Apart from my Netta baby and toddler dolls, I think the nicest affordable modern baby dolls are the ones made by Berenguer/Berjusa. A few of these have come my way recently via the Op Shop so I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at them.
A Little History:
I wanted to understand the relationship between Berjusa and Berenguer and a little reading led me to an article written by Rosemary Greenwood detailing the history of the company. I’ve included a link to the article at the end of this post .
Jose Berenguer was the designer of the first dolls beginning in 1944. The early ones were composition dolls, later they were manufactured in hard plastic and then vinyl. Jose sculpted dolls in a way that hadn’t been seen before and his dolls became extremely popular in Spain because of their lifelike appearance. Two of the most popular designs were Chelito and Pepin. I couldn’t find many photos l would be free to use in this post but I have seen a lot of pictures of the early dolls online. Here is a link to a sale site that has some nice photos of early dolls designed by Jose Berenguer.
Jose’s son Salvador continued his father’s work from the 1960s onwards and designed many dolls. They were introduced to the USA in the early 1980s under the trade name Berjusa. In 1993 Berjusa became J.C Toys. Salvador became the company’s chief sculptor and the dolls were sold bearing his name. Over the last three decades, the company has added more lines to their doll family.
The modern dolls are made in various sizes and skin tones. Some have all vinyl bodies and some cloth bodies with vinyl heads and limbs. Their play lines are La Baby, Lots to Love, Lots to Cuddle, Lil’ Hugs and Lil’ Cutesies. I find La Baby and the Lots to Love and Lots to Cuddle dolls very appealing. They have such cute faces. Lil’ Hugs is a doll designed especially for babies with a soft body and limbs while the Lil’ Cutesies are a small vinyl doll for young children.
Berenguer’s other line is their Newborn series of dolls. These come in several sizes and skin tones too. Their sculpting is more lifelike and they are anatomically correct. These dolls are often bought by collectors who create Reborn dolls because their sculpts are so realistic. I have also read that they are often used in parenting classes.
One of these dolls recently came to the Op Shop and although she was not dirty I brought her home because she needs an outfit and because I wanted to photograph her. Whenever we get a Berenguer in the shop I nearly always want to keep it so I may end up buying this one myself. I did take back the last one we had because I already had one just the same. She was snapped up by a regular customer before she even made it to the toy shelves so I’m not the only one.
I hope you have enjoyed this short look at these modern baby dolls. As I did quite a lot of reading to put this post together I’ve put links to the articles that I read after these photos of dolls I own or have fixed up for the Op Shop.