer in creating dolls based on living people such as Princess Elizabeth.

During the Second World War, she created dolls based on military characters to help boost morale. During the 1940s, she began utilizing hard plastic in creating dolls after realizing how durable and strong it was.

It was in the year 1953 when Behrman introduced probably the most recognized Madame Alexander dolls today, the Alexander-kins. These dolls stood eight inches and were made of plastic.

Madame Alexander also created fashion dolls, baby dolls, First Lady dolls, and international dolls. Behrman’s selling of her company in 1988 did not stop the production of Madame Alexander dolls which up to today are still being manufactured and sold.

Vintage Madame Alexander collectible dolls

Early Madame Alexander dolls

Behrman used cloth when she started making dolls. The very first doll that she made was a Red Cross doll. After establishing her company (The Alexander Doll Company) in the year 1923, she began producing cloth dolls that represented fictional children’s characters and famous people, among others.

Composition Dolls

In the 1930s, Behrman began producing composition dolls that were made from a mixture of various materials such as glue, paper, Plaster of Paris, and sawdust. Popular composition dolls include Scarlett O’Hara, Juanita Quigley, Sonja Henie, Margaret O'Brien, Princess Elizabeth, Wendy Ann, Little Betty, Betty, and Tiny Betty

Post World War II dolls

During the Second World War, production at the Alexander Doll Company slowed down due to the scarcity of materials. Following the end the war operations quickly resumed and the company was one of the firms that pioneered the use of plastic to make dolls.

Early plastic Madame Alexander dolls were made out of hard plastic that were painted with various skin tone colors. Later on, the company switched to rose-colored plastic, which were far more durable and also prevented crazing. Hard plastic Madame Alexander dolls include Lissy, Margaret, Maggie, and Cissy.

The 1950s proved to be one of the high points of the company and during this period, Alexander Doll was able to produce a lot of dolls that today are considered to be highly collectible. Popular 1950s Madame Alexander dolls include Cissette, Elise, and Wendy.

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