Vintage Paper Dolls Part One – Bonnets and Bows


After reading my recent post about the paper dolls that she had given me for Christmas my sister asked me if I would like to photograph and write about some of her paper doll collection. Naturally I said “Yes please.” so she brought me down several boxes and books of mostly vintage paper dolls that she’s collected over the past decade or two. There are so many and they are all so different that one post would simply not be enough so I’m going to start a series of posts about them.

Some of these dolls we are familiar with as we had similar ones as children or at least have been able to find them on the internet but there are a couple that we are quite intrigued by and would love to learn a bit more about.

As always I’d be delighted to receive comments from anyone who can identify dolls or has a story about them. I will expand my paper doll page with photos of some of these to make them easier to find in future so look out for that as well.

Bonnets and Bows/ Best Friends

I’m going to kick off with one of my favourite sets, Saalfields’s  “Bonnets and Bows”I have also seen this set listed under the name “Best Friends” so it’s possible different editions had different names. I remember these from my childhood because our cousin had them so I’m guessing they were available through the early to mid 1960s. Saalfield made a set with the name  “Best Friends” in 1953 with different dolls so for convenience from now on I’ll refer to these as “Bonnets and Bows”. The set comprises of four little girls, one of whom is standing back to front looking over her shoulder. They have a wardrobe of cute outfits.  The photos to follow are of my sister’s vintage dolls and some of their outfits. A few of the outfits accessories are missing. You can see the book in its entirety on the Free Paper Doll website.

I find the expressions on these dolls very appealing and the little outfits are cute and colourful. I like Judy’s kitten too. This is one of the sets that just brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

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