From the Editor
Summers seemed to hold a distinctive yellow hue in the 1950s. Hula Hoops were yellow. Slip ‘n Slides were yellow. Imprisoned in their glass jars, the fireflies we caught in the backyard glowed yellow. The Fourth of July’s fireworks flashed yellow across the blackened sky. Carefree days were spent under the dazzling yellow sun.
Even the pure white daisies in our mother’s garden boasted bright yellow centers. Pretending them to be fried eggs, my sister and I slyly plucked them to place on the small child-sized dishes we kept in our playhouse.
In this issue of Doll News we celebrate the innocence and promise of mid-twentieth century America. Jill and Jerry Hanson bring us the life-long story of Betsy McCall, the paper doll (and doll) that has remained a happy constant in our lives for decades. We are honored to share Betsy, an original paper doll by the very talented, Robert Tonner. Betsy, we will find, deftly weaves herself in and throughout this edition. AnneLise Wilhelmsen has created a delightful board game featuring Betsy and her well-filled closet for our Junior Collectors (as well as for the young at heart). AnneLise also rightfully joins the ranks of those illustrious designers who continuously clothed Betsy and her adoring little fans. She has fabricated a pattern of her own to adorn Robert Tonner’s version of Betsy McCall. Gael Shultz shares her treasured childhood memories of the indomitable little girl who has remained forever young as we’ve grown up and older.
Rebekah Kaufman tells us of Steiff’s “Teddy Baby” bears, a furry line that spanned across the twentieth century. Sharon Zerkel honors the dolls of our 49th state, Alaska, which joined the union as the fifties drew to a close, while Linda Holderbaum introduces us to Russia’s stockinette dolls. Kathy Turner relates the story of the Mark Farmer family and their important California-based, mid-century china doll reproduction catalog company. We segue into the early 1960s with Judith Izen’s story of Tammy, the doll we loved to dress, and Bradley Justice renews our friendship with Dare Wright, the author of the beloved Lonely Doll series of books which first appeared in 1957. Nancy Goldstein offers a thoughtful and thought-provoking perspective on the uncanny doll while Jane Foster shares the discovery of some important heretofore undocumented accessories for the ever-popular Patti Playpal.
Ann Leis brings us the story of talented ODACA artist, Anne Myatt, and just in time for our 66th UFDC convention to convene in Kansas City this July, we will read the intriguing back story of Miss Unity, our organization’s emblem.
It is my sincere hope that you enjoy a bright, safe and happy summer. Listen closely. Perhaps you’ll hear the ice cream man’s bell as he comes down your street.