If you love baby dolls, Betsy McCall, Sweet Sue, or Tiny Tears, then you love dolls by the American Character Doll Company. American Character was in business from 1919 to 1968, and trademarked the name “Petite” found embossed on many of the early composition dolls from the 20s. They were known for mama dolls and baby dolls including one Bye-Lo look alike done in composition. This doll is called Baby Petite and is so marked. Other babies were Teenie Weenie and Happy Tot. Early Campbell Kids were also marked with “Petite” or a variation thereof.
Many of their dolls were made of composition, or with composition heads and limbs, but later dolls were also made of hard plastic and vinyl. One of their trademark dolls was Sweet Sue, a lovely debutante type doll that came in different sizes and had a varied wardrobe.
1927 brought a doll in honor of Charles Lindbergh, who would later collect automatons, and who was a best friend of Sam Pryor, the former VP of TWA whose doll collection inspired the Disney attraction, “It’s a Small World.” Other American Character celebrity doll include Lucille Ball (1952) from I Love Lucy, a rare doll with a mask face and cloth body, and a 3-year production of Little Ricky, based on Ball’s son, Desi Arnaz, Jr.
Another iconic doll for the company was Betsy McCall, made in various styles and sizes with wardrobes meant to emulate the famous paper doll who lived among the pages of McCall’s magazine.
In 1968, Ideal bought American Character molds, and continued with Tiny Tears. They used the growing hair idea of Tressy on their own Ideal Crissy family dolls.
American Character made trendy and beautiful dolls for nearly 50 years that have found their way into many collections of vintage dolls, as well as doll museums and antique stores.
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