The text below, object of our article and of Madam Jacqueline Brenner, the ancient member of  "Cercle Privé de la Poupée" ( private circle  of the doll ), today dissolved for lack of having found a new chair. Known well by the collectors of dolls, of the firm  Lelièvre, of all the small world of the doll, we think of her and it is a way for us to make you share the delicious memories which we shall keep for a long time of her.

Madam Brenner left us the february ten, covered with flowers by her friends in the cathedral of Dourdan where she finished her days, surrounded with numerous friends make her a last tribute. We thought of making it also by publishing this study which she had conceived for us in 2000 december.

April 23rd, 1928 at 9 am in the evening, to Santa Monica ( California) came to the couple TEMPLE, adorable one girl when we named SHIRLEY. Her mom had hesitated between Shirley and Dimples because already two small dimples took shape in the small plump cheeks!

From the age of three years, seeing her capacities for the dance, her mom drove herto Ethel MEGLIN's dancing school where during two and a half years she learnt any sorts of dances.

The end of 1931,she was chosen among two hundred children to turn the

 She had a lot of success and soon turned numerous movies... She had become the whooping idol of Hollywood. In 1935, 36, 37 and 38 Shirley Temple was number 1 in the Cubicle Service Office. No child was ever able to compete with her; she was known and liked all over the world.

During this big period of depression, her movies beat records of entrances, exceeding even the movies of King at that time in Hollywood, Clark Gable. She received a miniature Oscar for all her movies of 1934.

 Even President Roosevelt says a day: " It is really magnificent that for just 15 cents any American can go to the cinema to see smiling little face of a baby and to forget his concerns. As long as we shall have Shirley Temple, everything will be well !  "

First dolls

Seeing the success of this girl, the American firm " Ideal Corp Toy " in Brooklyn ( State of New York ), decided to make dolls Shirley Temple and manages
 to have the exclusivité of it.

The  first one  weber delivered just in time for Christmas 1934. Lippert Bernard, sculptured a wax head according to which we made moulds used for the realization of heads in composition with wood filler. Eyes were glass, hazelnut, blues, or green with real lashes at the top and lashes were painted in the bottom. Most were the sleepers and some of its    roguished "

They  had the mouth opened with six teeths and a tongue , obviously, two girls simples.

Wigs were in fair mohair with  big ringlets and all had a ribbon matched with the dresse.

Dresses, them, were drawn by MOLLYE GOLDMAN  who worked for the firm IDEAL since 1928. Famous creator of dresses of dolls, the
se were most of the time carrier 
by Shirley Temple in her movies.
Clothes weber almost all marked
 " Genuine Shi
rley Temple DolReg US Pat-Ideal Novelty "
" Toyco-made in the USA. "

In spite of their high price: 3,79 for a 38 cm doll (in this period we could feed a family of 4 persons during a week with such a nap ! ), these dolls had such a success as the firm "IDÉAL" was completely submerged by commands which arrived from all the countries, had to increase its staff and turn to the other companies to help them in the manufacturing.

 These dolls were not perfectly resembling but they had a lot of charm and by seeing them we wanted t
o smile.

 Every American girl wanted " her " doll Shirley Temple; even the quintuplet DIONNE of Canad
a had each their property that Madam Alexander made dolls the representatives.


One of the first commercials for dolls Shirley Temple was in the Christmas catalog 1934 Grand Store "SEARS" New York. It explains that:

" The Shirley Temple doll is well with her adorable dimples, curly hair and also wearing the same dress that she wore in one of her films, an organdy dress, studded with red polka dots, green or blue, she wears pretty Below, shoes, socks and a bow in her hair, her eyes look like glass but are unbreakable with real eyelashes and has a smiling mouth shopping her pretty little teeth, curly hair the same color as those of Shirley and is unbreakable in composition and can move her head, arms and legs and can stand up and sleep

Attached to the doll, there are a favorite photo of Shirley and Shirley Temple as a pi. As always, SEARS is first for news. It is the only selling the dolls Shirley Temple Mail .

These dolls were manufactured from 1934 to 1939 in twelve different sizes ranging from 23 to 69 cm. The head and body composition were marked "Shirley Temple" plus size.

For some dolls clothes were also marked "Genuine Shirley Temple Doll-Reg US-PAT-OFF-Ideal Novelty & Toy Co. made in USA"

Each doll was sold in a box decorated with the picture of the little Shirley and inside there was also her photograph with her signature. Later there were also curlers to keep the curls in good shape.

Dolls were wrapped in the pink or white tissue paper and those who had to travel rather far had the head surrounded with a cardboard to avoid that they move.

Every doll wore, hung on its clothes, a round brooch in pink or beige cellulo with Shirley's head around which we could read:
 " The world Darling, génuine Shirley Temple, the Ideal Year Doll "
or simply:
 " The world Darling Genuine Shirley Temple Doll ".

