COLLECTING: Dolls

Poor Pitiful Pearl magnet

 

poor pitiful pearl refrigerator magnet ©liza cowan
Poor Pitiful Pearl refrigerator magnet from Small Equals

My 2009 post about the doll Poor Pitiful Pearl has been one of the most popular of all my posts. This classic doll, designed in 1958 by author, illustrator William Steig, rests in the memory banks of so many people. I used to keep this Pearl in my gallery, Pine Street Art Works, and I can't tell you how many women of a certain age used to pick her up and tell me stories about their special Pearls. Kids loved her too. 

Now I've made a magnet of my Portrait Of Pearl. I think you might enjoy it. Available at my etsy shop or at smallequals.com


Barbie sewing patterns, vintage

I borrowed these from the collections of Margaret Tramulonis. She gave me permission to scan and post them. Classic Barbie sewing patterns. Look at the detail, my goodness. When I was a kid I made lots of Barbie clothing, but nothing like these. I was more about drape and a quick stitch. These are formidable. 

 

Barbie butterick pattern 2519
Barbie, Buttrick pattern 2519. Courtesy of Margaret Tramulonis Collections

Barbie butterick2519 back of envelope envelope
Barbie, Butterick Pattern 2519. Back of package. Courtesy of Margaret Tramulonis Collections.

Barbie butterick pattern 7430 barbie McCalls 7430 western
Barbie, McCalls's Patern 7430. Margaret Tramulonis Collections

 

 

Barbie mcCalls7430 pattern assembly instructions
Barbie, McCall pattern 7430 assembly directions. Margaret Tramulonis Collections

Barbie mcCalls 6901 instant envelope envelope
Barbie, McCalls Pattern 6901. "Instant" doll clothes. Margaret Tramulonis collections.


 

 

Barbie mcCalls 6901 pattern assembly instructions
Barbie, McCalls pattern 6901 assembly instructions. Margaret Tramulonis collections.

These patterns look excruciatingly dificult to me. I so admire the women who probably made them for their daughters and granddaughters. The love, the care - I hope that some of these finshed pieces are preserved somewhere. 

 


William Steig: Poor Pitiful Pearl

Poor Pitiful Pearl doll, william steig. photo ©Liza Cowan

Poor Pitiful Pearl. Photo ©Liza Cowan 2008. Print of this photo is available at my online store

William Steig, author, cartoonist, illustrator, famous for Shrek, Dr. DeSoto, Sylvester and The Magic Pebble, zillions of New Yorker Covers, and a reluctant advertising illustrator, was also the creator of my favorite doll: Poor Pitiful Pearl. Pearl was my first and my only true doll love. She was made in 1958, and stayed in production in various incarnations throughout the sixties.

A couple of years ago I was putting together an exhibit of 20th Century Works on Paper,  and had just purchased this poster:

 

william steig, we clean 'em, shell oil, advertising poster, 1944, Liza Cowan Collections

Wm Steig, We Clean 'Em. Shell Oil, 1944. Collection of Pine Street Art Works.

This gorgeous, huge lithograph was made for Shell Oil in 1944. As I was researching the poster and Steig I came across the fact that Poor Pitiful Pearl was a Steig creation. Of course! But I hadn't realized it as a kid, even though our family subscription to The New Yorker was a favorite of mine, and I poured through it weekly looking at the cartoons.

 

william steig, the new yorker, 1935, Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

William Steig, The New Yorker, 1935. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections,

We had enough New Yorker magazines and New Yorker cartoon collections around the house that I could have been, should have been familiar enough with the Steig canon to have been able recognize his style on my darling doll. But I didn't. The New Yorker...dolls? Nuh uh.

 

 

 

william steig, poor pitiful pearl, we clean 'em, shell oil, Liza Cowan
Poor Pitiful Pearl and We Clean 'Em. Not to scale. I made this collage in Photoshop. Pearl is much smaller than the man in the poster.

But check this out. How much more alike could they be? Even the clothing matches.

Pearl even came with her own little Steig book:

Click the smaller images and they will pop up.

 

  • Blog pearl cover
  • william steig, poor pitiful pearl book
  • william steig, poor pitiful pearl book
  • Blog pearl 4
  • Blog pearl 5
  • Blog pearl 6
  • Blog pearl 7
  • Blog pearl 8
  • Blog pearl 9
Poor Pitiful Pearl William Steig  booket cover. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

Poor Pitiful Pearl booklet by William Steig. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

 

poor pitiful pearl doll magnet from small equals photo ©liza cowan
Poor Pitiful Pearl magnet from small equals.


Order magnet at my Etsy shop here