Discover the new website of the Paris Musée de la Poupée by clicking www.museedelapoupeeparis.com
musée poupée paris
October 4, 2005 to January 15, 2006



Poster of the exhibit
Bye-bye baby :
baby and newborn dolls,
1855-2005


•••• Glossary of terms ••••


• Baby doll :

a doll representing a baby small enough for a craddle.
Raynal baby with a cloth body and rhodoid head

• Chubby baby :

a semi-articulated doll made of papier maché, celluloïd or wood, representing a little child.
Papier maché chubby baby

• Bathing baby :

baby doll made of a waterproof material, china during the 19th century, celluloid in the 20th century, and finally rubber and plastic material.
Celluloid bathing baby

• Newborn :

a baby doll made in the image of a baby under a month old.
Newborn made of plastic material

• Character baby :

a doll resembling a little child with a very expressive face introduced in 1909.
Character baby made of bisque

• Bébé :

the term used in France from the 1870's for a doll depicting a 3 to 12 year old child.
Bébé Petit & Dumoutier with a bisque head

Baby made of plastic by Miel de Abeja



•••• Baby dolls, bathing babies and newborn babies : origins and evolutions ••••

As early as the 19th century, doll makers had begun to produce dolls to represent the newborn child. Some used poured wax, others papier maché coated with wax, china, bisque, or composition.

Papier maché covered with wax baby

China baby

Bisque triple face baby

Composition baby


From the ordinary chubby baby in papier maché to the sweet wriggling baby by Jules Nicolas Steiner, the dolls that depicted the small child enriched the already diversified range of play dolls.

Chubby baby made of wood

Chubby baby made of celluloid

Steiner wriggling baby


A new generation of babies appeared on the market in 1909. The dolls were referred to as « character babies » or « babies with characterized faces ». They had expressive features and the proportions a very young child or even newborn with a body with bent limbs. SFBJ produced molds called « sulky», « sucker», or « crier » with a bisque or unbreakable head on an articulated body made of wood and composition. Children wanted to play mother, imitating their nurses or mommies and no longer identified with the dolls called « bébé », the idealized model of behaviour.

crier mould,SFBJ

sulky mould, SFBJ


New materials such as cloth, composition, celluloid began to compete with bisque in the 1920s. A new type appeared on the market. A « baby doll » with a soft cloth body representing the newborn with a head with molded hair and living eyes, so called because they glance from side to side.

Raynal baby with rhodoid head and cloth body

Lenci baby


The celluloid and plastic « bathing baby’s » success was due to the fact that the doll was light weight, manageable, and could be bathed. With the plastic material, the sexed babies appeared and the dolls became more realistic with normal baby bodily functions : they could cry, talk, move, drink, eat, and wet.

Petitcollin catalog

Petitcollin catalog

Petitcollin celluloid baby

SNF catalog

SNF catalog

SNF celluloid baby

Petitcollin catalog

Capricieuse by Raynal

Cloth baby by Manhattan Toys

Petit calin plastic baby by Petitcollin

Naco baby by Miel de Abeja

Dy Dee baby by Effanbee


Beyond the imitation games, these baby dolls had an educational value : to show little girls their future role by teaching them to mother, change diapers, bathe, feed, take for a walk, and rock their babies.

Many accessories were produced to enhance this lesson. Baby carriages, bed cradles, baby-walkers, high chairs, rattles, feeding bottles, and tea sets were the miniature versions of everyday objects used at that time.

Printemps catalog

High chair, Printemps catalog

Wheel horse, Printemps catalog

Babies in their bath, petitcollin catalog

Rattles, SNF catalog

Rattles, Petitcollin catalog

Celluloid baby in its carriage


Finally children’s fashion reflected the wardrobe of these babies with swaddling clothes, baby wear made of cloth or knitted material, and baptism outfits traditionally pink for girls and blue for boys. 

These outfits could be purchased ready-made but many children’s magazines published patterns for the little girls to make their own clothes for their babies.

Baby wear, drawing by Jacqueline Duché

Pattern for Michel, "Modes & Travaux" magazine

Pattern in "Mon ouvrage" magazine



•••• A charming exhibit ••••

Drawing by Jane M. Dealy


This exhibit presents more than a 100 darling babies from France, Germany, England, Italy, Spain, and the United States, demonstrating the chronology of the evolving shapes and styles of baby dolls. 

These babies are presented in dioramas with furniture, accessories, clothes and illustrations that recall the daily life of the little ones.

