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My Vintage International Doll Collection

I love the look and feel of vintage and antique items. My collections contain quite a few beautiful items that I enjoy sharing.

Vintage Doll Collection

Vintage Doll Collection

Sharing My Vintage Doll Collection

My vintage doll collection is comprised mostly of dolls I was given as a child.

It started when my aunts travelled; they would bring back a souvenir doll. When I started to travel, I purchased dolls on my trips.

Many of these vintage dolls are different and I hope to let everyone see and share in something not commonly seen.

What good is having a doll collection is everyone can't see it and enjoy it?

Can Can Dancer Doll From Paris

Parisian Can-Can Doll - 1950's

Parisian Can-Can Doll - 1950's

This doll was purchased in the early 1950s in Paris.

Her left foot is fixed to a pedestal and her right foot and arms swing freely. Of course as a child, I would kick up her leg and make her do the can-can. I am surprised she is in as good condition as she appears.

Her dress is made of pink satin ribbons separated by black lace. She has black lace stockings.

A Vintage Souvenir Doll From Italy - One Of My Aunts Brought This Back From Italy In The 1950's

Italian Doll From Sorrento

Italian Doll From Sorrento

It's a souvenir doll from Sorrento.

What amazed me about this doll is that a lot of her accessories, including her earring are stuck on with straight (common) pins. Probably, not the safest toy for a child. I wonder if today, this is still done with souvenir dolls.

Vintage German Souvenir Doll - My mother bought this at a tag sale



I read an article that indicated these dolls were produced during the 1940s for soldiers to bring back to America as souvenirs.

This vintage doll is made of a composite material. She has a straw hat with red pompoms.

Skookum Dolls

Skookum Doll

Skookum Doll

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These were purchased by my parents on their honeymoon in 1942 in upstate New York.

Skookum dolls were dressed in Native American type dress, however, they were not made by Native Americans

Earlier Skookum dolls have dried apple faces, these have composition or plastic faces.


The Skookum dolls were from Upstate New York -- this is home to Onandaga, Huron, Cuyuga, Seneca and Iroquois.

The Weaving Dolls was purchased in Arizona, home to Pueblos, Acama, Suna Navajo and Apache.

If you know the translation, please let me know. I like to provide my readers with as much information as possible.

The Native American Word for "Doll"

I searched for information on the what the Native American's would call a doll. A reader offered that the Navajo word for doll is "awééshchíín".

I believe languages vary between Native American tribes, other tribes may have other words for doll.

Vintage Banana Leaf Doll - From Bermuda?

Banana Leaf Doll

Banana Leaf Doll

Banana Leaf Doll

This is probably the doll that I have the owned longest; early 1950s. One of my aunts brought it back from her travels and it was in my mother's china cabinet when I was a toddler. From time to time, my mother would let me hold her.

She is made of banana leaves and has a nut for a head. She used to have a purse.

When this article was first published, I asked for information on my banana leaf doll.

Here are some of my reader's comments which are so very helpful

From an anonymous reader 1:

My friend Ronnie Chameau in Bermuda makes banana leaf dolls...Oprah Winfrey owns one,and i think one is in the White House! She makes exquisite Christmas angels out of banana leaf as well.I don't think this is one of hers,or the older lady Mrs Gleeson who has passed away now from Bermuda.You could look up Ronnie on the web and find out more about her.Maybe the people in the west indies do these dolls as well.

From anonymous reader 2:

Hi. My great aunt, Marie Gleeson made dolls like these. She had a little shop in St.George's and I'd go there sometimes with my mom and watch her braid the little hats and baskets. i have one that looks a little more sophisticated than yours , with basket and umbrella. She'd dye little dried flowers and seeds and decorate the doll with them. The tag on mine says "I come from Bermuda, the Isles of Sunshine. I'm dressed in banana and native screw pine." I have a Ronnie Chameau doll also, they're lovely.

A response to anonymous reader 2 from anonymous reader 3:

I have one of Marie Gleeson's banana dolls, and she has a small pale green label attached with the words "I come from Bermuda, the Isles of Sunshine. I'm dressed in banana and native screw pine". She is almost 13" tall, dressed in a long skirt with a cape-like shawl that has a lovely woven border and a colourful corsage. She is wearing a lovely lacy straw hat decorated with flowers, and has dark brown palm fibre hair and a pretty face painted on a walnut. She is carrying a beautiful woven basket that contains small coloured seeds. She belonged to my mother Muriel "Bubbles" Gauntlett (1908-2009).

A Video on Banana Leaf Dolls

Thanks to John McGill, I believe we have solved the mystery of the origin of the banana leaf doll.

His friend Ronnie in Bermuda makes them now.

Mom and Pop Dolls from Pennsylvania, USA - Lancaster, PA. - Pennsylvania Dutch



These are from the Lancaster/Pennsylvania Dutch area of Pennsylvania.

My family took a trip there when I was a child and we picked these up. This was in the late 1950s.

We were told that the woman makes the dolls and and their costumes and her husband makes the rocking chairs. Originally, she made them with dried apple faces, however, so many people complained that they did not last, that she changed her method. Instead, she made a mold of the dried apple faces and cast these faces.

Their arms are pipe cleaners and their hair is cotton balls.

