My Mystery Doll. Who is she?


image hard plastic walking doll
Hard plastic walker

When I was photographing dolls yesterday I took this photo of a doll that I really don’t know anything about. Like most of the group I photographed yesterday she is about 18 inches tall but she appears to be much older than the rest. She is unmarked so finding out who she is will be quite a task unless I find a photo of a similar looking doll.

This doll is made entirely of hard plastic and has a walking mechanism, her head turns from side to side when her legs move. She is quite a slim doll with long arms. Her sleep eyes are blue and she has “real” eyelashes although some are missing now. Her hair is the coarser kind of Saran similar to my English doll Christine but unlike Christine her hair is a glued on wig not rooted into her head. She doesn’t have a “mama”. I don’t think her dress is original, it does up with velcro, but I believe her shoes and socks might be. My guess is that she might be from the 1950s but other than that I really have no idea.

If anyone out there can tell me more I’d really love to hear from you.

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5 comments

  1. She is a Sweet Sue by American Character. Although she came in many sizes, the most popular was the 18″ size and most of the dolls of her kind you might find are that size.

    She was extremely popular for a long time, was manufactured for more the 20 years with little change in her face, though the style of her wig changed. In her early versions, she had a full wig, glued down. Later, she became the first doll from a major doll company to have partially rooted hair. Madame Alexader did the same with yer Binny Walker and it ws not a very successful arrangement, having all the disadvantages of wigs and rooted hair.

    A rubber bed for the rooted part was in the center, but it was a glued on wig around the sides and back. I have several examples of her. If she has a complete wig, then she is from the early 1950s and is a strung doll made of hard plastic. She was once dressed in very fancy clothing. Sweet Sue was an early fashion doll, popular for her beautiful face. She always wore a fancy hat with flowers. Sweet Sue was rarely marked. Occasionally you’ll find an “American Character” stamp, but usually not. Hope this helps. I can send you pictures if you let me know. She deserves some nice clothing!! And probably, a good cleaning and restringing, too. A spa day for Sweet Sue!

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    • Thank you so much for the information. I will have to examine her head more closely to see if it is partially rooted and I’ll try to get her an outfit that’s more suited to her era. She is on the list for a good clean but restringing will have to wait, I’m not game to try it myself and we don’t have a doll hospital in Tasmania so she’ll have to wait for a trip to Adelaide or Melbourne. Luckily her joints don’t seem too loose. I would love to see some photos of your Sweet Sue’s.

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      • Restringing is not hard. It takes a bit of practice, but once you get it, I can now do it in less than 5 minutes with someone to hold the doll while I tie the knots. You can get a lot of info online. Even buying the cord (you need the right weight cord and there are doll repair suppliers who will tell you what you need and how much) and any other tools you might need (a crochet needle, a pair of locking pliers or hemostat, plus little hooks for attaching things inside your doll … they same sellers that sell cord sell hooks. They are cheap), it’s still a lot less money than paying someone to do it.

        It really isn’t hard. You just need to realize that your first effort won’t quite do it. It took me two or three tries before I got the tension on the cord right. Not hard, just trial and error. Worst? You have to do it again!

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