Friday, June 1, 2018

Mystery French Doll Who Am I?

Who is this unknown doll, purchased in Paris, France in approximately 1976?

Help is needed in identifying a doll that was purchased in Paris, France in approximately 1976.  The above image is an artist's rendition based on a description provided by the former owner.  Additional information, which hopefully might help lead to the doll's identification, is shared below:

Height: Estimated 5 to 6 inches/13 to 15 cm. Taller than Strawberry Shortcake but shorter than Barbie.
Physique: Proportions are childlike. More like a toddler than a baby or adult doll. Chubby, kind of cherubic.
Where bought: Paris, France at a doll store. Bought brand new. Unsure where manufactured. Bought in the late 1970s, likely around 1976.
Material: Unsure of what material the doll was made of, but the former owner thinks it was plastic but a softer kind of plastic [vinyl or rubber, maybe]. It had a firm (not soft or cloth) body. Its legs and arms moved, but not at the joints (knees or elbows). It was hardy (former owner played with it pretty nonstop for two to three years).
Hair: Short, black curly hair with big roller curls… (2-3 inches in diameter but sitting close to the head).
Mouth: Very neutral/closed mouth with red lips.
Eyes: Hazel eyes with some orange-ish [amber]. Says material for eyes was kind of translucent - light would get into the pupils. Stiff eyelashes that were not separated. Had "sleepy eyes" that closed when she laid down.  She thinks the eyes could be plastic.
Skin color: As pictured in the drawing.  Described as "somewhere between Angela Bassett and...probably Angela Bassett slashTaraji P. Henson."
Clothes: The outfit she came in (pictured) was likely a blue schoolgirl dress with a Peter Pan collar. Thinks it was blue but could've been pink. Puffy sleeves. White panties underneath.
Additional important details: Former owner called the doll Zoe (or "Zoey"), but she doesn't know if that was the name of the doll or whether she gave it that name. She thinks it also came with a trunk, with tiny hangers and one change of clothes. The trunk had a bar inside so you could hang up the clothes.

Note that while the doll was purchased in Paris, France, it was not necessarily made there. The former owner says some of the dolls from Unica Company look similar to Zoe.   This Pinterest board is devoted to Unica dolls, a Belgium doll company.

Below are additional photos of dolls that look similar.

Doll on left looks similar to the mystery doll.

In the photo of these two dolls, the doll on the left looks similar but former owner's doll was better dressed and had a more neutral facial expression.


Doll in blue looks similar to Zoe

The former owner thinks the above doll in the blue dress is super similar but she says Zoe had a more neutral face, not as cheerful.  [The doll in blue looks like a doll made in Italy.  So, Italy, France, Belgium or another country in close proximity to France could be the country of origin of the doll's manufacturer.]

This link to the 1974 doll offerings in a French catalog shows a blonde doll in a group of dolls labeled 1.  That doll is 17 cm, slightly taller than the mystery doll.  The same sculpt and body appear to have been used in 1976 for a dark-skinned doll dressed in islander attire.  Could this be the doll that might have also been dressed in a blue schoolgirl-type dress?

If you know the identity of this doll (name, manufacturer) or have suggestions that would help in identifying it, please post a comment below.  If you have questions about the doll, please contact Kate by email at katepm@gimletmedia.com.

Thank you!

dbg
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24 comments:

  1. Hi ! your description makes me think about french GAMA doll :
    http://mamour7791.skyrock.com/3266963878-COMPARATIFS-GAMA.html

    please, let me know if it is Zoe !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. LéonorEtLorelei,
      I was hoping you would see this post. Do you know the name of the black doll's maker?

      dbg

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    2. Hi LéonorEtLorelei - I'm the reporter, Kate, who is working with Debbie to try and find this doll. These are really helpful suggestions, thank you. I'd love to talk more about how you came up with these suggestions, and learn a bit more about French doll collecting in general. I'd also like to stay in touch so we can tell you if one of your suggestions ends up being this doll after all! Let me know if you would be open to a Skype chat - I can be reached at katepm@gimletmedia.com. Thanks!

