Old Dolls

Seems like we are always going through old dolls or old baby clothes or something and we did that again today. This time it wasn’t dolls from the older sisters, but mine. I had a bunch of old dolls that had been up in the attic for years. I decided today was the day they would come down and get thrown away or given away. Of course, the kids didn’t want to let a single one go. They had a lot of fun going through them and cleaning them off — they were a mess, as they had been in the attic for years and years. They did not look very good, but that mattered not at all to the kids. 
Even Luke wanted to get into this and see the dolls. Some of these dolls I don’t even remember. Maybe they aren’t mine and got stuck in this bed in the attic somehow.


I have no idea where this next doll actually came from, but it was given to me when I was probably around 10 years old. It was very old then and kind of chipped and cracked. I took pride in the fact that I never broke it as it is so fragile. I don’t remember what I named her — I actually only remember calling her “China Doll”. I can’t believe it is still around and it has to be a very old doll. Her eyes won’t open anymore. I think they did the last time I remember playing with her but something happened in all those years she has been in the attic. I actually had one other doll that was similar to this one and I took both of them outside and played with them all the time and never once dropped them — though they did probably get some small chips on them. Don’t know where the other one went. 


We spent probably a couple of hours cleaning up the dolls before my daughter came over with my grandkids. Then we went out to enjoy the beautiful weather. 




  1. More – the doll in the second photo looks like "My Beautiful Baby" from the early 1990s, and the dark-headed baby beside your compo. doll looks like a Pleasant Company baby doll. Your compo doll might be marked with the maker's name or symbol on the back of her neck or on her upper back. Effanbee, Madame Alexander, and Arranbee all made this type of realistic baby doll, as did some other American doll companies.

    Glad you freed the babies from the attic!

    Susan in Kentucky, again…

  2. Doll collector here! Your oldest doll is made of composition, not china, and probably dates to the 1930s. Try using a pencil eraser to very gently "persuade" her eyes to open. Do not use water to clean her – there are special concoctions that work well for compo. dolls but they need to be specially ordered. If you can, keep her out of the attic – extremes of temperature can make the cracking worse, as the surface and what lies underneath expand and contract at different rates. A closet in the heated/air conditioned part of your house would be fine.

    The other babies look like vinyl. They can be cleaned with soap and water, but be careful not to get water inside. If their eyes look cloudy, use a hair dryer on high, aimed directly at the eyes for about five minutes to melt the white moldy substance so you can wipe it off with a tissue and restore the brightness. For their messy hair, comb out all the tangles you can with a broad-toothed comb first, then saturate the hair with Windex or any blue glass cleaner. Let it soak in, then blot it up with paper towels, moving down the hair as you work. Get it to the damp stage, then comb it again and let it dry. This should restore the softness and shine and counter dryness. Some collectors use liquid fabric softener similarly, but I prefer Windex.

    Your dolls are not in bad shape – they've just had a lot of loving! It looks as if your daughters are ready to provide more hugs and cuddles and playtime, so clean 'em up (the dolls, not the daughters) and have fun playing dolls!

    Susan in Kentucky, who wrote you about dollhouse wallpaper a year or so ago

  3. Thanks so much. I was wondering how we could get the eyes open on our doll. I was afraid I would push her eyes back into her head. I will try what you said . Bethany loves this doll and chose her to be her own. I did let them pick a doll each.

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