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Lolly's antique smoking boudoir doll tied in a knot
Brief Boudoir Doll History

by Lolly Yocum

    Boudoir dolls gained popularity during the 1920’s. The dolls are characterized by their long limbs. Heads were made of composition or had molded cloth faces. Most dolls had cloth bodies, some had composition hand and feet and a few had composition bodies and even twist waists. They were beautifully painted with blush and eye shadow. Some dolls were smokers, some had eyelashes and some even sported more than one beauty mark. These vampish, sexy or smoking dolls were definitely "IT". Screen actresses such as Marlene Dietrich, Clara Bow and others were photographed with these dolls, increasing their popularity and proving that they were clearly for adults and not children. The flappers who thumbed their noses at society by not wearing corsets raising hemlines and cutting their hair, were immortalized by these dolls. Both European and American companies made boudoir dolls. Many American toy and novelty companies quickly started producing the dolls. In response to the demand names like Flapper and Mascotte Boudoir were actually trademarked. Flapper Novelty Doll Company made Floppy Flo and long limbed Flappers dolls with painted faces. Gerling Toy Company had offices in New York City and Paris. They had a line of Hotsy Totsy boudoir dolls. They also advertised French Art and Novelty Dolls. McCall’s and other pattern companies made both patterns for dolls and offered separate patterns for just the clothing. Many boudoir dolls were sold without clothing and were clothed at home. These dolls often had colored sateen bodies and were sold tied up. The stock market crash of 1929 destroyed lives and businesses and many boudoir doll companies suffered the same fate. The boudoir doll did live on though she became more sedate.

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