Friday, July 10, 2009

1938, a year for weddings

My grandparents married in 1938, Grandad was 19 and Gram was 18. They posed in front of their new car, a whole life ahead of them and their faces shining with love and expectation. Times were still lean, but whether there is prosperity or hardship, people still fall in love and start a life together.

Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for The Life of Emile Zole, Judy Garland was singing "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart", Disney's Snow White debuted. Irving Berlin releases the song "God Bless America", and the echoes of Kristallnacht were an early prelude to the booming cannons of the war to come.

These dolls were also made in 1938 (except for the Flower Girl, she is a couple of years younger) Their round, sweet, almost Kewpie like faces were the style of the time. Little chins tucked in, big soulful eyes, their expressions were born of the Depression and the national yearning for innocence.

The Nancy Ann dolls that were made in the 1930's were priced very inexpensively, and were meant for little girls to collect. Unusual, because they were not made to dress and play with, they came in a signature polka dot box. Using good quality fabric and trim, they were meant to be displayed and admired.

(Little Bo Peep, an early Nancy Ann, was one of the most popular of the nursery rhyme series)

Nancy Ann Abbott, the founder of the company, was also a costume designer for Hollywood, so she brought a deep understanding of fashion to her creations. She explored, through her fashions, several themes. Little girls could go "Around the World"...






Explore stories and fairy tales...


(Red Riding Hood)

Or history....

(Western Miss)

At the peak of it's popularity, the Nancy Ann Storybook Doll factory was producing one million dolls a year.

All of these dolls shown above were made before the start of World War II.

1 comment:

mel said...

My sister collected the storybook character ones---they came in delightful square boxes with polka dots. I held fashion shows with these dolls, writing extensive fashion commentary to read as they "walked" the runway. I forced my grandmother, who raised me, to sit through too many of these events; my parents wouldn't do it.

I especially loved these dolls sweet faces; I didn't generally like dolls, but these were just so beautiful and cheerful!