Madame Beatrice Alexander 

In a world where disposable items are the norm and fads come and go with alarming speed, longevity is a rare achievement. The toy industry is particularly influenced by trends and overnight sensations, so when a company can attain a 50-year milestone, it is worthy of parties and ovations. This makes the Madame Alexander Doll Company’s 100th anniversary all the more remarkable. 

Madame Alexander with two of her creations. 
Madame Alexander has unveiled three lovely 8-inch Centennial Wendy dolls in dark, light, and medium skin tones, dressed in lavender frocks with white ruffled pinafores. The Wendy dolls are joined by the 8-inch Celebrating 100 Years doll wearing a light-blue gown with satin ribbon trim and a silver belt. 
Cissette Ice Angel embodies wintry sophistication. The 10-inch doll has an articulated body with high-heeled feet and wears an iridescent gown and a shrug with long slit sleeves. 
New for 2023, 10-inch Gilded Gala Cissette is the belle of an Edwardian ball. 

A Century of Influence 

Beatrice Alexander founded her doll business in 1923, at a time when most women were not permitted in the boardroom. Mere years after American women were granted the right to vote, she had the gumption and determination to open a company manufacturing dolls with a distinct purpose. Her handiwork celebrated the finer virtues of life and, most importantly, encouraged children to be kind, attentive, nurturing, and concerned. 

“Madame Alexander understood that doll play created kinder kids. Her mission was to create dolls that could be played with and loved. Because of Madame Alexander, for the first time, dolls were made both lifelike and durable,” said David Morgenstern, Alexander’s vice president. “Madame Alexander revolutionized the doll industry, from the introduction of cloth baby dolls to her innovative use of plastics in dolls. With our Centennial Celebration, we celebrate the impact Madame Alexander dolls have made on American childhood over the last century.” 

Adaptability is a primary reason why the Alexander Doll Company has endured and flourished. The creative team has always recognized that children’s lifestyles and viewpoints evolve with each passing decade. Never losing sight of their commitment to quality and the power of imaginative play, the company’s dolls reflect how children have looked, dressed, interacted, and dreamed over the decades. The Madame Alexander secret to success is that they look and listen to the generations growing up around them and then tweak their offerings to speak to the children of each era. 

The 100th Anniversary My First dolls (at left) are available in three skin tones. These 12-inch newborn baby dolls are made to be snuggled and loved. They have soft fabric bodies and removable bibs. The 12-inch Centennial Huggable Huggums were created for ages 2 and up and are available in two skin tones. The dolls wipe clean with a damp cloth. 
The It’s All Me doll line is a mashup of children’s favorite activities, pastimes, professions, and foods. The Alexander team dreams up combos that kids age 3 and up will enjoy, like Soccer and Chef (right) or Candy and Coding. 
Alexander is adding three new 8-inch Storyland collectible Wendy dolls (for ages 14 and up) this year. Shown here are the Princess and the Pea (new), Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood, Alice, Snow White, Fairy Godmother, Hua Mulan, Rapunzel (new), and The Three Little Pigs (new). 

Michelle Parnett-Dwyer, curator of dolls and toys at the Strong National Museum of Play, has noted that Madame Alexander’s legacy was not a fluke — she always intended for her company to thrive and expand. “Beatrice Alexander founded a company that she grew into more than a leading doll manufacturer. She created a lasting brand that’s continued to evolve for 100 years and that has influenced the toy industry and the way people play,” Parnett-Dwyer said. 

The Madame Alexander Centennial Celebration officially launched in February at the Strong Museum. It is a multifaceted, curated salute, with various displays focusing on different eras and themes. For instance, an interactive play lab centering on Madame Alexander doll collections is up and running. The yearlong exhibit also honors how effective Madame and her designers were over the decades for knowing which literary characters, historic heroines, contemporary movers and shakers, and beloved personalities should be created in doll form. Boasting more than 30 dolls, the exhibit traces the development of the Alexander brand over the decades. It includes such well-known and highly regarded Alexander offerings as the cloth Alice in Wonderland doll, a Jackie Kennedy doll, classic Wendy collectibles, and the groundbreaking Cissy fashion doll. 

Hugs and Giggles dolls belong to Alexander’s Nurturing Dolls category and are new for 2023. Designed for children 12 months and older, the dolls are 13 inches tall and available in three skin tones. Each doll can appear to suck her own finger or thumb. 
Frightful and Delightful Witch wears a glow-in-the-dark skeleton unitard, rainbow-colored tulle skirt, black boots, and a sorceress hat. The classic Wendy sculpt for 2023 is 8 inches tall. 
Bunny Hop (left) and All-American Cutie, both 8-inch articulated Wendy dolls, join Madame Alexander’s seasonal collectible dolls this year. The Easter doll wears a pink bunny bubble romper with ears, while the Fourth of July favorite is decked out in a gingham sundress with blue bandanna-print trim. 

The Cissy doll is especially significant to doll collectors. Debuting in the mid-1950s, predating Mattel’s Barbie, Cissy was a novel idea in the world of dolls. She provided a vehicle for older children, teenagers, and adults to explore the realm of doll fashions and collecting. This was a bold step beyond the traditional notion of what a doll was and what it was meant to do. Rather than being a way to introduce little girls to the rituals of mothering and nurturing, Cissy invited girls to dream of cosmopolitan costuming, sophisticated styles, and grown-up glamor. She redefined everything a doll could and should be. 

Over the past 100 years, the Madame Alexander Doll Company has enjoyed surprising their customers and collectors. In fact, Madame Alexander personally spearheaded many firsts in the arena of play: She was the first dollmaker to license characters from books, movies, and television — an enormous game changer — and the company produced the first walking dolls. She was also the first doll entrepreneur who saw the potential of sleep eyes and popularized them across the board. In recognition of her creativity and innovations, the Toy Industry Hall of Fame inducted her into their membership in 2000. 

For the Centennial Celebration, the Alexander Doll Company is continuing its pledge to always honor Madame’s personal credo, “Love is in the details.” Over the course of 2023, they’re releasing exclusive Centennial Celebration dolls and promoting special online items and consumer offers. On March 9, the late Beatrice Alexander’s birthday, FAO Schwarz hosted a party in her honor. The in-store celebration included giveaways and promotions lasting the entire month. Mini pop-up celebrations like this will take place throughout the year at select retail stores. 

“Today, the Madame Alexander Doll Company continues to create quality dolls, beloved by many, that inspire meaningful relationships and imaginative play,” Parnett-Dwyer said. The array of Centennial Celebration dolls truly reflects that observation. As the company has always done, it has unveiled dolls for every age, interest, and wallet: toddlers and tots, tykes and tweens, teens and adults. All of these different groups with their particular mindsets will find a doll to take home and love. Going forward, the company will continue to survey the modern landscape and innovate dolls to mirror how children and collectors play and live today. 

Madame Alexander

Paws (new for this year), Woodland Christmas, 8-inch Deer Santa (also new for 2023) in two skin tones, Vintage Christmas, and the third new design Boughs of Holly, a 10-inch Regency-era Cissette doll.