Monday, February 23, 2015

The Two Faces of Leslie

Madame Alexander Leslie, Bride and Ballerina, circa 1965/1966.  The bride has the Polly head sculpt.  The ballerina uses the Elise head sculpt. 

Madame Alexander released several versions of Leslie from the mid 1960s through the early-1970s.  Dolls given the name, Leslie, by Madame Alexander were only produced as African American.  Two head sculpts were used for the various versions, the Polly and Elise, named for the white dolls that originally used the sculpts.

Leslie with the Polly sculpt, the most frequently seen version, has fuller cheeks and an upturned smile.  The nose appears slightly broader than the Elise nose. 

The nape of the neck on dolls with the Polly sculpt is marked:

©ALEXANDER DOLL CO. INC.
1965

Leslie with the Elise sculpt has a down-turned smile.  The Elise head is marked:

ALEXANDER
19©66
(The markings are very faint on my doll.)



Both versions have soft vinyl heads, arms, and legs with rigid plastic bodies.   Each stands 17-inches tall.  These two examples have brown sleep eyes and brown rooted hair

Leslie's costumes included a variety of bridal gowns.  The doll can also be found wearing ballerina costumes in pink or blue and possibly other pastel colors.  Casual ensembles were also made for Leslie. 


 From the collection of Ruth Manning, Polly-faced Leslie wears a casual green dress.
Leslie in lime green dress, shown above, is one of the most frequently seen, casually dressed versions.  This doll's eyes appear darker than my bride and ballerina's, which might indicate she was from the final production years.


Label on the bride's box

The label on my bride's box shows she is style #1660.  Colors for costumes, hair, and eyes are included on the label but these do not necessarily pertain to Leslie dolls since there are options for blonde, platinum, and auburn hair and blue eyes. It appears the company stamped the name "Leslie" and the style number onto this generic Madame Alexander doll box label. 


Another Polly-faced Leslie is dressed in Franklin Mint fashion.

An additional Leslie in my collection, shown above wearing a Franklin Mint fashion made for their Princess Diana doll, was purchased nude several years ago for a steal.  She is actually "my" Leslie #2, with the bride being my first.

While she is not a portrait doll, it has been written that actress Leslie Uggams, whose career was at its height during the time the doll entered the market, was the inspiration for the doll's first name.

Images of (mostly) other Leslie dolls can be seen in a Google "Madame Alexander Leslie" image search here.  The results of recently completed eBay auctions for Madame Alexander Leslie dolls can be seen here.



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3 comments:

  1. I'm more partial to the Polly sculpt. She just looks like she's having a really nice day.

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  2. The Polly one is my favorite one, too, Muff. But I was happy to find the Elise ballerina Leslie recently for an extremely good price.

    Thanks GG.

    dbg

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