roaccutane acne medicationrocaltrol abilify bipolar aripiprazole cefadroxil side effects in children alesse without a prescription polarmeds reviews on garcinia cholesterol lowering foods and supplements pet meds canada no rx pharmacie de garde a bruxelles paypal pharmacy celecoxib 200mg prednisolone acetate ophthalmic suspension usp 1 side effects codeine cough syrup online pharmacy sustiva side effects efavirenz prescribing generic rimadyl for humans epratenz doxpop aricept and namenda with cold medicines achat sildenafil costa rica online pharmacies sildenafil citrate 100mg best price need viagra pills duphaston tablets discount drugs usa pharmacy terramycin for sale dostinex side effects treatment kosovarja numri me i rig allegra coupons in sunday paper cyotec oregon why does cialis last longer than viagra best prices on ed drugs flomist wikipedia free where can i purchase bupropion online viagra kauf vermox bulk buy fda approves contrave weight loss drug from orexigen and takeda cycline antibiotics family benadryl ingredients medicines sibutramine 15mg for sale zyrtec side effects weight gain promethazine 25mg suppositories viagra online malaysia advair diskus overnight shipping sublingual sildenafil citrate viagra discover card mestinon side effects myasthenia gravis buy phentermine 37 5 pliva 433 lantus patient assistance phone numbers free sibutramine hydrochloride monohydrate diabecon ingredients in beer primatene mist available canada differin adapalene cream tadapox 80mg oxy mincorp mining journal obituaries rimonabant tablets viagra pills without prescription pharmacy technician certification texas cialis moins chers warner chilcott asacol hd patient savings card hytrin medication dosage vistaril dosage for alcohol withdrawal online cialis prescription omeprazole 20 mg side effects and heart astelin nasal spray azelastine hci where to buy dapoxetine online apply diclofenac to penis lincocin 500mg for dogs duetact coupon fempro tablets vigrx oil side effects doctor order xenical overnight delivery cephalexin 500mg sample anxiety and depression treatment zyvox side effects medications avapro side effects doctor tadalafil soft tablets 20mg keflex 500mg cephalexin for uti treatment luvox generic names digoxina presentaciones levothyroxine without a script celecoxib capsules side effects asthma inhalers for sale zovirax acyclovir medication dose generika apotheke deutschland inderal la and weight gain casodex treatment for prostate cancer insurance institute for highway safety 2015 milk cream roche xeloda omnicef for strep throat buy cialis 20 mg discrete benadryl and pregnancy risk duloxetine hcl dr monidem gel morphine side effects in elderly myambutol toxicity system temovate e fluconazole 150mg treatment tablet buy viagra south africa metazole cream of wheat suppliers of orlistat verapamil er 240mg gle valtrex tablet purchase in us dynamogen ampoules philips where to buy prometrium clozapine medication interaction levitra 10mg discounts ivermectin for humans for lice paxil withdrawal symptoms drug cholesterol medications divya pharmacy website haykakan nor filmer antivert vertigo symptoms duloxetine dosage uk websites to purchase abortion pills advantage multi for dogs reviews vitamix soup recipes mushroom eprex injection administration guidelines himcolin cream puffs kanggoroo pils qsymia weight loss drug available lantus solostar price renova cream buy online uk mebendazole treatment for humans carafate for dogs need refrigerated valium 5mg side effects buy cialis fast delivery lipitor order out of country lopid side effects treatment diclofenac sodium for sale mobicox for arthritis inhaler from canada no prescription moduretic purchase without prescription benazepril hcl medication cefaclor 250mg cap warfarin and alcohol use requip medication for parkinsons disease actos pioglitazone side effects hyzaar medication information sinequanone clothing paris drug spironolactone for cheap cialis 20 mg walmart buspar medication side effects artane side effects trihexyphenidyl side clomid success rate 100mg viagra cialis medical web prescriptions viagra yasmin deliz gallery halcion no rx citalopram 40mg what is it used to treat ocd hydrea medication classification where to buy erythromycin tiotropium pronunciation dictionary cymbalta for anxiety side effects can i buy pills for chlamydia deltasone 20mg ambien rogaine for women rogaine side effects tadalafil c100 for sale levitra by bayer for cheap levitra 20 mg price metformina efectos secundarios cialas 800 mg seroquel xr does low dose help pain moduretic drugstore pharmacy stockton drugstore beetle vs cigarette beetle cabaser vs dostinex buy tramadol overnight cod oracea side effects rosacea zineryt cena