Monday, June 25, 2018

Two Circa 1899 Geman-made Composition Dolls

In a photograph taken in 2003, are two circa 1899 composition dolls seated in the back of the doll room enjoying the company of several dolls made of vinyl.

I was inspired to share photos and the available information I have on the above two unmarked composition dolls after reading April's "End of Spring Roundup" post (see the link to her post at the end of this post).  

This doll's composition, as well as the other doll's composition, has begun to craze.

April's post includes a close-up photo of a doll that looks similar to the doll wearing the blue and white print dress, shown above, but April's doll's face is in much better condition.  

Previously written text that I shared elsewhere about these dolls is copied below along with photos taken in March 2017 and three other updated photos (green background):

Two circa 1899 German-made, unmarked composition dolls with cloth bodies and blue tin eyes were given to me several years ago in exchange for selling dolls on eBay for a woman I met through eBay. I had planned to sell this pair but decided to keep them to restore and paint black (brown). My husband convinced me not to interrupt their authenticity, so they have remained as they were upon arrival. 

Both dolls have brunette hair.  The doll in blue and white has almost waist-length hair that has a wiry texture.  The other doll's hair is short mohair, missing areas of which are covered by a contemporary baby bonnet. 

The face of the doll on the left is more expressive than the other, but that may be because the doll on the right is missing her eyebrows and possibly her once present tongue.

This doll's teeth are visible in the above close-up, which also illustrates her unfortunate crazing.

Both dolls are 27 inches tall and straw stuffed. The pink floral dress-wearing doll has two upper teeth and a separately molded tongue. The one in the blue dress has an open mouth.  It is likely that her once present tongue and/or teeth are now missing.  

The doll in pink has a tag on her right wrist that reads, I am Marthe.  The number 69 is underneath "Marthe." (I believe Marthe's number was assigned at a doll auction.)  

Marthe wears black leather shoes (they were dusty in this photograph but have since been wiped with a moistened cloth).
Marthe's black leather shoes appear to have been once worn by a child as baby shoes.  She also wears white cotton socks.  

The other doll, that I just named Mimi (after the woman who sent them to me) has a hang tag that reads: 

Dorothy’s Dollies.
1 Corinthians 10:31.
Handwritten on the inside Mimi's tag is "Composition Germany circa 1899."

The referenced scripture reads:
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV

Marthe and Mimi traveled here together and have been displayed together since the late 1990s, some 100 years after they were made.  

Mimi and Marthe are seated in the back of the doll room.

Mimi and Marthe are shown in a final photo, taken after a doll room reorganization several years ago. That area of the doll room is currently filled with several more dolls than the picture illustrates, and some of the dolls in the picture no longer live here. The doll room also is not as organized as it was in 2003 when this last photo was taken. 

View April's post here.


April, if you read this, do you agree that Mimi, the doll in blue, looks similar to your doll?  


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  1. Debbie, your doll does have a similar face to mine. Mine is also 27", has a non-working "mama" box in her body, and is by Effenbee circa 1920. It is amazing how certain doll face types remained popular for so many years.

    1. It's wonderful that you know Effanbee made your doll. They used German doll molds for some of their earliest dolls and some were unmarked. It is possible that "Mimi's" mold was later used by F&B, whose dolls date back to 1910.


  2. Hello!
    I was thinking about your post and remembered one of my YouTube subscriptions Kewpie83 who has a doll doctor who can restore historical dolls: wasn’t sure if this is the path you wanted to take, but just in case...🤗


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