Bring back some good or bad memories


May 8, 2022

Marybel, the Doll That Gets Well by Madame Alexander, 1959

The daughter of Russian immigrants, Beatrice Alexander was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 9, 1895. She was raised over her father’s doll hospital – the first in America – and often played with the dolls waiting to be mended. Her belief in the American dream, combined with her love of dolls and their costumes, led her to start her own doll company when she was 28 years old in 1923. Within a few years she had moved her business from the kitchen table to a downtown New York City studio, later relocating to its present day headquarters in the Manhattanville section of Harlem.

In 1959, Madame Alexander created Marybel, “the Doll Who Gets Well,” as a friend for little girls afflicted with a myriad of malaise. Marybel’s rosy cheeks, delightful curls and amber “sleep eyes” (which Alexander invented in the 1940s) barely hinted at the hypochondriac heaven contained within the doll’s deluxe box set. The doll, like many Madame Alexander dolls, could serve important emotional and educational purposes, teaching a child about caring for others or acting as a helpful companion to one struggling with an illness.

Although she had a limp, Marybel was no gimp. She stood proudly at 16 inches tall and came with an unusual endorsement for toys of the day: “Approved by leading pediatricians and psychotherapists.” Marybel’s accessories included crutches, slippers, leg and arm casts, (kinda hip) glasses, Johnson & Johnson-branded sterile scale bandages and “spots to simulate measles and chicken pox.” At the time of her release, she sold for $12.95.








(via Jeremyriad)




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