      Delete
  2. I wonder if this Les Creations Gama doll with trunk and extra clothes had a black counterpart?

    dbg

    ReplyDelete

  3. to your 8:03 com:
    it's the same doll that on the blog that I showed you, in baby, with the legs "folded";
    The girls had straight legs and boys bent legs.
    The girls had long hair and the boys had short hair. I'm not sure i ever seen a black one with long hair; here you'll see a black baby.

    http://toutoune42.skyrock.com/3034390085-MES-GAMAS.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the clarification. I see the black baby with bent legs at the link you shared in this comment. I hope this is the doll or the company that made Dodai's doll. I will let you know.

      dbg

      Delete

  4. Gama and the Gama Creations are the same company. They were manufacturers of dolls' clothes, we still rarely find clothes that are not deboxed. They were quality dolls, sold with quality clothes, in "badges" or in cardboard boxes. Sometimes dolls are marked in the neck. Sometimes the dolls were Clodrey's models.
    http://lescathydisa.skyrock.com/3296755142-Boite-Gama.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. http://sabrina-blanchard-900.skyrock.com/3282638318-Le-retour-de-la-petite-Gama.html

    SJdolls discovered a clone http://sjdolls.skyrock.com/3292890172-MINI-GAMA-NON-NOUS-NE-SOMMES-PAS-SEULES-SUR-TERRE.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for these additional links. The clone discovered by SJdolls looks like the artist's rendition, too.

      dbg

      Delete
  6. http://www.paramourdespoupees.com/t757-LA-SOCIETE-GAMMA-1952-ANNEES-80.htm


    I forgot the model "Martinique" with his parrot:). "elle est probablement de la marque Polyplast" it's probably a Polyplast doll

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cute costume! It appears the company used the same doll to dress in a variety of ways.

      dbg

      Delete
  7. http://sonialice.skyrock.com/3300683092-4-Chocolat-surprise.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. so, her name could be "Juliette"
    http://toutoune42.skyrock.com/2983789341-GAMA.html

    and here, down on the page
    http://odyssee-des-jouets.forumactif.com/f40-gama

    Hope it did help; If you have any question I'll try to answer. Let me know if it was Zoe or not : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This one is interesting. Her face is the least expressive of all, but the comments indicate she is from 1962, over a decade before Dodai's doll was purchased. How tall is she?

      Delete
  9. the little doll you searched in french catalog were Hong Kong made, 17 cm, sold as "les 4 petits copains" , and sold as Kimo and Kalani

    http://leonoretlorelei.skyrock.com/3305584238-ceux-qui-retrouvent-leur-prenom.html (after Migliorati dolls)

    https://www.etsy.com/fr/listing/566328734/vintage-70-s-poupees-hawaien-kimo-et

    https://www.rubylane.com/item/756363-1833/Vintage-Hawaiian-Dolls-Three-MIP?search=1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kimo and Kalani are cute. Thanks for the additional information about them.

      dbg

      Delete

  10. There is little reliable information on Gama;for the Gama of 17cm, the catalogs with this model of dolls (white) dated 80s. But those who had them in their childhood speak 70's; the one interesting you speak about must be about 30cm,
    http://www.paramourdespoupees.com/t1521-Poupee-noire-Polyflex-28cm.htm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This one would be a little taller than Dodai's doll; the 1950s timeline is off as well as the complexion. The expressionless face makes me think it's close to the description and the artist's drawing.

      dbg

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  11. Hong Kong clones still are still made by now :
    http://www.4nz.info/children.html

    https://www.silverfernz.com/authentically-clothed-new-zealand-maori-wahine-doll-with-cloak-skirt-baby.htm

    http://www.shopnewzealand.co.nz/categories/home-garden/home-d%C3%A9cor/living-room/wahine-maori-doll-22-17cm#.WxJvrEiFPIU

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for these links to the Hong Kong-made dolls.
      dbg

      Delete

  12. and here, for a detail, she speaks of "the middle and right-hand annular welded"

    http://gigiduru.skyrock.com/2118262873-Des-minis.html

    ReplyDelete

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