|The doll looked great...|
|Until I turned her over.|
In the 1960s Madame Alexander started making doll bodies out of a thin, light hard plastic. The arms and heads were still a thick, heavy vinyl. This results in dolls that today are often two-toned, with yellowed arms and faces but pink torsos and legs. The torso of the Secret doll is almost flexible, the plastic is so thin. Later on the Madame dolls were made entirely out of the lighter materials and the seams weren't even sanded down. It's sad how much the doll quality suffered for a while in the 70s and 80s. The clothes are still every bit as nice, however. Anyway, a repair was in order to this doll and another in the same lot.
|The epoxy repair in progress|
|The finished repair|
|The restored doll|
|Her neck is marked 1965|
The thing that so intrigued my daughter is Madame Doll's secret: her petticoat's pocket that holds either a pearl necklace or a string of pearls. I've seen the doll with both a necklace with a clasp or just pearls on a string she can't really wear. My daughter's doll's pearls were missing, so I gave her a pearl necklace from a different Madame Alexander doll. She can keep them in her pocket or wear them. The Secret doll's outfit is incredible, as befits a fashion doll sent to America to show the colonists how to dress. Her dress is silk brocade festooned with ruched organdy accents and lace. Her cap is lace-trimmed pink organdy with a black velvet ribbon. Her undergarments are trimmed with crocheted lace. I washed and ironed the set and refreshed the stretched elastic in all the pieces by gathering them with elastic thread.
|I restored her outfit as well.|
|The secret pocket|
|The pocket hides the jewels.|
|The earlier Mary Ann face|
I know I write about this a lot, but it never ceases to amaze me how much dolls seem to come up for sale in trends. I'll buy or hear of a really rare doll and won't see another one. I'll have trouble finding out any information at all. Then all of sudden I'll see them everywhere. Well, maybe not EVERYWHERE in this case, but the fact remains when I was trying to research the Secret of Madame doll I only saw one complete one listed at an astronomical price and then a couple of other incomplete dolls here and there; I maybe saw five total. Then a week or so later a complete Secret doll came up in my eBay feed when I was trying to find the book for my daughter. The price was reasonable, so I jumped on it!
|The later and earlier versions|
|The newer face on the left and older face on the right|
|An old store tag|
|The original tag|
|The doll is numbered 1561.|
I'm trying to decide whether to leave the string of pearls in their original state or put a clasp on them so a child could take them on and off. I think they may not be in good enough shape to handle much, so I'm thinking of making a new necklace and including both.
|The pearls in their secret pocket|
|The newer doll has lighter hair.|
Now that our book arrived we are eager to find out what happens. The plot summary inside the dust jacket says the doll was sent over as a fashion guide for colonial women, but its owners hid their family jewels in her clothes. Then the doll was stolen! We can't wait to find out how the story ends! The newer doll needs a little freshening up after her years in storage, but as soon as I get that done you will be able to find her and many other rare and lovely dolls in my Atelier Mandaline shops on eBay and Etsy.
|The new (left) and old faces|