Two different photos were used for these brooches, but the most spread represented Shirley with the index of the left hand raised against her cheek.

 Brooches distributed to the members of the Shirley Temple in Paris  were different. There was only the head in close-up and the mention: " My friend Shirley Temple ".

 These brooches were made by Cie Whitehead and Hoang de Newark (New Jersey) and Cellomet Products Co  of New York city.


At the end of 1935, the Shirley Temple Babies were also made in six different sizes going from 36 to 68 and a half cms. The hair of these babies were modelled, or sometimes, a wig in mohair curled was stuck on the molded hair. They had the head and the members in composition and a cloth body filled with a voice sewn inside the breast.
 Some had roguish eyes.
 These babies must be made in much smaller quantity because they are very difficult to find and, therefore, very expensive. It is necessary to count approximately 10.000 F or 1.500 €

Change of mould

More than six millions dolls Shirley Temple weber sold in six years for an amount never reached for some dolls or toy whether it is. At the beginning of IDEAL 1936, the firm made a new mould. In fact the first moulds had so served that they were completely used. These new dolls had a more round head with a more clear complexion, a higher forehead; the superior eyelids weber yes shadowed; the more marked eyebrows and the lashes of bottom more darkened. Cheeks were more colored as well as wrists and knees.

The wig always in mohair had also a little changed with the line
a little more in the middle.

Incredible! Every evening, her mother made her a shampoo with some soap which she rinsed with some water with vinegar and then Oh! Horror! she put in fifty sixt small curlers! We wonder how she could sleep with all this on the head.

To return to dolls , although the IDEAL firm had the exclusivity of the manufacturing of dolls Shirley Temple, many of the other jealous manufacturers of this success, tried to copy them, in particular the Alexander Doll Cie and Horse Man in 1936. These imitations are easy to recognize because they do not wear Shirley Temple's name and facesare much less meaning. In particular, eyes are in metal instead of being glass.

As they cannot use the name of the young star, these appeared in shops next to the real dolls and we gave them names as " Brilliant Star ", " Charming Beauty ", " Beauty Cinema " or " The Queen of Cinema "...

        Around Shirley Temple

Clothes for dolls Shirley Temple was sold to part and wore all a label "Shirley Temple". Nowadays, we find rather often these clothes on Shirley Temple's imitations.

 There were the other copies in particular in 1936, a mechanical Shirley Temple playing the organ, the other which danced on a foot.

In Japan, several dolls were sold but without any report with dolls "IDEAL". There was one in cellulo, one in composition and in 1936, a rather cute girl with the porcelain head and
 the body in composition (23 cms).

 We also find a Hawaiian Shirley Temple in brown composition with cotton dark hair training of very long English, brown painted eyes looking of the right-hand side.

Dolls cloth Shirley Temple was made in the U.S.A. in particular by

 Others, in composition, were made in England and in Germany. In Canada, "Reliable Dolls Cy" (a subsidiary of the Company IDEAL) made dolls which look like those realized by IDEAL in the U.S.A a lot... They wore a big cardboard round label with Shirley Temple's photo, but not that with raised finger.

 Certain dolls were sold in suitcases with to the right  thé doll and on the left  clothes suspended in a closet with one or two drawers under the closet.

To walk dolls, especially babies the firm " Whitney Carriage Co, Leominster, Mass " made in 1935 the magnificent baby carriages of two sorts: a wicker with a tip-up but not folding hood, and, other, more classic, wooden with a folding hood, as most of the baby carriages.

In both cases Shirley Temple's photo was stuck in the middle of each of the sides and also in front of for the wooden baby carriages.

The firm " Idéal " thus made these dolls in composition from 1934 till 1939 and then it stopped the sale. Bodies remaining, although marked "Shirley Temple", was used for the manufacturing of new baptized dolls "Cinderella"! Eighteen years after the stop of the manufacturing of dolls, further to the projection of movies of the young star on the television and on the broadcasts which this one made on N.B.C., the firm " Idéal " decided to redo dolls Shirley Temple,
but this time in vinyl. 

Television programs were called: " The book of Shirley Temple's tales ". They lasted until December 21st, 1958

These series showed adaptations of children's stories such as: Cinderella, the Sleeping Beauty etc. And these new dolls in vinyl were dressed with suits of the characters of the tales and also with costumes of her movies.

Dolls in vinyl, plastic and china continued to be made of the 50s in our days, but nothing to do with the attractive dolls of the thirties.

The first ones in vinyl, although little resembling, were rather fresh and pleasant to look; but then, for some, we can believe with difficulty that they are made by the same firm " Idéal ", which makes a success so well of its first dolls.

But apparently the collectors and the children did not show themselves too difficult because hundreds of thousands of these dolls were very quickly sold. 

To my knowledge no doll had a life expectancy so long because created in 1934 it continues to be nowadays made.


Jacqueline BRENNER

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Décember 2000

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