propranolol dosage for hypertension canada pharmacy online cheap cialis generique quality serophene and multiple births statistics asthma symptoms and treatment ivermectin for humans amazon paypal to purchase viagra advair diskus coupon card captopril renal scan hypertension zithromax z pack for strep throat cialas from turkey amantadina nombres comerciales de la 121 dth 24b kamal kunj sv road pharmaceutical companies selling viagra costco locations in washington state generic vytorin 10 40 extenze reviews chambers is viagra safe when trying to conceive pilocarpine eye drops action relafen 750 nabumetone cvs pharmacy best online canadian viagra floxin otic solution 0 3 month dresses ornidazole and ofloxacin real viagra online reviews finasteride online pharmacy ciprodex sterile otic suspension for pink eye split cialis pill prometh codeine cough syrup buy online avodart side effects dutasteride vs finasteride the canadian pharmacy kamagrafast ukc magnesium citrate side effects pregnancy antifungal nizoral buy norvasc no prescription strattera coupons mometasone furoate cream 0.1 for sale secnidazole indications for dialysis vicodin overdose symptoms side effects viagra sale canadian mavidol tr ketorolaco tramadol 10 mg 25 mgm where can i buy augmentin zovirax acyclovir cream over the counter dapoxetine fda 2015 etodolac 500 mg tablet side effects chloroquine phosphate cost online meds no prescription europe doxycycl hyc phenergan syrup for dogs dapoxetine dosage instructions cialis 5 mg online italia ventolin inhaler salbutamol side effects levitra 10mg rezeptfrei glipizide side effects medication cialis price at walgreens ventolin side effects insomnia warfarin rat poison lanoxin 0.125 mg tryptizol 10mg uses for tea vytorin 10 40 side effects luvox reviews ocd claritin d side effects depression perlutex veterinary technician risnia medicine cabinets fosamax side effects fosamax lawsuit meclizine 12.5 mg dosage esomeprazole sodium iv primatene mist available in canada wellbutrin and alcohol side effects lexapro withdrawal symptoms how long coversyl side effects tablets tenorim without prescription metformin and alcohol interaction baclofen 20 mg street value nolvadex canada diane keaton michael douglas movie ovral 28 birth control pills alfuzosin hydrochloride xatral inderal no script pyridium 200mg medication apertium translator google buy periactin with mastercard on line pharmacy viagra cheap deltasone albuterol nebulizer treatment for children insulin syringes 3/10 8mm 31g alphagan p 0.1 prices can i take 4 cialis 5 mg penegra express 50 cialis brand 20 mg original spiriva handihaler medication asthma action plan pdf nolvadex for sale uk unione comuni valdaso buying viagra with paypal buy sildalis online phentermine side effects hair loss diclofenac 75mg dr tab pac latisse reviews for the brush buy orlistat online without script percocet 10/325 pictures prometrium vaginally side effects grifulvin griseofulvin pediatric dose tantalum carbide properties promethazine with codeine syrup red warfarin rat poisoning hyzaar side effects hydrochlorothiazide side pharmacy technician jobs in san antonio cialis compare levitra viagra vgr 100 viagra proviron impotence dosage viagra next day delivery calgary crestor side effects crestor warning avelox antibiotic treatment drugs styplon himalaya products diazepam for dogs side effects four corners pharmacy new zealand bombay ed pills misoprostol side effects pregnancy amoxicillin shelf life antibiotics lisinopril and hydrochlorothiazide side effects viagra barato treatment of chlamedia in cats vitamix blender costco price disgrasil orlistat precious stones dicyclomine side effects with alcohol levitra 20 mg indocin 25mg gout diroton bg products buy zovirax tablets online generic cialis sales on amazon prime ordering ivermectin online best viagra seller anxiety and depression forums voltaren gel for arthritis dosage voltaren gel price in canada rxdrugstore medicines to take decadron dosage pediatrics naprosyn 500mg on line plavix generic manufacturers top rated online pharmacies for viagra benadryl dosage chart proventil inhaler costs ibuprofen 800mg side effects dose lasix amazon latisse price compare buy cyproheptadine online where to buy viagra from depakote er 500mg side effects usa pharmacyhealthymen elimite permethrin 5 comparison generic cialis prices olanzapine for sale from canada is flagyl used for stds bayer levitra online uroxatral side effects medication can you get high off of indomethacin vistaril side effects for professionals antibiotics for strep throat and ear infection most reliable source viagra alli uk online dyazide 37.5 mg 25 mg capsule comprar cialis en miami vips pharmacy levitra without rx in the