A scrapbook of whatever I'm making, collecting, or just obsessing about
at the moment.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lost childhood paper dolls recovered. Part One: Hilda Miloche dolls

It was at a school "fun night" in my third grade year when I found these paper dolls in the jumble sale, tucked in an old lidless shoe box and priced at twenty-five cents. I loved them at once: they were so sturdy and stood so straight, their clothes were so beautiful and complete with accessories! They had pinafores, school dresses, party dresses, long formals, swimming suits, play clothes, snow suits, and dress coats--four of each, one for each girl--with hats to match. I offered up my twenty-five cents and bore them away, along with a hosiery box full of Betsy McCall paper dolls cut out of the McCalls magazine by someone's diligent fingers. 

Dolls were sold separately; still need the "Lois" one.
The fun night was a lovely time for me with my fistful of tickets. At the buttons booth I paid four tickets for one that said "Kiss me--I'm Irish!" A mysterious person named "Pat" was there, running around and buying bunches of buttons that she pinned to the front of her pencil skirt. I wondered how she could move so fast with high heels on. When she ran out of tickets, she'd work at a booth for awhile and get some more--apparently she had her own notion of what "taking tickets" meant.  The booth ran out of  "Kiss Me--I'm Irish" buttons and Pat really wanted mine--she offered to trade me any of the ones on her skirt for it, but I declined. (Though later, when Mr. Veltman at the grocery store lowered his giant face down to my level and offered to kiss me, I wished I'd let her have it.)
Best of all,  my beloved teacher Miss Rolph was there too, presiding over the ring toss game, and wearing the outfit that I loved best, her McLeod tartan circle skirt and black turtleneck. She looked like she was having a marvelous time too, calling people to come play the game, cheering and laughing and the pretty skirt swirling around her. I showed her my new paper dolls and she admired them.

All my paper dolls disappeared when we moved from Grand Rapids to McBain. My mother assumed that I had outgrown them and she was right--sort of. By the time I had my own house and my own daughter I was nostalgic for them and began to pick up duplicates wherever they could be found. I've searched for this set many years! Sometimes one doll or two would turn up online, and they were even reproduced on quilting fabric, but I kept searching for the whole set.

Then last week I was poking about on etsy, and there they were--all the same four, and all their cut-outs right down to the baby doll carriage, even the round plastic stands! So now they are mine for a while, for me to be a good steward of, and then they will pass to some other collector. Might not be someone who remembers them from childhood, but they'll find someone to charm.

I'm looking for you, Lois!

Notice the tape along the bottom of the figures. I believe that was put there--very neatly--to make the doll just a little more secure in the plastic stand.

The paper doll artist is Hilda Miloche, who also did "The Paper Doll Wedding" and whose work can be found all over the Internet if you search for it--there are many beautiful images of her work, and you can see a family resemblance in her various dolls.


Nonna Sue said...

i remember these as well. I loved playing with my paper dolls. There were so many wonderful clothes and accessories. My girlfriend and I spent hours at it! Thanks for sharing!

Tricks and Manners said...

Thanks for visiting, Nonna Sue! I'm glad these could bring back happy memories for you!

brenda said...

do you know if there were actual dolls made of miloche's paper dolls? i believe i have seen one,marked dot and peg on its back, is that something you remember?

Tricks and Manners said...

Wow--I've never seen one, but it would be fantastic if they actually exist! I will keep an eye out for them. Good clue--to look for ones marked dot and peg! Thanks, Brenda!