Date to Remember

World Doll Day

June 17, 1986

The first World Doll Day was created by Mildred Seeley and was first celebrated in 1986.

So, you have not heard of World Doll Day?  This is not surprising as of an hour ago, I hadn't conceived the idea. To make it happen. I need cooperation of every doll collector, every magazine editor, doll newsletter, doll shop, library, doll maker, mother, grand­mother, father, grandfather, and all the stray aunts and uncles. The first World Doll Day is the Second Saturday of June 1986. Give a doll to a grownup, child in the family or just a friend.  If you don't have a child to give a doll to - find one. There are many children with no dolls.

Think of it this way and ship a doll to another country.  I have always felt that the common doll could be an instrument of world understanding. From the first time I started writing books on doll making, I had the hope that dolls would help make friends all over the world and develop a little love among all.

World Doll Day will also be a day for doll exhibits. It is my hope that all libraries will have a special doll exhibit. Museums will publicize their doll exhibits and have special doll exhibits at this time.  Magazines will put out special editions.  Doll stores will put on campaigns weeks ahead.  Doll Makers will make special dolls for World Doll Day.  There will be doll competitions with World Doll Day awards, plaques and trophies.

The logo is made from artist Boots Tyner's doll representing a child. The child carries a German bisque doll to represent this doll collector’s gift.  Feel free to copy the logo or have one made.

Everyone can enjoy the fun as there are no fees, no permission needed, no obligations, nobody owns the day, no club, no company.  It's a free- for- all, take up the day, its ideas and fly with it.  Let’s do it now.  World Doll Day.

If you think World Doll Day is a good idea, and then appoint yourself a committee of one to do something about it--only then can it become a reality.  Would you tell five people, ask them to tell five people, and each of them tell five people and so on.  World Doll Day's birthday is June 14, 1986.

Mil and Vernon Seeley

P.S. This letter may be copied and copied again and again until the world knows about World Doll Day.






Shirley Temple Dolls

The Little Princess

Advertisement from 1935

Handmade porcelain from Stand up and Cheer

Hand and footprints at Grumans Chinese Theatre

No two Temple dolls look exactly alike!  Not only did the dolls have distinctly different characteristics, but also the markings on the back of the dolls.  The first marked on the inside of the head "(C) 1934 Ideal Novelty and Toy Co."  “SHIRLEY TEMPLE” (in the shape of a half circle) or with IDEAL N & T Co. with COP for copyright pending and other markings for later dolls.





Bild Lilli

Bild-Lilli, the inspiration for the Barbie doll, began as a sexy cartoon character, created by Reinhard Beuthien in the early 50's. Bild-Lilli first appeared as a cartoon character in the German Bild newpaper on June 24, 1952. Bild-Lilli's adventures found immediate appeal with readers, especially the male readers.  The cartoon always consisted of a picture of Lilli talking to her friends or boss (“As you were angry when I was late this morning I will leave the office at five pm sharp!").. She was classy, sassy, fashionable much like Marlene Dietrich of the 1930’s movies.

It was decided to create a doll in Lilli's likeness On August 12 1955. Lilli was first sold in Germany and usually found in smoke shops.

Lilli’s original stand is round and the doll’s foot has holes that fit on to a prong of metal.  She has a miniature copy of the newspaper Bild-Zeitung.

The doll came in two sizes, 30cm and 19cm, the hair wasn’t rooted but a cut-out scalp that was attached by a hidden metal screw, usually blonde with a ponytail and one curl kissing the forehead.  Head and limbs attached with coated rubber bands.  Fingernails painted red, shoes and earrings molded on.  The doll cost around 12 Marks, by no means a cheap toy when the average monthly salary was 200 to 300 Marks.

Lilli came as a dressed doll, her wardrobe consisted mainly of “Dirndl” dresses but had outfits for parties, beach and business suits.

Production ceased in 1964.

Lilli was the inspiration for the American Barbie doll, which has celebrated more than 60 years continuous production.


Date to Remember

Birth of the Teddy Bear

November,  1902

President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear which was tied up and held.  Although he was derided in the press, the citizens of Mississippi were pleased and created a toy called a Teddy Bear, later taken up by manufacturers and became extremely popular.



Shirley Temple Dolls

Shirley Temple was born 23rd April 1928 in California USA, the youngest of three children. She had two elder brothers. She was a good looking, charming and talented child and her mother encouraged her with dancing and singing lessons.  While at a dance school she was “spotted” and invited to audition and screen test. She was signed up to a contract in 1933 for $150 per week.  Just five years old.

Her first film “Stand Up and Cheer” was a huge success, as was “Baby Take a Bow” and “Little Miss Marker”. Then her salary was upped to $1000 a week with additional bonuses and her mother also was employed for $250 a week.  During the Great Depression those sums in today’s money would be worth well into the thousands (if not millions) of dollars.  She went on to make over 20 more films. Mostly musicals where she usually played the part of the good fairy, the cupid or the fixer-upper. In the 1930’s Shirley was a superstar and 20th Century Fox’s greatest asset, she went on to become the most recognisable person in the world.

Because of this, many products came out in her image, photos and paper products and so on but the most famous being Shirley Temple dolls.  Manufactured by Ideal off and on until the 1970’s, they were made from composition (a composite of glue mixed with sawdust) then from vinyl. The dolls had open-mouthed smiles and a choice of red, blond and brunette curls.  Sized from 11 inches to 27 inches.

Danbury Mint produced porcelain versions of the doll but many doll makers have bought greenware and made their own porcelain versions of the Shirley Temple doll.

By the end of the 1930’s Shirley’s popularity began to wane and her contract with 20t h Century Fox was dropped.  At the age of just 17 she married John Agar an actor.  That marriage ended in 1949 and she married Charles Black a businessman.  She had three children.  In later years Shirley went into politics and ran for a seat in the U.S House of Representatives (unsuccessfully). She was a delegate to the UN General Assembly.  Served as US Ambassador to Ghana in 1974, was chief of protocol for President Gerald Ford in 1976 and a member of the U.S. Delegation on African Refugee Problems in 1981.  In 1989 she served as ambassador to Czechoslovakia.  Shirley died February 10, 2014 in Woodside, California.







Babs: "Hong Kong Lilli"

In the 1950's the Marx Toy Company of Hong-Kong licenced the Bild-Lilli design to produce a similar 11.5 inch doll that also had a range of separate outfits, This doll was produced from the 50's into the 1960's.and is quite similar to Bild-Lilli, but of cheaper plastic. This  doll is popularly referred to as "Hong Kong Lilly" or "Hong Kong Lilli". The construction is very similar to Bild-Lilli. Later,Fab-Lu Ltd., (Luften Ltd.-also known as Farber-Luft, Ltd) marketed a plastic fashion doll called Babs based on Bild-Lilli.  Babs is marked on the back with an "F" in a square above "Made in HongKong".  The Babs mold and wig construction are similar to Bild-Lilli, making her more of a Bild Lilli clone, rather than a Barbie clone.