united states bupropion price metrogel cream uses canada lamisil without prescription fluconazole for dogs 100 mg pheromones perfume review ivermectin 90 pills nitroglycerin msds baytril for dogs metformina 850 plm cicloferon tabletas where to buy methotrexate promethazine with codeine syrup for children buy prednisone 10mg tab promethazine codeine side effects online prednisone no prescription staxyn price at walmart medoflucon fluconazole diflucan yasminelle tablets for toddlers no prescription needed for levitra atarax hydroxyzine hydrochloride citalopram versus prozac motrin dosage chart for adults watson 853 blue robaxin 750 mg mincorp somerset pa zip code diclofenac potassium brand name cipro side effects antibiotics medication cheapest drug pharmacy local avodart 0.5 mg results no script lasix delay ejacula doxycycline hyclate acne reviews picareta de diamante minecraft games looking for cialis pills lopressor metoprolol dosages ciales puerto rico pueblo toro negro acheter viagra montreal clomiphene citrate shop sunrise ed pills muscle relaxant tablets zithromax without rx mexico rx india pharmacies online adcirca vs cialis bentyl 20 mg medication dicyclomine hydrochloride buy suprax online ventolin syrup wellbutrin xl vs sr bactroban ointment for boils robaxin for dogs shaking panting amoxil 500 mg dosage chart lidocaine and prilocaine cream for sunburn armodafinil nuvigil and weight loss levitra vs cialis cost indomethacin dosage hemicrania continua salazopyrin sulfasalazine ec buy synthroid no prescription needed sumycin 500mg to g estradiol side effects risk robaxin without a script avelox antibiotic law suits polarmeds complaints against companies in ny minoxidil foam or liquid vibramycin 100 mg for sinus infection how buy viagra internet tantalum restaurant long beach ca menu venlafaxine hcl side effects omaggio hadley 1993 article 56 viagra erectile disfunction salbutamol inhaler cost ladies viagra tablets in india cialis generico vendita on line temazepam buy in line calcitriol mail order pharmacy instinct 500mg combivent inhalation aerosol uses cycline enterprise coupons cheap orlistat 120mg colchicine pills canadian clenbuterol for sale uk tofranil side effects children how much saraquills tadalafil 5 mg best price usa buy clonotril online percocet 512 information prescription aristocort 0.5 cream wie die oben schriftart di 365 pills review cipla suhagra from india mexican z pack indomethacin side effects indocin cialis 5mg from canadian pharmacy perfect ed meds review canadian cheap cialis xlpharmacy complaints board bactrim over the counter where to buy tinidazole arimidex bodybuilding forum prozac for anxiety and depression baytril 136 mg side effects in dogs novo sildenafil for sale viagra simbabwe medicine online order prednisone brand for sale extenze reviews walmart antibiotics for strep throat if allergic to penicillin the canadian medstore no prescriptions mexico medication cialis 40 mg online cuvarlix reviews mesalamine 400 mg price increasing testosterone levels in women cancun airport pharmacy xanax and alcohol use motilium 10mg espanol paracetamol side effects medicine orlistat generic paypal commander cialis en ligne berodual without prescription reglan 10mg cost canadian no script pharmacy tryptizol 10mg uses for epsom humalog no prescription medyka przemyska playhouse vendesi propecia 1 ml ranbaxy pharmaceuticals india augmentin alaptare cialis generico paypal tizanidine street value what is malegra 25 alendronate fosamax medication side price of crestor without insurance cymbalta and weight gain drugs spiriva side effects drug tamsulosin flomax for womentamsulosineteradoxinterbinafine voltaren side effects medication cytoxan infusion time advantage real estate sumter sc terramycin for dogs dosage cataflam zithromax discount cialis online levitra vs cialis veterinary no prescription noroxin antibiotic side duphaston pregnancy effects of duphaston furadonin runescape pilocarpine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution usp amiloride side effects medication viagra originale miglior prezzo buy viagra greece buy zantac 150 online australia rx online tetracyline no presp safe source to buy cialis lidocaine patch 5 side effects 100 mg viagra prices combivent without prescripton canadian pharmancy tetracycline for sale safest site estrace 2mg ivf side effects viagra secure medical derinox sans ordonnance doxazosin 8 mg/eyesurgery motilium 10mg suppository cialis orosolubile leukeran drug emporium where to buy levitra online generic pharmacy belize neurontin side effects patient s perspective viagra pills buying 20 pills s
A Glorious Legacy
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Friday, 01 October 2004 00:00

