Collection Close Up: Hard Plastic Madame Alexander’s

Many readers have asked for a closer look inside my collection.  Here’s the first spotlight on one of my sub-collections- Hard Plastic Madame Alexander dolls.  I didn’t set out to collect Madame Alexander’s.  In fact, the 14″ to 17″ hard plastic dolls stand out amongst the many fashion dolls in my collection. My passion for hard plastic Madame Alexanders was very much fueled by attending the Doll and Toy Show at the Kane County Fairgrounds.  While beautiful on the computer screen, some of these vintage dolls are just magnificent looking in person.  After seeing so many fantastic examples of hard plastic Madame Alexanders while walking the show floor, it was only a matter of time before I decided to take the plunge and buy one.

Before we go into my collection, here’s a brief history on Madame Alexander.  Madame Alexander was founded in 1923 by 28 year old Madame Beatrice Alexander Behrman.  Working in the doll industry was in her blood, as her father ran the first doll hospital recorded in the United States in New York City.

Part of my Collection

Part of my Collection

Still going strong in 2014, Madame Alexander was the first company to create dolls based on licensed literary and movie characters, the first to use ‘sleep eyes’, the first to create dolls based on living people and the first to create a line of US Armed Forces dolls during World War II.

On top of all that, they were, also, the first to use DuPont hard plastic on their products, which was a very smart decision, because their hard plastic dolls are quite possibly the most sought after dolls to come out of Madame Alexander.  During the hard plastic years, Madame Alexander was the recipient of the Fashion Academy Gold Medal Award four years in a row, 1951-1954.  For more information on the Fashion Academy Gold Medal Award and Madame Alexander, I highly recommend watching this video on the elusive Portrait dolls created by Madame Alexander at that time.  It’s a little long, but the dolls are gorgeous!

14" Cinderella

14″ Cinderella

My first Madame Alexander was this adorable early 1950’s 14″ Margaret face Cinderella. She’s the only Madame Alexander I purchased online. My first foray into this kind of doll, I didn’t feel the need to buy a really expensive, pristine looking doll.

14" Cinderella

14″ Cinderella

14" Cinderella

14″ Cinderella

Cinderella isn’t in the best shape, but she was a great starter doll.  Her face paint is a little light and her wig has seen better days, but I don’t regret purchasing her at all!  Her dress is a tagged original Madame Alexander garment.

17" Lucy Bride

17″ Lucy Bride

In 2011, I picked up a 1953 17″ Lucy Bride from the Kane County show. She was a total ‘love at first sight’ doll.  As this was the October show, my mom helped me out a bit for her. We called it part of my birthday gifts that year! Dressed in her original tagged wedding dress, this Lucy Bride is near perfect.  A collector herself was selling these dolls, which helped me a lot.  It seemed she wanted her dolls to go to a good home, rather than to go for a lot of money.  As a new collector, I was eternally grateful for that!

17" Lucy Bride

17″ Lucy Bride

This Lucy Bride was my first 17″ hard plastic doll and she pretty much sold me on that size.  While I like 14″ dolls, I love 17″ dolls!  This Lucy Bride is the first of two brides I currently own.

17" Unkown Bride Doll

17″ Unknown Bride Doll

October of 2012, again at the Doll and Toy Show, brought me another Madame Alexander bride with a Margaret face.  This 17″ hard plastic doll is still a bit of a mystery to me.  She is clearly a Margaret face Madame Alexander and is wearing a tagged outfit, but for the life of me, I can’t place her as any specific doll.  Her dress can sometimes be seen on a Wendy Bride doll, but I have yet to find one that looks like my doll.

17" unknown bride

17″ unknown bride

17" unknown bride

17″ unknown bride

This bride has an adorable blonde mohair wig.  I love the mohair wigs on Madame Alexanders.  They seem to be much rarer than the floss or dynel hair wigs, though!  Her face paint is great for being over 50 years old!

17" Maggie Walker

17″ Maggie Walker

One of my favorite Madame Alexander face types is the Maggie face.  I just love the wide eyed expression she has.  It took a few years (and three Margaret faces) for me to get a Maggie face doll.  That doll is this adorable 17″ Maggie Walker.  Now, this doll isn’t as prestigious as some other Maggie’s out there, but I love her!  She came out sometime in the early 50’s.

17" Maggie Walker

17″ Maggie Walker

She is different from all my other Madame Alexanders in many ways.  First, she’s an adorable brunette with brown eyes.  Her face paint leaves a little to be desired, but for her age, I think it’s fine.  Second, this Maggie Walker still works!  If you move her legs, her arms go up and down and her head turns left and right.

17" Maggie Walker

17″ Maggie Walker

My Maggie Walker was purchased (again) at the Doll and Toy show.  She must have been a well loved doll, as she came with her own handmade wardrobe, complete with matching shoes and props, as well as a bright red travel trunk.  I always wonder about her previous owner– who she was, what the rest of her collection looked like, how she came about this doll…

14" Little Women Amy

14″ Little Women Amy

My most recent addition to my little collection is this 14″ Margaret face.  I purchased her under the assumption she was an Alice in Wonderland.  However, it turns out she’s a Little Women Amy, from the early 50’s.  Her outfit is a Madame Alexander outfit, but wasn’t meant for this particular doll.  (In fact, it’s a bit too small!)  However, it looks fine on her for now.

14" Little Women Amy

14″ Little Women Amy

Amy apparently had two different hairstyles that make it possible to ‘date’ the doll.  It depends on how the wig is styled.  Dolls made before 1951 have loop curls.  I don’t know what my doll’s curls looked like, since they are no longer in their original style.

14" Little Women Amy

14″ Little Women Amy

There you have it. Needless to say, I’ll most likely be adding another hard plastic Madame Alexander to my collection in 2014.  As always, I created a video to go with this post!  Check it out below.

My Collection

My Collection

Do you have a favorite Madame Alexander?  Why do you think these dolls are so sought after?  Share your thoughts below!

April 3, 2014. Tags: . Uncategorized. 16 comments.

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