Friday, May 12, 2017

Miscellaneous – but where to start?

Life continues difficult.

Today is, I am told, the 80th anniversary of the coronation of George VI, the Queen’s father. I was coming up to my fourth birthday, and don’t remember the occasion. My husband, rather closer to the scene, would have been 12 ½, but claims equally to have no memory of the event.

In those days, we had paper doll books. I hope someone else remembers. The outside covers were cardboard, from which characters of one sort or another were to be punched out – is that right? The inside pages were paper, from which we cut out clothes to dress the characters in. There were tabs on the shoulders of the clothes and, when appropriate, elsewhere, to secure the clothes to the characters.

I had such a book for the Coronation. The King, the Queen, presumably the little Princesses. After the pages with their Coronation clothes, did we have pages of soberer clothes for them to have tea in, later in the day? I think we did. I wonder if an un-cut version of that paper doll book survives.

I also remember having such a book for the Quiz Kids, a radio program by which I was obsessed. I was in love (sight unseen) with Richard Williams of East Chicago, Indiana. 

Next: Helen says that her new website (address in sidebar) has had a gratifying input of viewings from here. Thanks, guys!


I have advanced well with the Polliwog – I really, really will take a pic for you tomorrow. I’ve finished the initial stripy bit and have embarked on the ribbing above.

I continue to enjoy Andrew & Andrea. I have reached Episode Six, when Andrea tells us that she has started knitting Marie Wallin’s “Lovage” pattern for their daughter. I think I will have to send out a general alert to sister, daughters, daughters-in-law, and granddaughters asking if anyone knows anyone who might actually wear it. It would clearly be enormously fun to knit.

Tamar (comment yesterday), brilliant as always: knit something like my swatch-scarf to discover whether I can discover a rhythm to Starmore’s Stillwater pattern. I notice, in the book, however, that somebody – and it could only be me – has struck out all 58 rows of the charted pattern repeat. Theresa, if you got to the underarm steek, you did better than I did. But it doesn’t auger well for a second try. 


  1. Oh I loved paper dolls. I had a set from the Smithsonian of First Lady inaugural gowns, as I recall, among others. There were lots of Bride paper dolls, too. My best friend and I would design outfits for them and color them in.

  2. How I loved my paper dolls too. I don't remember anything as exciting as the coronation ones - could they perhaps have been produced by Dover pulishers? They still do a wonderful range, of which I bought a few, in my bookshop days, but, being a rotten Mother, would not allow my chidren to cut out.
    At one stage, "Rice Krispies" breakfast cereal had a series of dolls on the packet back - national costumes from around the world. I ate a lot of the cereal which I really didn't like!

  3. I had paper dolls of all kinds throughout my childhood. Dover still prints paper dolls and even had paper dolls of the pope, last time I looked.

  4. Anonymous3:45 AM

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  5. Anonymous3:48 AM

    We had paper dolls but in Canada we called them "cut-outs". I remember movie stars but none for royals - for those, many girls around my age (10) created a scrapbook of newspaper & magazine photos in a "scrapbook of the queen" when she and Prince Philip visited in 1959. Maybe there were cutouts - certainly, I think, little commemorative booklets - for more urban and/or prosperous kids.

  6. Anonymous7:23 AM

    Search Google for paper dolls images for a nostalgia kick. Loved my own paper dolls, and my sister and I also used to cut our own from catalgues and have whole schools filled with them.

  7. Anonymous11:32 AM

    So funny about the Rice Krispies. I remember playing eagerly with paper dolls (maybe McCalls?) in my early childhood and then television came along... Chloe

  8. My mother (born in Canada in 1919 to British emigré parents) told me about the paper dolls from books that she had as a child. She said she would make more outfits for them by coloring and cutting out paper with tabs, in order to vary their outfits. Later when she was a teenager growing up in Santa Ana, California, she made her own clothes (and later in life, too. She branched into millinery in the 50s and made her own hats as well. Sadly she never taught me to sew or cook, she had no patience or love for children in general, and me in particular.

  9. I loved my paper dolls too. I have the most pleasant memories of the Betsy McCall dolls in the McCalls magazine. Since the doll was on magazine paper my older brother would paste the doll to cardboard and carefully cut it out for me. Remarkable because he was 12 years older so he would have been 16 or 17 at the time.
    I also got to choose a new "cut out book" each time we went to town. They were usually the popular movie actresses of the time. I can remember having a Gale Storm and a Debbie Reynolds.

  10. I loved playing with paper dolls, too. BTW: Helen's website is well done - I enjoyed going through it.

  11. Paper dolls were the only dolls I enjoyed playing with. Otherwise, I was always cuddling something furry.