Boy and Girl Sakura Dolls from Japan - These are my favorite vintage dolls

Sakura Dolls

Sakura Dolls

My Mom took me to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, during the 1950s. The girl doll was purchased in their gift shop.

A few years later, my school class took a trip to the Museum of Natural History and I was lucky enough to find the little boy dolls.

I love their costumes and the colors and when you press their chest, they squeak. Their heads are bisque and their bodies are plastic or composite.

Chinese Lady Doll

This is a newer doll from China. This was a gift from friends of mine who visited Epcot Center in Florida. There was a display there from China. She is from the 1990s.

Mexican Flower Vendor Doll - Cheerful and bright

Mexican Doll Made of Paper

Mexican Doll Made of Paper

I bought this on a trip to Mexico in the 1980s. She is made of heavy paper and the flowers are a light weight paper, maybe tissue paper.

I love her bright colors.

© 2011 Ellen Gregory

Comments Are So Very Welcome

ColettaTeske on June 14, 2014:

I love your collection of dolls. My collection is still in boxes. My dad traveled around the world and during the 1960s and 1970, he would bring me home a doll. I have about 75 dolls, all from different countries. Thank you for sharing! Awesome!

rainykua on September 11, 2013:

Wow, you've got a nice collection of dolls! The German doll is cute. I like her straw hat with red pom poms. :) It's so unique. I have a few Chinese dolls at home that I kept inside a bookshelf. My friends love to look at them when they visit my home. My mom also used to collect dolls (they were the size of Barbie dolls). Unfortunately, my twin and I destroyed them when we were toddlers. :( I don't even remember them.

Takkhis on February 07, 2013:

Amazing collection of vintage international doll and Chinese Lady Doll is cute.

anonymous on October 26, 2012:

What an adorable collection of dolls. This lens is blessed by Squid Angel Tipi. --- Very sweet! :)

nickybutler on August 26, 2012:

My word! Beautiful dolls, it's interesting to see how fashions change :)

anonymous on August 25, 2012:

Beautiful dolls!

Expat Mamasita from Thailand on August 23, 2012:

This remindedme ofmy own doll collection. My uncle was in the British army and brought me dolls back when he was posted abroad.

JoshK47 on July 10, 2012:

Very nice work on this lens! Thanks so much for sharing! :)

Little Linda Pinda from Florida on June 14, 2012:

I have a small doll collection. It is being kept by a family member since I moved.

sheezie77 on June 11, 2012:

Nice collections of dolls! Great job!

Oneshotvariety LM on May 03, 2012:

Nice variety of unique-looking dolls! :]

AlleyCatLane on March 09, 2012:

Interesting collection. Thanks for sharing.

LouiseKirkpatrick from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom on February 23, 2012:

This lens has brought back lots of memories for me! I had quite a large collection of dolls mostly from European countries brought back as souvenirs by relatives after holidays abroad. Thinking about it I must have had about 30 of them and I remember regularly getting them all out on a table and playing with them (they'd have conversations with each other usually based around their clothes!). I loved them, but the stupid thing is that I have absolutely no idea what happened to them after I left home in my early 20s! My Mum is dead now and we weren't on particularly friendly terms before her death, so I can only assume someone else took them, or they got thrown away. I hope it's the former and someone else has them and loves them now...I actually feel quite sad and nostalgic thinking about my dolls. Isn't it strange how life gets in the way of things that you once found important - but in all honesty I hadn't thought about those dolls for years until I came across this lens...I'm glad you still have and enjoy your dolls :) Lovely lens blessed by a passing Squid Angel :)

kathysart on February 19, 2012:

I ADORE dolls too.. even though I don't have any I have always loved them. Beautiful lens that I could not help but bless.

Diana Grant from United Kingdom on February 13, 2012:

This reminds me of all the dolls I used to receive as presents from my parents, who were great travellers, and other people who, seeing my collection, thought it good to add to it the collection.

Ben Reed from Redcar on February 08, 2012:

A nice collection.

Blackspaniel1 on February 03, 2012:

Nice lens

CozyKitty on December 16, 2011:

I just love these international dolls! It's so exciting to get souvenirs from all over the world. Beautiful lens ...

;-) Karin

Delia on December 13, 2011:

Absolutely a darling doll collection...

Ellen Gregory (author) from Connecticut, USA on December 02, 2011:

@NicoleLynn711: Thanks, but I am at the stage in life where I am cleaning out and giving away. I just can't bear to part with the doll collection as it is a part of my childhood that gave me joy.

Nicole from Bethel, CT on November 30, 2011:

you would love the collection my mom has at her house!!! My great grandmother collected many things and dolls was one of her favorites! I might sell some of the less sentimental ones on my Etsy shop so I will have to keep you updated if your interested :) Great lens

tnsurge on November 26, 2011:

I'm not a doll fan but even I enjoyed your lens. Check Google keywords if you haven't done so yet and maybe get some backlinks from related sites. Good Luck

Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on November 23, 2011:

Beautiful collection. I enjoyed your photos and the information you shared about each one. Nicely done.

Tjoedhilde on November 23, 2011:

Really cool dolls. I used to travel a lot with my dad when I was a child and I would bring back a doll from each country I visited. Your lens made me wonder if I still have them stored away somewhere. Thanks for sharing! :)

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