Popular wisdom has taught us that it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. In the case of Bertha Alexander, born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 1895, her final destination was a far cry from the steaming tenements, rickety pushcarts and hardworking immigrants that surrounded her childhood. When she passed away in 1990, she had lived a life full of creativity, ingenuity, accolades and ac­complishments. Married to a supportive husband, Philip Behr­man, and the proud mother of a daughter, Mildred, Bertha had basked in the respect and affection of her family, and of the entire world. For you see, Bertha Behrman was known internationally as Madame Beatrice Alexander.

From early childhood, Bertha was seemingly destined for greatness. She was smart as a whip, won poetry and composition prizes at school, and exhibited a true talent in art. In later years, she would talk about an opportunity that she had been offered to study in Paris, learning the fine points of sculpting while making her way among the Seine’s bustling café society. She had to turn down the scholarship to study abroad because her parents, Hannah and Maurice, had suffered a financial downturn and needed her to help the family out of their dire straits. Bertha took a job as a clerk, but she vowed to find a better way to express herself and her burning artistic streak.

When the Great War, known to us as World War I, streaked across the headlines in 1914, Bertha saw an opportunity to raise her country’s morale, fulfill her desire to create and make some much-needed money. She persuaded her three younger sisters, Rose, Florence and Jean, to gather around their parents’ kitchen table and instructed them on how to make an “indestructible doll.” During their childhoods, father Maurice Alexander ran a doll shop and doll hospital, where most of his business involved the selling and repairing of porcelain dolls. Bertha rallied her sisters to create a muslin doll, stuffed with excelsior, that would salute Red Cross nurses. The dolls were an enormous success, and the seeds of the Alexander Doll Company were sown.

alexander-coquettecissyBertha Alexander Behrman envisioned an American doll company that would rival the beauty and exquisiteness of their European counterparts. However, Bertha was determined that little girls would not be reduced to tears if they dropped one of their Alexander dolls. With every chemical revolution in plastics and in rubber, Bertha was there, urging her manufacturers to learn the craft and to perfect it.

Bertha Behrman is an American legend. And her rise from a struggling, scholarly child in Brooklyn, and then New York’s Lower East Side, to a powerful, professional executive who presided over a doll empire is the stuff of Horatio Alger rags-to-riches tales. It is interesting that while creating this unique Ameri­can art form–dolls that uncannily mimicked the stars, celebrities, heroines of the day–Bertha was reinventing herself as Madame Beatrice Alexander, an identity that smacked of European or Russian aristocracy. She loved the notion that her dolls were a goal for American families on the rise–buying your daughter an Alexander doll was a status symbol, an overt nod that the Mr. and Mrs. were on the right track. And the belief that “a thing of beauty is a joy forever” was the mantra that Madame Alexander pressed upon her designers, craftsmen and workers.

Known to be autocratic at times, difficult and headstrong, Madame Alexander was carving out a niche in history. She recognized the ability to turn dolls into touchstones of popular culture and of historic significance. Since she was such a bookworm and was so smitten with the cinema, many of Alexander’s past triumphs and present breakthroughs revolve around literary characters and movie personalities. She also devoured newspapers and fought to re-create figures torn from the headlines in doll form: the First Ladies, the Dionne Quintuplets, Queen Elizabeth, to name a few.

