THE ELEGANCE OF EFFANBEE

THE ELEGANCE OF EFFANBEE

PRESENTED BY BEV

A lot of the following program is aided by information from a book written by a very lovely and gracious lady that once had a whole set of the 14" replica dolls shown here. She wrote a book along with her husband showing photos of all 30 of her dolls. Sadly, she passed away a couple of years ago and I dedicate this program to her. She assisted me in aquiring a few of my own collection. Thank you Nancy and Dave Carlson.

The following are the loveliest American Composition dolls made, depicting the history of American Fashion. In 1939 Effanbee presented a unique and unprecedented package of fashion dolls. The series consisted of 30 14" composition dolls which were authentically dressed in styles worn by ladies of historical periods from 1492 until 1939.

Advertisements stated that these dolls were conceived to make American history alive to children. In addition to the 14" dolls, Dewees Cochran designed that were not for sale to be placed on exhibit in beautiful gowns, from which the dresses of the smaller dolls were copied. Three sets of the 30 Exhibition dolls were made to tour the country, visiting toy departments of department stores across the country.  The exhibition dolls were dressed the finest materials, silk, satin, taffeta, brocade and lace. these dolls were created at a cost of over $10,000 for each set.

The smaller dolls, replicas as they have become known, wore beautifully made cotton fabrics so they would be affordable to the doll buyer. These replicas sold for $4.98 which was a bit high for 1939. Each of these dolls has painted (decal) eyes and human hair wigs. Only a very slight crazing shows up on one or two of the dolls in my collection. The dolls pictured with a blue background are copied from the book and the others are mine. I apologize for the fact that my dolls are a bit wrinkled. I have them packed in tissue and put away while I am in this two state residence mode. The replica dolls all have the same shoes tho in different colors, long cotton slips and pantaloons. They also have white rayon long stockings held up to the leg with tape, similar to bandage tape, double stick, one side to the inside of the stockings and sadly, the other to the composition paint on the upper leg. The shoes look like this;

The ninety Exhibition dolls were offered for sale in 1941 and today remain scattered across the country in private collections. The following photos are either from my personal collection of dolls, or photos copied from Nancy's book. The first doll is the "PRIMITIVE INDIAN, 1492. She wears white shorts and leg and arm bands and is barefooted.

The earliest permanent settlement in America was "ST AUGUSTINE SETTLEMENT" Florida in 1565. This full dress and black mantilla was typical of that era.

Here is the evolution of the "Indian 1607" Dress from simple to more complete costume complete with decorative beads and braided hair.

In 1608, in the "VIRGINIA COLONY", this may have been a typical dress worn by the first English women in the Americas.

The "PLYMOUTH COLONY", 1620...somber colors, stern outlook on life, these were the Pilgrims.

Closely following the fashions from France, the "NEW YORK SETTLEMENT 1625" ladies wore bright colors, low bodices and lace and braid.

Here is a typical dress worn during the reign of Charles I. Notice the beauty patch. This is "1632 Maryland Colony"

"1658 CAROLINA SETTLEMENT". The court dress of this period was brought to America by wealthy women, reveals beautiful materials, brocades and lace. The trim  is actually gold that has tarnished.

In "1866 Massachusetts Bay Colony" the ladies wore gay colors, rich trims and bright petticoats which were revealed by looping back the hem of the dress

The Quakers chose simple clothing with grave and dull colors. Green aprons were almost a badge of the Quaker faith, "1682 QUAKER COLONY" Notice the grey wig on this doll. It is worn in a bun in the back.

By "1685, LATER CAROLINA SETTLEMENT" they surrounded themselves with comforts and luxuries unknown to the firstcomers. The ladies wore long dresses with the skirts looped over brightly colored petticoats trimmed with lace.

"1711 COLONIAL PROSPERITY" Agriculture was thriving. Fashion was of Primary importance. Hoops were introduced and patches were worn to signify one's political leanings. Those of Whig tendency wore them on the left side of the face and Tory Sympathizers wore them on the right.

By "1720 THE PIONEER AMERICAN SPIRIT" people had begun moving west, losing touch with the seaboard colonies which were so much like the mother countries. This dress reveals the elaborate prints of the era.

Two of the most influencial men of this era, "1740 BENJAMIN FRANKLINS INFLUENCE' and Jonathan Edwards. Mr. Edwards was a Puritan and Franklin contrast with a liberal outlook. The costumes were influenced a great deal by these two men.

"1750 THE DEVELOPMENT OF CULTURE". Reading became fashionable and newspapers began to flourish and the post office had begun to charge a fee for carrying them. The dress worn during this period is in keeping with the rising liberal development.

 


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