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Home Articles News & Notes
News and Notes
Collen Moore's Fairy Castle Conservation Project Begins at Museum of Science and Industry
Thursday, 21 November 2013 16:38

Chicago (November 21, 2013)—Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle—a fairy dream home of fantastic proportions—is getting a facelift at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) this winter. The nearly 9-foot elaborate house was completed in 1935 by silent film star Colleen Moore and is filled with remarkable miniatures and artifacts collected from celebrities, artisans and craftspeople around the world. The Fairy Castle structure, which took seven years and cost $500,000 at the time to create, is in need of conservation to stop ongoing deterioration and ensure its long-term preservation.

IDEX 2014 canceled
Written by DOLLS Staff   
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 19:30

The collectible doll and teddy bear trade show IDEX Premiere has been canceled for 2014 and will discontinue all show operations moving forward, according to an announcement by Madavor Media. “While we have enjoyed working with the doll and teddy bear industry over the last decade, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the show and all of its related events and workshops,” the announcement read.

Could She Be The Most Beautiful Doll in the World?
Written by DOLLS Staff   
Friday, 08 November 2013 21:05

There are artistically talented people, then there are people like Noel Cruz, the man who created the Angelina doll that sold on eBay (for a price that was almost as impressive as the doll, itself): $3,350!

Isaac Mizrahi and The Alexander Doll Co. Forge Deal
Written by DOLLS Staff   
Monday, 04 November 2013 19:37

According to Woman’s Wear Daily (, Xcel Brands has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with The Alexander Doll Co. to create a selection of Madame Alexander dolls, doll apparel and doll accessories under the Isaac Mizrahi New York label.

International Doll Show hosts 2014 Diamond Awards
Written by Joyce Greenholdt   
Thursday, 24 October 2013 16:07

2014 DAE Diamonds industrychoice

The DOLLS Awards of Excellence (popularly known as the Diamond Awards) Industry's Choice Awards will be presented June 14 during the banquet event at the International Doll Show (IDS) in Asheville, N.C., June 11-15, 2014.

Hope — That Thing With Feathers
Written by DOLLS Staff   
Thursday, 13 June 2013 15:06


“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all”

This poem, by the renowned Emily Dickinson, perfectly defines that fickle emotion, capable of giving flight to the soul like no other.

Dollmaker and fashion designer Connie Lowe of Marbled Halls interprets that emotion in doll form with DOLLS’ new exclusive, “Hope.” Lowe was inspired to create “Hope” by recent life events. “To me, hope is to dream with expectation of realizing those dreams. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I had hope. I did not want to accept anything less than realizing that hope,” Lowe said.

Do Clothes Make the Woman?
Written by Jill Jackson   
Friday, 31 May 2013 17:42
“Women in Pants,” by Catherine Smith and Cynthia Graig
Dr. Mary Walker (1832-1919) was the first woman awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for her work as a commissioned surgeon during the American Civil War. A strong proponent of women’s rights, she wore male attire throughout most of her life and was once arrested for doing so, as reported in the New York Times’ June 6, 1866, edition.
Thilges re-created Dr. Mary Walker’s bloomer or reform costume from a photo taken around 1886.
Often called “the forgotten women of the American Civil war,” female vivandière or cantineers dressed in similar uniforms as the regiments to which they were assigned. They supplied the “3 Ws” — whisky, wine, and water — to the fighting troops during battle. As volunteers, many fought alongside the men and were greatly admired for their bravery.
The preceding vintage photo and Joan Thilges’ doll costume shows a women in Zouave uniform, a style adopted by regiments on both sides of the war. The uniforms were based on those used by French soldiers during the Crimean War and earlier styles worn by North African recruits in the 1830s.
This photo postcard from 1915 shows rodeo perfomer Bonnie McCaroll. Whether performing as a bronco rider or taking on the role of a cowboy in the American West when men were not available or affordable, many women dressed in male attire out of necessity — skirts put them in danger of getting tangled in the stirrups or other gear. McCarroll died in 1929 after a bronco-riding exhibit in which her boot (not her pants) got caught in a stirrup.
The seated doll wears Thilges’ re-creation of Bonnie McCarrol’s wide pants; the other doll reproduces a cowgirl’s wooly chaps shown elsewhere in the book. The hats were created by Cassandra Coleman.
This photo, titled “A Group of Women Enjoying a Card Game,” is circa 1910. Women often enjoyed assuming male roles in which they were allowed freedoms of expression far beyond their normal social roles.
Julie Woodbury meticulously created the dolls’ attire for this reproduction of the original photograph. The garments are made of wool, silk, or brocade. Each one is fully lined, and vests and coats have functional buttonholes.
Not all cultures frowned on women wearing pants. This photo, from the 1860s or 1870s, of a wealthy Chinese woman, was shown to compare the limitations and pain of her “golden feet” to the effects of the restrictive corsets forced upon European and American women.
Thilges re-created the woman’s garment from a pair of 1920s Chinese-style pajamas.
“Women in Pants,” by Catherine Smith and Cynthia Graig
start stop bwd fwd

Do Clothes Make the Woman?