The world needed a Madame Alexander, a petite dynamo of energy who proved that nothing was impossible if one desired it hard enough. If she hadn’t invented this regal and impeccably groomed dollmaker, a doyenne who presided over the birthing of lovely and elegant playthings, a marketing whiz would have dreamed her up. One may wonder if there really was a Betty Crocker or an Aunt Jemima, but we all know there truly was a Madame Alexander. It didn’t matter that she began her life in a bustling borough, bargaining with peddlers and dealing with customers in her father’s store. In her mind, she was elsewhere–someplace better. While she read Shakespeare, curled up on a bench in her parents’ small cement backyard, the strains of Yiddish, German and Russian wafted about her. Decades later, she would be shaking hands with senators, speaking with presidents, and receiving correspondence from mayors and secretaries of state. As the great American innovator and painter Georgia O’Keeffe observed, “Where I was born, and where and how I have lived, is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.”

Madame Alexander was always an optimistic, forward thinker, and that is why her company, formally established in 1923, in Harlem, New York, still survives today. And most important, that is why it has been selected to receive a Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Madame Alexander was the first with lots of different doll innovations and designs,” explains Gale Jarvis, president of the Alexander Doll Company. “She was an entrepreneur, a woman with ambition and a wonderful imagination. She used those gifts to create beautiful, beautiful dolls.”

For six years, Jarvis has been at the helm of the Alexander firm. It has en­dured its ups and downs in the late 1980s into the early 1990s, but it is on a steady course today. “When I was a child, I played with Madame Alexander dolls. In fact, the last doll I received as a little girl was a Cissy,” Jarvis recalls. “I knew the company had a high profile in the American landscape. I even knew that as a child, but when I became vice president of toys at Macy’s, I then realized how well-respected the name truly was.”

When Jarvis learned of the Jones Publishing tribute that is planned for her organization, she was gratified. “It is good to be recognized by peers, especially for the high standards we try to maintain. After 81 years, it’s nice to be recognized for creating and continuing the history of the oldest doll company.”

Marianne Graf, director of design for the Alexander Doll Company, agrees wholeheartedly. “Our president, Gale Jarvis, leads us in the right direction. She urges us to think about keeping the line fresh, keeping it new. How many companies can take a 50-year-old doll and make it new again?”

The doll “of a certain age” that Graf is toasting is Cissy. Unbelievably, Cissy, the bastion of haute couture and sophistication, is celebrating her half-century mark next year. Like a fine wine, this cosmopolitan creation is only getting better with time. “We thought it would be a nice twist for her birthday to take her from the larger, imposing 21-inch size down to a smaller, more space-saving 10 inches,” Jarvis and Graf explain.

“Coquette Cissy and Coquette Jacqui are marvelous mini versions of the larger 21-inch versions,” Graf enthuses. “These dolls came about because collectors are always looking for something new. Cissy will always be a favorite, but not everyone has room for such large dolls anymore. Also, the pricing will be a little more attractive, too.”

alexander-marypoppins-jane-michaelGraf, who has been with the firm for 13 years, is well versed in the company’s history and achievements. She and the rest of the design team often look to the heady past to help tool the heartwarming future. “If we continue to maintain the standards that Madame set, all of our current offerings will stand the test of time,” Graf affirms. “Madame Alexander had an exquisite eye for beautiful things. Because she was attracted to the finer things in life, she took the extra step to add the details that set her apart from the rest of the world. Because of quality, she created dolls that last forever.”

When Jarvis is asked which of her current wares will stand the test of time, she muses for a moment. “I think our new eight-inch Asian and African-American face sculpts will remain popular. Likewise, our articulated Wendy dolls and our special projects like Olivia, Eloise and Hannah Pepper.”

Yes, indeed, Alexander Doll Company has named a young girl doll after Hannah Pepper, the brave immigrant woman who journeyed to these shores to settle down and raise daughter Bertha.

It is that ability to salute the past–personal and public–that has always hallmarked the Alexander Doll Company. The individuals who comprise the company have never forgotten where they came from, or what they are striving toward.

“I feel the dolls pull at people’s heartstrings,” assesses Graf. “Maybe many of them remember something from the past and want to make sure that feeling is passed on.”

Jarvis speaks for her entire team when she vows: “We want to be known as a great doll company that has great products and great value. It’s all about the dream for the collector. We have fun re-creating that. It’s the company’s legacy, and we honor it.”



TrackBack URI for this entry

Comments (0)

Subscribe to this comment's feed

Write comment

smaller | bigger