NASB dolls from 1937 through 2011 (overview notes for doll club meeting on 4-10-2011)
On February 22, 1901, Rowena Haskin was born in Lake County, CA. As the years went by, she attended CA School of Fine Arts, changed her name to Nancy Ann Abbott, and moved to Hollywood. She danced and acted in Universal Studios silent movies, and became a Hollywood studio designer.
Her zeal for costume design became a consuming passion. By 1936 she was designing costumes for small bisque baby dolls that were made in Japan and giving them as gifts. Soon she was operating an actual business selling these small dressed dolls. Allan Leslie Rowland and Nancy Ann Abbott purchased a 400 sq. ft. shop with 4 employees and incorporated The Nancy Ann Dressed Doll Corp. on Feb. 23, 1937. In 1938, the company opened its own pottery plant in Berkeley, CA, to make its own bisque dolls, using its own molds. Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls were now being sold nationally. If you were a little girl growing up in the 1940s/1950s, you probably owned a Nancy Ann Storybook doll. These little dolls were made of bisque pottery.
Beginning in 1947 the company converted to plastic dolls. However, the wonderful costumes were still outstanding. Also, the dolls came in recognized boxes, which were white with either pink or blue polka dots. As always, there were doll companies who cam out with NASB look-alike dolls. K&H (Kerr & Heinz) looked closer to the real NASBs; one of the main noted differences is K&H dolls' feet were larger. Princess Dolls and Mayfair Dolls were also look-alike dolls.
Nancy Ann Abbott died of cancer on Aug. 10, 1964. Without here leadership the company closed its doors in 1965. Mr. Albert Bouria obtained the right to the name of the company in 1966 from the bankruptcy court at an auction. The Albert Bouria years of owning the company was from 1966 through 1973. After using all the dolls that were produced during the last years of Nancy Ann Abbott's life, Albert Bouris began using hp dolls with sleep eyes and painted eyebrows, and they were produced in Hong Kong. Production then transitioned to a 5 l/2" vinyl doll with rooted synthetic hair (instead of mohair) and black plastic slilp-on shoes. He used several kinds of boxes, usually with see-through lid or covering.
In 1986 the Jesco Co. marketed dolls using the name of the Nancy Ann Storybook Doll Co. These dolls were removed from the market when Mr. Bouria's attorney informed the company to "cease and desist" the use of the Nancy Ann Storybook Co. name and trademark.
In 2003 2 sisters, Claudette Buchler and Delene Budd legally purchased the rights to the company's name from Mr. Bouria (after the co. was listed on Ebay). These 2 sisters wanted to keep the innocent child of the original Nancy Ann bisque mold. They made the new 6 l/4" dolls of porcelain and fully jointed. The costume designer hired was Londie Phillips; the doll designer brought on board was Diane Effner. Claudette and Delene were delighted with the new little Nancy Ann Storybook dolls.
You may purchase one of these new wonderful little NASB dolls on the internet listed http://www.nancyannstorybookdolls.com. And you can still bid on old Nancy Ann dolls on ebay.