Saturday, August 8, 2009

Paper treasures

Since the day my daughter was born, I've been keeping inventory of the childhood games and toys that I intend to force upon her the minute she's old enough to appreciate them. If she happens not to appreciate these things, I will resent her for it, then I will go off on my own and play with them anyway.

On the top of my list are paper dolls. And I have a big fat file on my computer to prove it.

At the risk of sounding old and crotchety, they just don't make paper dolls like they used to, so I have an ever-growing electronic collection of vintage paper dolls that I will one day print on sturdy cardstock. I have visions of my daughter unwrapping a box full of these painstakingly trimmed paper dolls and outfits on a future birthday, of us playing for hours on a rainy Saturday. (And if I actually spend the time it will take for me to do all that cutting, she darn well better spend rainy days playing with them.)

Most of my files come from the Flickr group Vintage Paper Dolls. Here are a few of my favorites:

Queen Holden Dolls and clothes from BARBARAJEAN, who has posted sheets and sheets of these amazing vintage paper dolls and dresses to the group:

The Gingham Girls--remember them?--and their clothes. From sydhamgoose:

A 1950s paper doll from Star1950 (the title image in this post is also hers):

Another source for my file is Betsy McCall: The First 10 Years, a site that provides scans of every Betsy McCall paper doll from 195-1961. In high resolution. A dream come true.

Here's 1951 Betsy:

And, though hers aren't vintage, the super-talented Hillary Lang of Wee Wonderfuls also generously offers free printables of her original paper dolls, along with instructions on how to print them on magnetic paper, so you don't have to cut tabs for the clothing. Now that's clever.

My daughter turns 3 in October. I'm trying to hold myself back from the paper doll plan until she's at least 4. I can just imagine her, in her clumsy three-year-old zeal, ripping limbs from my precious paper families. And I'm just not sure I can handle that.


  1. I. Love. These.

    I'll play with these with you if little miss is not interested!

  2. I had the Gingham Girls! Well, just two of them. The others must have been separated in a heartbreaking Parent Trap-esque arrangement. Katie and Becky, where are you?



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