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Made to Play House: Dolls and the Commercialization of American Girlhood, 1830-1930

Made to Play House: Dolls and the Commercialization of American Girlhood, 1830-1930 Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Dolls have long been perceived as symbols of domesticity, maternity, and materialism, designed by men and loved by girls who wanted to "play house". In this engagingly written and illustrated social history of the American doll industry, Miriam Formanek-Brunell shows that this has not always been the case. Drawing on a wide variety of contemporary sources - including popular magazines advertising, autobiographies, juvenile literature, patents, photographs, and the dolls themselves - Formanek-Brunell traces the history of the doll industry back to its beginnings, a time when American men, women, and girls each claimed the right to construct dolls and gender. Formanek-Brunell describes how dolls and doll play changed over time: antebellum rag dolls taught sewing skills; Gilded Age fashion dolls inculcated formal social rituals; Progressive Era dolls promoted health and active play; and the realistic baby dolls of the 1920s fostered girls' maternal impulses. She discusses how the aesthetic values and business methods of women dollmakers differed from those of their male counterpart, and she describes, for example, Martha Chase, who made America's first soft, sanitary cloth dolls, and Rose O'Neill, inventor of the kewpie doll. According to Formanek-Brunell, although American businessmen ultimately dominated the industry with dolls they marketed as symbols of an idealized feminine domesticity, business-women presented an alternative vision of gender for both girls and boys through a variety of dolls they manufactured themselves.

Book News Annotation:

Drawing on a wide variety of contemporary sources--including popular magazines, advertising, autobiographies, juvenile literature, patents, photographs, and the dolls themselves--Formanek-Brunell traces the history of the American doll industry back to its beginnings, showing how dolls and doll play changed over time, and drawing out the gender implications. Includes 56 b&w illustrations.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [189]-228) and index.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780300050721
Subtitle:
Dolls and the Commercialization of American Girlhood, 1830-1930
Author:
Formanek-Brunell, Miriam
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Location:
New Haven :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Dolls
Subject:
History
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Industries
Subject:
Social aspects
Subject:
Doll industry -- Social aspects -- United States -- History.
Subject:
Doll industry
Subject:
Industries - General
Subject:
Doll industry - Social aspects -
Subject:
Business Writing
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series Volume:
69
Publication Date:
19931229
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
248
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1.3 lb

Related Subjects

Business » General
Business » Management
Business » Writing
History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » 1800 to 1920
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

Made to Play House: Dolls and the Commercialization of American Girlhood, 1830-1930
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Product details 248 pages Yale University Press - English 9780300050721 Reviews:
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