Madame Beatrice Alexander Behrman came by her love of dolls naturally – her Russian-immigrant father opened the first doll hospital in America! To help make ends meet, she and her sisters created and sold cloth dolls based on World War 1 Red Cross nurses, and from there, she created the Alexander Doll Company in 1928.
In the years that followed, Madame Alexander made doll history many times over. Among her accomplishments: creating the first dolls based on licensed characters, First Ladies and living people; inventing the “sleep eyes” mechanism that make dolls’ eyes close; making the first-ever line of patriotic dolls; using hard plastic in doll manufacturing; and creating the first full-figured heel-wearing fashion doll (several years before Barbie hit the market!).
Beatrice Alexander passed away in 1990, but her company lives on, and her dolls are still delighting young and old alike. Among the fans are such well-known collectors as Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand, Tori Spelling and Britney Spears.
In honor of Madame Alexander’s 90th anniversary, here are some of the company’s most popular creations based on books and movies. Do you have any of them in your collection?
To learn more about Madame Alexander, visit the official website.
Happy 90th Anniversary, Madame Alexander! 1 of 17
Scarlett O’Hara 2 of 17
Fiddle-dee-dee! This Scarlett doll came out in time for the 75th anniversary of Gone With the Wind. Also included in the series: Scarlett in her white ruffled prayer dress and in her fancy honeymoon outfit.
Alice in Wonderland 3 of 17
In 1930, Madame Alexander became the first dollmaker to issue a doll based on a licensed character - Alice. This recent edition gives the young Wonderland visitor a change from her usual blue dress.
Snow White 4 of 17
This edition of the Disney character truly is the "fairest of them all."
Cinderella 5 of 17
Painstaking details like gold embroidery, a taffeta underskirt and even pantyhose are what set Madame Alexander dolls apart from the rest.
Sleeping Beauty 6 of 17
The bodice of Aurora's dress laces up the back. Accessories include white satin pumps with clear heels, a gold necklace and crown.
The Wicked Witch of the West 7 of 17
The series based on the original Wizard of Oz wouldn't be complete without everyone's favorite evil sorceress. She even comes with three flying monkeys!
Dorothy 8 of 17
Ruby slippers included, of course! Dorothy also comes with three poppy dolls.
Goldilocks 9 of 17
You might not want to feed this collectible doll porridge or take her to bed with you, but she makes an adorable addition to a curio shelf.
Evanora 10 of 17
One of Madame Alexander's most recent series features the hero and sorceresses of Oz the Great and Powerful.
Jo March 11 of 17
The irrepressible Jo is one of the most beloved characters in literature. This Madame Alexander Little Women series centers on "Meg's Summer Wedding."
Annie 12 of 17
This cloth doll was released in honor of the hit revival of the Broadway musical. Were collectors excited? Bet your bottom dollar!
Periwinkle 13 of 17
This pretty new doll in the Disney line is Tinker Bell's twin sister!
Angelina Ballerina 14 of 17
Madame Alexander has made a number of dolls based on contemporary girls' books. Among them: everyone's favorite mouse ballerina.
Fancy Nancy 15 of 17
Ooh la la! Nancy Clancy never met a frill she didn't like. This Madame Alexander doll even comes with a doll of her own - Marabelle Lavinia Chandelier.
Pinkalicious 16 of 17
In Pinkalicious's view, you can never have too much pink.
Madame Alexander 17 of 17
To honor the 90th anniversary of Madame Alexander, the company has produced a doll based on Beatrice Alexander herself!
[Photos: courtesy Madame Alexander/Sally Fischer PR]