Paper dolls were wildly popular with children through most of the twentieth century. It is only in the past 25 years or so that their "low-tech" appeal has waned. Many companies produced paper doll books, either as a sideline to their other printing businesses, or as a business in itself. Another source for paper dolls was magazines. McCall's magazine is probably best known among these today, for their Betsy McCall series that ran for decades. Grace Drayton's Dolly Dingle series in Pictorial Review was another one that ran for many years.
Children were probably the most common subjects for paper dolls in the twentieth century (as opposed to the more common lady dolls of the nineteenth century). Celebrity paper dolls were also widely produced, tying in with such stars as Judy Garland, Annette Funicello, Shirley Temple and Doris Day. Families, bridal parties and animals were also popular subjects. Paper dolls are still produced today, but mainly for adult collectors.
Sources for this page include:
- "A Collector's Guide to Paper Dolls, Second Series" by Mary Young
Copyright 2006 by Zendelle Bouchard.