Boudoir dolls were made around 1915 to the 1930s, dolls are also called bed or sofa dolls, Flapper or French dolls and were intended to decorate beds or sofas which is where they got their name. Boudoir dolls were not meant to be played with, but displayed, used as decorations and can be adult male or females.
Boudoir dolls heads can be of various materials all cloth, cloth with a mask face covering often of composition or all composition heads with painted facial features, dolls usually have cloth bodies with elongated legs, some have partial composition limbs or celluloid arms, which may help with dating the doll, heads were also sold separately so a seamstress could add their own homemade cloth body.
The roaring 20’s was a time of immense change for all society, particularly women who went to work outside the home in large numbers for the first time, to fill the void by men who went to war. Women’s clothing and lifestyles changed and boudoir dolls reflected the 1920s+ era. The clothing can be very elaborate, theatrical characters with high quality material, it’s the clothing that matters the most on these dolls – if the clothing is missing they lose about half of their value.
There is a lot of variety among boudoir dolls as they were produced by many different manufacturers in different countries, over many years notably in England, France, Germany, Italy and the USA. Boudoir dolls are usually unmarked – so finding a dolls origins can be a “mission impossible”, so dolls are usually identified as a type of Boudoir doll. We particularly get a kick out of the politically incorrect (today) Cubeb cigarette smoking dolls made by the Mutual Novelty Corporation.
List of Boudoir Doll Manufacturers
Stella Adler, Aladin-Lam, Ernst Alart, Alma, B. Altman department store, American Stuffed Novelty, American Wholesale Corp, Anita, Arrow Doll Wig Company, Au Bon Marche department store, Austin Gray, Baltimore Bargain House, Beaux Art Shade Company, William P. Beers & Company, Charles Bloom, Blossom Doll Company, Blum-Lustig Toy Company, Butler Brothers.
Calvaire Dolls the Only googly eye boudoir dolls we have ever seen, French, unique and very rare, Chad Valley, Hilda Cowham, Louis Eisen, W. R. Ekart, England Art Toy, Etta Inc., European Novelty, Fairfame, Flapper Novelty, Fleishman, Jane Gray, Gerbs Poupée, Arthur Gerling Toy Company, Gerzon Company, Charles F. Gibson, Goldberger (Eegee), Jane Gray (Stokes) Company; 1917 Kuddles boudoir doll, Heho Art Dolls, Hollywood Imps, J and B, Kat-a-Korner Kompany, Victor Keney (Keeneye patent 1763930, 1796997), Konroe Merchants.
Lady Godwyn, Lenci, Levallois, Mizpah Toy & Novelty, Claire Morris of LA, Munich Art Dolls, Mutual Novelty, Munzerlite chalk ware heads (art deco half dolls & lamp shades), Paramount Doll Company, Erma Petzgold, Pierrot and Pierette, Erma Pinner, Paul Poiret, Pollyanna Doll Company, Pompeian Art Works, Rosalinde dolls, Sanlys, Sayco, Sterling Doll Company, T. A. F., Unique Novelty Doll Company, Victoria Doll Company, Norah Wellings, Ethel Westwood and probably others.