Another example of a children’s book illustrated with dolls of the period and that told the social context in which those doll were used was “Josephine and Her Dolls” written by Mrs. H.C. Cradock and illustrated by Honor C. Appleton.
The stories told in vintage children’s books are often as interesting as the illustrations because the stories reflect the social context in which the illustrated dolls played a part. A story in an out-of-print book published in the 1930s about an American girl living on a farm at the time was illustrated with the kinds of dolls available to her, perhaps rag dolls or some kind of folk doll. The story told in that book would reflect in part the economic struggle of people in the Great Depression.
Some vintage children’s story books are all about dolls. They are illustrated with dolls that were popular at the time of the books’ publication. These illustrated books can be useful to us for learning to recognize and to date dolls. These illustrated books record the history of dolls. Illustrations in books are as helpful sometimes as paintings and sketches by artists in depicting children with dolls and toys. And illustrations show us dolls of a period similar to the way vintage photos of children and dolls do.
You can also find images of dolls, toys, and puppets in the children’s periodical “Le Bon Genre” published in France in the 1820s and better understand the part dolls play in a child’s mental and emotional development.
At the Exhibition of French Industry in 1823, “Le Bon Genre” reported there were dolls that said “Maman” when their right hand was raised and said “Papa” when their left was raised.
Published in England in 1915, the book depicted various dolls of the time, and the story told how a little girl used her dolls to think of and act out the concerns of a nation going to war.