Treasures: 1920’s flapper doll

Among the treasures my mother left me are some well-worn porcelain “flapper dolls”. She was born in 1925, so she must have played with them in the late 1920’s.

my mother, Mary Hartwell (Mavor), age 4

I can imagine my mother’s little girl hands grasping this doll, moving its arms up and down, and dressing and redressing its solid body until the paint wore off.

1920's flapper doll, 3" tall

Even these broken doll parts were saved for me to find 75 years after their useful toy life was over. They are in reserve, ready to contribute to some future piece of art. I cannot tell when or if a leg or arm section will ever be the “right” object to add and have to be careful not to let sentimentality guide my decisions.

porcelain doll parts

For now, it’s enough to have and enjoy my mother’s childhood treasures.

14 thoughts on “Treasures: 1920’s flapper doll

  1. I was recently bequeathed 3 large boxes of dolls and all their clothing (most handmade, and many in miniature), I’m still at a bit of a loss as to what to do with them…but like you, hoping that some day soon the “right” thing will just happen (artwork? doll museum? collectors??) I so enjoy your beautiful work! X

  2. Your mother was a REAL doll! What a wonderful photo!

    Perhaps your (talented) husband could make a memory box and you could put the photo in the box with her…maybe add a background with your embroidery or other objects that are meaningful to you. You are so lucky to have a photo like this.

    As for the doll parts, they look great as they are in the bowl. (They would also look great in a memory box in just that configuration!) Awfully hard not to be sentimental when you think of those sweet little hands holding her dolls.

  3. I still love the bobbed hair style that was so popular in the 20’s…and your mom looks adorable. Being a doll collector, I just happen to have the same one that you have from your mother’s collection. She sits on a shelf with a few others from the same era, most of which were made in Japan. I love thinking about what they may have experienced along the way, and who may have loved them as a child. It is always extra special to knowing that you own mother held them and cared for them, just like she did for you. Thank you again for thinking of us by bringing back some much loved childhood/toyland memories.

  4. So sweet. The doll looks coy, like she is on the verge of sharing fun secrets she had with your mom, but isn’t going to spill them. I wonder did you ever read “Hitty, Her First Hundred Years,” a doll’s first-person story? I found an old copy and gave it to my mom recently one Christmas, and it has become one of her favorite books.

  5. Oh, I love the doll, but also the adorable picture of your mother. Wasn’t she a living doll? Seems like this doll will defintely inspire a relief picture!!!

  6. I’ve never heard these dolls referred to as “flapper” dolls, but rather as Kewpies. Kewpies weren’t just nearly bald baby dolls…they came in all forms. I am also a doll collector going back to the age of eight, when my grandmother would bring me a doll from each country she and my grandpa had visited. I adore the sweet, innocent look of the blonde baby doll in the bowl of doll parts. She is not a Kewpie…they have a very distinctive big-eyed look. I think she may be worth restoring.

  7. I have a very similar Flapper doll. She is made in Japan and wears red shoes and a blue bucket style hat. I am curious of her value. Might you give me a ballpark?

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