This year, this memorable, completely extraordinary exhibition by its importance and its magnificence reserved, as it was necessary, one "  Crystal pavilion " in our dolls and French toys. But as you know, the S.F.B.J. created the previous year in 1899, had realized the fusion of a lot of big signatures of the manufacturers of which Jumeau, Bru, Steiner, Gaultier and many of the others.

A hobbyhorse intended better to fight, union making force, against the invasion of German dolls and  toys flooding the world market and notably French for very competitive prices

Moreover the 1-st floor of the German Section of " L'Esplanade des Invalides " was occupied by a very prosperous industry besides the Rhine: those of Toys and Dolls. The big center was Nuremberg and Furth - for Bavaria - and Sonneberg for Thuringia.

But there were so well still French dolls which always lived under the prestigious name of their creators, rests of an enormous stock naturally, still magnificent dolls in all respects but still not engraved with the signature of the S.F.B.J. So, on any account new in 1900.

The organizers of the Exhibition asked Mister Léo Clarétie who, with his wife , collected toys and dolls, to make a presentation of the most beautiful of them, some very former having " toys " only the name, real treasures.

 Mister Henri d'Allemagne, whose personal collection was completely extraordinary, authorized the loan of a good many of them, unique and priceless details ( this collection was regrettably ventilated as we were said to me during the 70s to Drouot, in the general indifference and to absurdly low prices..... so goes the life of a work of eminent researcher ......)

 It is not so necessary to amaze us that newspapers and magazines of time, as notably " Illustration " or still " Le Journal de la Jeunesse ", tell us story and redo the historic of certain toys or dolls of the XVII or XVIII èmes centuries and even of front, the Middle Age, Rome or Athens. .

 Fabulous stories, objects of one immense wealth, of an exaggerated cost, a magnificent taste, intended for the royal children or for those of the ladies of the yard to whom they were often offered as born presents, what allowed in delivered, often very young - the princesses were married very early - to take advantage of it also, more, maybe, than of their own newborn child, heir quickly put down between exlosses hands  of a nurse of good name.

Why to have chosen past ? Probably and naturally because the French doll was dying to have been too expensive, inequitably inaccessible too beautiful, too rich, with the very big majority of the children and their families.

" La Poupée Modèle " and its charming mignonnette began they also to weaken. Besides that they were expensive they as well and as a good part of called mignonnettes were Simon and Halbig of Germanic origin, this subscription addressed even there a fortunate elite, highly bourgeois in which the linen maid could help small incompetent hands or substitute themselves for them, the  very small clothes being disheartening of difficulties.!

This does not mean that the accessible French toy, the toy to play, did not exist.

 It was mostly a toy of sour wood or in composition, made in Province, Auvergne or in Jura. And then the poupards about which we have already spoken to you, which the children could drop without danger or be lying  behind them by a hand on the pavement or in the close trench.

A lot of simple, cheap, resistant, solid, brief charm little deserving of a World Fair of this importance.  


The very beautiful, too beautiful dolls had lived and had become, rightly, extraordinary rooms of museum or collections deprived prestigious.

Poupendol looked for a long time for contemporary documents of this very prestigious Exhibition.

 Finally, besides the article of the " Journal de la Jeunesse " which was the object of the 43 ème communication of April 19, 1999 of the Circle Deprived of the Doll, it had the chance of power to get itself the special album of the Illustration on this remarkable demonstration. The images which you see are extracted besides from this article.

                                                  Hélène BUGAT-PUJOL


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