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Friday, January 30, 2015

Ruth Gibbs Dolls

January 10, 2015 Meeting of the Birmingham Doll Club

Jill S.  served as hostess and gave a presentation on Ruth Gibbs Dolls.  Ruth Gibbs dolls were created and produced by Ruth Gibbs and her husband, Herbert Johnson.  Ruth Gibbs was an antique doll collector who worked as a design stylist and merchandizing consultant for Dennison’s Department Store in NYC.  The couple had a strong desire to produce a china doll that would not only be collectable, but could also be played with by little girls.  Ruth Gibbs began making the dolls in the early 1940’s.  In 1948 a patent was issued for “Ruth Gibb’s Godey’s Lady Book Dolls”.  The dolls were produced in a factory in Flemington, NJ.  Herbert Johnson managed the factory.  The dolls had a china shoulder head, china lower arms, china lower legs, and a cloth body.  There was wire inside the bodies to make the dolls easy to pose. The dolls were produced in 12” and 7”, with the smaller size being more popular.  Early dolls had white skin and looked more like antique china dolls.  Later dolls had pale pink or dark brown skin (rare) and a more modern, page boy hair style.  The dolls are inscribed “Ruth Gibbs” on their back.  Hair colors were brown, black, blonde, and red.  Rare dolls had applied wigs.  Most of the dolls had gold painted shoes, though other colors (to match the hair color) were made.  The doll’s faces were hand painted.  The dolls were sold in many different styles of clothes including story book and fairy tale characters, brides, and colonial ladies.  The dolls were also sold undressed with a dress pattern so the new owner could sew for her doll.  Production of the china head dolls ceased in the mid 1950’s.  Plastic dolls were later produced for a short time. 

An early 7" Ruth Gibbs Doll with a flat top hair style

Here is a blonde 12" doll in a lovely pink "mommy made gown"

A beautiful bride!

A fairy queen

A pretty Ruth Gibbs doll.  I love her bonnet!

Little Women dolls

Close up of Marme

Lucky Barbara won this lovely Ruth Gibbs doll as a door prize!

Here is an example of a Ruth Gibbs doll box with a pattern for clothes for the doll

February 26 to March 1, 2015, Wood Carving Class

February 26 to March 1, 2015, Wood Carving Class, Vestavia Hills , AL
Teacher:  Janet Cordell, Master Carver for the state of Arkansas .  To learn more about Janet and see her work go to 
What We’ll be Carving:  Hitty, a 6 1/4" wooden doll based on the book, Hitty:  Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field.   If you would like to carve something beside Hitty this is fine but please contact Janet ASAP to make arrangements for her to bring you a blank.
When:  February 26 to March 1, Thursday through Sunday from 9:00 until 4:00 with a break for lunch (on your own).  You can stay later than 4:00 and carve and Janet will be available for assistance. 
Where:  We will be carving at my house in my basement.  We carve in the double garage and set up tables.  On this level, there is a finished room where we have coffee and snacks (got to keep our strength up) and a bathroom.  It’s very easy to get around if you have a handicap. 
Cost:  The cost for the four day workshop is $250 with a $50 deposit which includes one blank.  There are a limited number of places available so please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to take the class.  Once you have signed up for the class, I will send a more detailed information on what you need to bring, hotels, restaurants, etc. 
Contact Information: 
Sharon Kirby
Janet Cordell