DOLL IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Rare Black Ginny 1954 Bent-Knee Walker
Photo courtesy of Kaylee's Korner - www.dollinfo.com
"Ginny, her name brings to mind those optimistic days of the early 1950s--days of skate keys and sock hops, of ponytails and bobby sox. But Ginny is more than just a nostalgic icon of the fifties. Ginny has touched the lives of three generations of little girls" who have become adult collectors of this adorable, 8-inch doll.
"Ginny originated from the creative genius and experience of one person, Jennie Graves. The Vogue Doll Company, Inc., which was founded by Mrs. Graves in 1922, introduced Ginny at the New York International Toy Fair in 1951 to outstanding critical acclaim."
Black Ginny was first produced in 1953 as a strung doll and in 1954 as a walker. The dolls were produced in very limited quantities and today are quite rare finds with book values from $1200 up. The fact that Ms. Graves only waited 2 years to produce the Black version of the doll validates her insightful vision for "America's Sweetheart™."
While the original Ginny's first home was with Vogue and her original medium was hard plastic, the Vogue rights were eventually sold to other companies. The Tonka Company purchased the Vogue name in 1973 and sold the rights to the Lesney Company of England in 1977. Lesney produced a slimmer doll, which is also referred to as "Skinny Ginny" by collectors. From 1983-1986, Meritus Industries produced this little sweetheart. From 1986-1995 R. Dakin and Company owned the Vogue rights. Finally, in 1995 Ginny found her way back home to Vogue Dolls® .
Throughout the years, along with her several different homes, Ginny has had several appearance transformations. From strung hard plastic to jointed, jointed hard plastic to vinyl, bent-knee walker to straight legs, painted eyes to sleep eyes, wigged hair to rooted; chubby body to slender, and back to chubby body again, Ginny's popularity has remained steadfast.
Because of her popularity, in the early (hard plastic) years, many companies manufactured Ginny look-alikes or Ginny-type dolls. Most of the dolls were unmarked, manufactured by Fortune Toys, Plated Molded Arts (PMA), Virga, and others. The most popular dark skinned Ginny look-alike is Pam by Fortune Toys. She could be purchased dressed as an African American or as a Native American. Instead of actual shoes, Pam and several of the other "types" had molded T-strap shoes for feet. If desired, real socks and shoes could be placed over these, which is what I did with the Pam doll dressed in the Christmas outfit, above right.
The manufacture of the Ginny look-a-likes did not last very long. They were not very much competition for the original Ginny that remained America's Sweetheart™. Now back with her original home, Ginny is still as adorable and as popular today as she was in the 1950s.
"Scores of books and hundreds of articles have been written about Ginny" and Black Ginny has not been excluded. There have been store exclusive Ginnys, the most popular of which would be those made exclusively for Shirley's Dollhouse in Wheeling, Illinois.
What makes Ginny such a popular little girl are the various themes she represents and her enormous wardrobe with matching accessories! Ginny and her accessories can provide loads of redressing or vignette-creation fun for both the young and the young at heart. The possibilities for fun are endless!
While the Caucasian Ginny is probably the most popular amongst Ginny collectors, Black Ginny and the host of other ethnic and international Ginnys that have been created throughout the years are just as popular.
At this writing, 83 years have passed since the inception of The Vogue Doll Company and 54 years "since Ginny made her Toy Fair Debut... collectors still hail Ginny as one of the premier dolls of the twentieth century."
The quoted text above was obtained from the box of the 2004 Dress Me Ginny, pictured on the right.
1950s Ginny Look-alike, Pam redressed
1972 Africa Far Away Lands Ginny, 1986 African Contempo Ginny, 1990 Tropical Adventure Ginny
1977 Ginnette (a.k.a. Skinny Ginny) and two 1978 Ginny outfits
1986 Ginny in tagged Ginny dress
1986 Bride - Black Curls Ginny, 1991 Sweet Dreams Ginny, 1999 Roller Rink Ginny
Shirley's Dollhouse exclusive Ginnys: 1987 Ginny at the Beach, and 1989 Sunday's Best Boy and Girl Ginny
1988 and 2004 Dress Me Ginny
If you would like to haveThe Black Doll-E-Zine spotlight a specific doll for a future issue, or share a doll story of your own, please email Deb at email@example.com