Wearing trousers is a fashion option taken for granted by most women in the 21st century, but it wasn’t so very long ago that females who wore bifurcated garments on their lower extremities in public were considered vulgar or indecent — and sometimes even unlawful!

By Jill Jackson

“It is in very bad taste, even for a frolic, for a woman to assume boys’ clothes, or get herself up in any way that will tend to make herself look masculine.”
— Practical Etiquette, 1899 quoted in “Women in Pants”

During Hollywood’s Golden Era, the l930s and ’40s, such movie stars as Kathryn Hepburn and Marlena Dietrich popularized the look of tailored slacks and sweaters, proving that pants could be not only practical but glamorous as well. “Downtown Abbey” fans may envision an even earlier time, when women donned “womanalls” to toil in factories as World War I created a shortage of male workers.

Go further back, and you’ll see that women have been wearing pants for centuries, despite society’s efforts to dissuade them. In the book “Women in Pants,” authors Catherine Smith and Cynthia Greig present a pictorial chronicle of women wearing trousers since at least the early 1800s.

Inspired by the vintage photos collected in the book, Joan Thilges, a doll collector, period fashion designer, and amateur historian, joined forces with Julie Woodbury to reproduce, in doll form, the forbidden ensembles worn by some of the book’s “manly maidens, cowgirls, and other renegades,” who posed for the camera in masculine attire, thereby opening themselves to censure. Why would they do such a thing? As the book itself explains, “For some, wearing pants was a necessity; for others, it was an act of defiance; for still others, it was just fun.”

Women in Pants
By Catherine Smith and Cynthia Graig
H.N. Abrams, 2003
184-page hardcover, $35
ISBN: 0-8109-4571-1

Doll photos by Joan Thilges
Vintage photos are reproduced with permission from “Women in Pants” co-author Catherine Smith
Excerpts from “Women in Pants” are used by permission of the authors

2013 DOLLS Awards of Excellence

The winners of the 2013 Industry’s Choice DOLLS Awards of Excellence (DAEs) were announced April 12 at the Debut of Dolls Banquet held at IDEX in Orlando, Fla. Each entry in this year’s competition was evaluated by our panel of judges: Doll industry consultant Pat Burns, doll writer and historian Penny Herbst, Simon Farnworth of, author and DOLLS contributor Stephanie Finnegan,

DOLLS editor-at-large Jill Jackson, and Modern Doll President Patsy Moyer. This year’s Industry’s Choice winners go on to become the nominees for the Public’s Choice awards voted on by DOLLS readers. Look for photos of all the nominees, ballot, and online voting instructions in the July 2013 issue of DOLLS.


DOLLS publisher Carie Ferg wins special Colliii Award
Written by Joyce Greenholdt   
Thursday, 17 January 2013 15:39

Carie-Colliii-AwardIola, Wis. – Jan. 9, 2013DOLLS magazine publisher and former editor Carie Ferg received a special VIP Award for Outstanding Achievement in the 2012 Colliii Awards. The Colliii Awards are the largest online dollmaking competition in the world.

“We wanted to present the 2012 VIP Award to Carie Ferg as a recognition of the dynamism and innovation she has brought to the doll industry over the past few years,” said Colliii Awards Director James Carlsson. “The VIP Award is presented every year to a person or organisation that has made a significant contribution to the doll world. It was’s pleasure to present this to Carie as a token of appreciation for her hard work.”

Past VIP Award winners include DOLLS’ Editor-at-Large Jill Jackson for her work with "Doll Reader," the Biemann family from Schildkröt dolls in Germany, and such atists as Stephanie Sullivan.

Registration for the 2013 Colliii Awards will begin in July. For more information about the competition, go to
ProSculpt 2012 winners announced
Written by Joyce Greenholdt   
Thursday, 17 January 2013 15:08

ProSculptWinnerFall2012KateMossThe winners of the 2012 ProSculpt Annual Sculpting Contest have been chosen by collectors and artists from around the world. Winners this year are from England, Italy, Japan, South America, and the United States. Photos of all the winners can be viewed at the Johnston Original Art Dolls website. The winners are:


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