Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Madame Alexander Dolls

Bertha (Beatrice) Alexander Behrman began making cloth dolls as a young girl.  Her stepfather owned the very first doll hospital in the United States and she made Red Cross Nurse dolls in order to help the business during World War I.  She and her sisters founded the Alexander Doll Company in 1923.  They added the "Madame" in an effort to make their dolls seem fancier.  They too started out making cloth dolls but soon switched to porcelain to appeal to a higher end market.  Some of their popular dolls were the Little Women characters, the Trapp family from The Sound of Music and The Three Little Pigs.  Later they made dolls of celebrities like Judy Garland, Shari Lewis and Marlo Thomas. 
The March Family from Little Women

Three Little Pigs

During World War II the company made Armed Forces representative dolls to boost morale and they also switched to hard plastic then to make their dolls less susceptible to breakage. 
During this time, they also pioneered the usage of rooted hair and eyes that could open and close.

One of the major milestones in the company's history happened in 1953 when they introduced Alexander-kins.  These are eight-inch baby dolls made of plastic and are probably the most well-known of all Madame Alexander Dolls.
Alexander-kins "Wendy Takes a Train"
In 1957 they introduced the 21" tall Cissy doll, a fashion doll for older girls. 
Vintage Madame Alexander Cissy doll
They also began to use vinyl in the 50's to make dolls more durable, along with synthetic hair that could be styled by children.   The 50's and 60's also saw Disney characters, Kennedy family dolls and international dolls. 
Madame Alexander's Cinderella

Today, the company is no longer owned by the Behrman family but still produces dolls bearing the Madame Alexander name for today's lucky little girls!  See more of these wonderful dolls on our Pinterest board.

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