Celebrity paper dolls have always been extremely popular and they are becoming the focus of Naomi’s paper doll collection. I have to admit that some of the celebs she has introduced me to I have never heard of like Mary Hartline or Alice Faye to mention a couple. As Naomi has an interest in old movies and TV shows and has several movie star biographies in her home library I guess this was a natural offshoot for a paper doll lover.
As for me, even if I have never heard of the star I can still enjoy the vintage fashions and beautiful graphics of the paper doll books and we both enjoy the process of identifying vintage dolls and fashions.
The Lennon Sisters I had actually heard of although I didn’t know anything about them. I decided that they needed a whole post to themselves because they were extremely popular and there were several paper doll books depicting the sisters together and also others featuring youngest sister Janet Lennon.
Naomi has some vintage copies of some of these books which are incomplete. The big lot of dolls she bought was unsorted so we’ve spent several Saturday afternoons poring over online illustrations and attempting to find which fashions belong to whom.
Who Were The Lennon Sisters?
For those too young to remember, the Lennon Sisters were a singing quartet who made their TV debut in 1955 on the Lawrence Welk Show. The eldest was sixteen-year-old Dianne (Dee Dee), then fourteen-year-old Peggy, twelve-year-old Kathy, and nine-year-old Janet. They became regulars on the show and remained for many years as well as making numerous albums. They had their own TV show for a short time and later became regulars on the Andy Williams Show. They also toured extensively playing at State Fairs and similar venues.
At the height of their popularity there was a huge amount of merchandising based around them, not just paper doll books but colouring books, lunch boxes and yes, dolls as well.
The Paper Dolls
For the “Show and Tell” part of the post I decided to use a mixture of the vintage dolls and the reproductions. Some of the vintage dolls are in very poor condition with missing limbs and staples where they have been repaired. The reproductions are very well done and the same size as the originals so you get a good idea how they would have looked brand new. The books were originally printed by Whitman but I think the rights were obtained by the Lennon Sisters who published the reproduction books.
These dolls are from the set with the green cover.Here are the girls in some vintage dresses and some of their reproduction clothing.
Here are some pictures of the Janet Lennon set featuring vintage Janet in some of her outfits and her reproduction artwork and clothing.
We don’t seem to have the original dolls from the book with the blue cover yet but here are the reproductions. I would love to show you all the clothing from each set but there really is a lot of it. These paper dolls were excellent value for money both when they were originally produced and now as reproductions. If you live outside the USA the postage is expensive but the dolls themselves I think are very reasonable prices.
We still would like to find the original dolls from the two sets we don’t have and I’m sure we eventually will. It has been a lot of fun finding and identifying their original outfits.
The Lennon Sisters also released old style rag dolls called “Best Pals” which you can read a bit about in one of the links below.