Paper dolls have been around for hundreds of years but they were first manufactured for sale in the early 1810s. By the end of the 19th century, there were multiple companies around the country and world producing a wide variety of highly-detailed paper dolls. Many companies used color lithography to create dolls and clothing in vivid colors. These two-dimensional playthings were popular with children and adults alike because of their variety and details and because they were less expensive than cloth or porcelain dolls.
|Unmarked paper doll and dress, early 20th century|
|Lady Alice produced by Selchow and Righter|
|Lady Alice's outfits|
|Art & Decoration in Crepe & Tissue Paper booklet, 1896|
|Dennison's imported tissue paper samples inside booklet|
|Dennison paper doll with jointed arms and legs, 1890s|
|Two-piece crepe paper dress, 1890s|
|Green crepe paper dress, 1890s|
|Dennison paper doll in crepe paper dress, 1890s|
|Reverse of one of Grace's outfits|
One of the appeals of paper dolls was, and still is, that they could be easily be made at home. All a child needed was paper, a pencil, and a pair of scissors to create her own paper dolls.
|Homemade fashion paper doll and outfits, 1914|
|Homemade doll and clothing made with paper and pencil, c. 1910s|