Drawing by Jane M. Dealy

Drawing by Jane M. Dealy

Drawing by Camo "Miquette"

Drawing by Thos Crane & Ellen Houghton


This poignant exhibit will please yesterday’s children who will be able to recover their cherished childhood memories. Collectors of baby dolls and today’s children will certainly want to adopt the charming babies that are available at the museum’s shop.

Drawing by Camo "Miquette"

Drawing by Camo "Miquette"




Around the exhibit...


For more pictures about the exhibit please clic on the following link :
poupendol.com



Guided tour of the exhibit

Samy Odin, director of the museum and designer of the exhibit, holds a guided tour of the exhibit.

Price (Museum + guided tour) : 8
 €
with reservation 01 42 72 73 11
Saturday January 7, 2005 - 5PM
Please arrive 3/4 of an hour before the conference to have time enough to visit the Museum.




Tales and stories for children

After your visit of the museum, go on your trip to the babies' universe while listening to stories...

Every Wednesday 4.30PM - with reservation 01 42 72 73 11
Lasting (visit + tale) about 1h30 - for children from 3 to 10-
Prices (museum + stories) : 10€ adult - 8€ reduced - 7€ children




Workshops for children : making of finger puppets

Workshop of an hour for children from 6 to 12 years old. Children will make 3 felt finger puppets with pasting and sewing techniques. After the workshop, children will visit the exhibit and the Museum.

During the holidays : October 25 and 27, December 20, 22, 27, 29, 2005 from 10.30 to 11.30 AM.
Price : 12 € (workshop + visit of the museum) - Material provided
Limited number of children : 5 to 8 - With reservation 01 42 72 73 11





Picture contest : "click click : get a picture of you with your baby"

Get a picture taken in color or black and white of you with your baby. It can be taken indoors or outside, posed or while you are playing. Send the picture to the Museum before Christmas 2005 with your name, age and caption written on the back of the photo.
The pictures will be exhibited at the Museum until the end of the exhibit.

Contest for children under 12 years old.
Closing time : December 25, 2005.
The 3 winners will receive a free entrance for the Museum and a poster of the exhibit.





Birthday party with dolls

Have a birthday party with your friends and the Museum's dolls.
Unguided tour of the Museum with an educational questionnaire + cake (not provided) + stories.

Group 8-14 person 7€/child - 10€/adult.
Group 15-25 person 6,5€/person.
with reservation 01 42 72 73 11.




A specialized shop – bookstore

The Museum’s shop is opened at the same time as the exhibition rooms, and is also available on this website.

Play dolls and collectible dolls, clothes and accessories, as well as a wide range of books and products are for sale.
Many baby dolls will also be available for adoptive parents.




A doll hospital and appraisals

The Museum’s doll hospital repairs antique dolls, baby dolls, plush toys... and makes appraisals.
Veronique Derez, our doll doctor, is usually there on Thursday from 11 am to 4 pm but you can come any other day for an estimate.


Free estimate of repairs are given on presentation of the sick doll. Appraisals with reservation only.





A seamstress for dolls

The seamstress for dolls makes clothes for dolls on measure. Isabelle Banon, our
seamstress remains at your disposal on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 am to 6 pm to examine your projects and talk needlework.

Free estimate on presentation of the doll to be dressed.




Next exhibit from January 24 to May 28, 2006




NB :
The museum is looking for antique French plush animals for its next temporary exhibit.
Please contact Mr Samy Odin, Tel : 01 42 72 73 11



Museum's collections exhibited elsewere


• "Schönheiten aus papier" in the Puppenhausmuseum of Bâle, Switzerland
(The private paper dolls collection of Guido Odin)
from October 23, 2005 to April 17, 2006

• "Bécassine, une héroïne centenaire" in Brives la Gaillarde, 19312
from October 27 to November 28, 2005

• "Personnages de contes pour enfants" in the Cultural Center of Moreuil, 80110
from December 2, 2005 to January 2, 2006

• "La féérie des poupées de 1880 à 1980" in the Musée de la Tour aux Puces of Thionville, 57125
from December 2, 2005 to January 8, 2006

• "Bécassine, une héroïne centenaire" in the Cultural Center of La Chapelle St Luc, 10600
from December 10, 2005 to January 4, 2006

• "Bleuette a 100 ans" and "Mignonnette, poupée de poche de La Poupée Modèle" in the Toymania fair, in the Palais des Congrès of Paris
December 11, 2005





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