Readers of my "Linda's Blog" know that I just love dolls of all kinds, shapes, and sizes. I also love history, especially if it's doll history.
Many, many years ago I bought a book on doll history (the cover is shown in the picture above) that was supposed to be the "ultimate" book on dolls and doll history. Well, it definitely lived up to its hype.
The Ultimate Doll Book was written by Caroline Goodfellow who is a doll curator.
"The Ultimate Doll Book" is a wonderful treasury of more than 400 different dolls of every type and every time period. It covers the history of dolls from a manufacturing perspective over the last 200 years which was something I was fascinated by. Plus, for the doll collector or someone thinking of starting a doll collection there is some helpful advice for doing so.
There are beautiful, beautiful pictures of all of the various dolls photographed by Matthew Ward contained throughout the book. One of my favorite dolls is the "Old Pretender" pictured on Page 2 and Page 13. She was made in c1680 and it is said that she belonged to the court of King James II. Of course, I just love her and all the rest of the early dolls (circa 1680's to 1820's). Now why is that? Hmmm....
The book is arranged in chronological chapters by manufacturing processes and materials used to make the dolls and starts with Wooden Dolls. This chapter covers Early Dolls (1680's to 1820's), Dolls from the New World (1850's to 1930's), Poupards and Simple Dolls (1800's to present), and Peg Woodens (1790's to present).
The next chapter is Composition Dolls and covers Greiner and German Dolls (1840's to 1900's), Developments in Composition (1850's to 1930's), Alexander Doll Company (1926 to present), and Wax-Over Composition Dolls (1830's to 1900's).
Then we learn the history of and manufacturing of Poured Wax Dolls, Early Dolls ( 1750's to 1850's), English Makers (1850's to 1930's), The Pierotti Family (1770's to 1935), Pierotti Portrait Dolls (1900's to 1930's), and Princess Daisy (1890's).
Next is the history of and manufacturing of Porcelain Dolls, Fancy Glazed China Heads (1830's to 1880's), Plain Glazed China Heads (1840's to 1870's), Fancy Untinted Bisque Heads (1860's to 1880's), and Plain Untinted Bisque Heads (1860's to 1880's.
Following this is Bisque Dolls. We learn about Fashionable Lady Dolls (1860's to 1890's), Developments in Body Types (1860's to 1880's), Jumeau Dolls (1842 to 1958), Bru Dolls (1866 to 1950's), Lady With Wooden Body (1870's), Steiner Dolls (1855 to 1908), The S.F.B.J. and Others (1899 to 1950's), German Marks of Distinction (1860's to 1920's), German Character Dolls (1880's to 1900's), German Doll-Makers (1890's to 1930's), Lady Betty Modish (1902 to 1911), Armand Marseille Dolls (1890's to 1930's), My Dream Baby (1920's to 1930's), Bisque Baby Dolls (1900's to 1990's), Lesser-known German Makers (1900's to 1930's), Ethnic and English Dolls (1860's to 1920's), and Mass-produced Bisque Dolls (1900's to 1940's).
Then we learn the history of Rag Dolls and the American Home Industry (1890's to 1930's), Painted and Sewn Dolls (1880's to 1900's), Printed Cloth Dolls (1900's to 1980's), Steiff Dolls (1900's to present), English Manufacturers (1920's to 1950's), European Manufacturers (1920's to 1950's), and Norah Wellings (1919 to 1960).
Then we are on to the history of and manufacturing of Celluloid Dolls including German Manufacturers (1870's to 1960's) and Mass-produced Dolls (1900's to 1980's).
Modern Dolls is covered next including Voque Dolls, Inc. (1940's to 1960's), American Manufacturers (1900's to present), The Changing Faces of Barbie (1959 to present), English Manufacturers (1950's to 1980's), Sindy and Patch (1960's to present), Baby and Toddler Dolls (1940's to present), Royal Doulton and Nisbet (1980 to 1985), Men and Boys (1960's to present), and New Doll Ideas (1960's to present).
This is followed by the history of National dolls, including Japanese Dolls (1900's to 1960's), Chinese Dolls (1900's to 1950's), Russian Dolls (1800's to present), and Patriotic Character Dolls (1890's to 1918).
The last doll history section concerns the history of Unusual Dolls. This includes Multiple Heads and Faces (1860's to 1980's), Peddler Dolls (1820's to 1990's), and A Master Doll-maker (1970's to present). The latter has to be seen as they are just exquisite.
The final sections of the book contain useful information for the doll collecting enthusiast. It also contains a section on caring for your rare and vintage dolls.
Given that I love dolls, love doll history, and especially love the Victorian Period it was a given that I would love this book. To say it's my favorite doll book would not be an exaggeration. I can read it again, again, and again. I just love dolls. Dolls of all kinds. But, that's me. Maybe after reading Ultimate Doll Book that will be you, too.