After delving into the world of Madame Alexander, I started remembering the 90s doll companies who marketed to my generation. Despite being very loyal to American Girl (shout out to Samantha), I received a wide variety of doll catalogs in my mailbox. Turns out that some of the dolls in these catalogs have now become collector’s items. Here’s a quick update on some 90s doll companies you might remember and what happened to them.
90s Doll Companies
Did you read any of these 90s doll catalogs?
Magic Attic Club
This blatant rip off of American Girl had a cute premise: four friends played dress up in a magical attic and were transported on adventures. Like American Girl, this 90s doll company’s products included dolls, accessories and accompanying paperback books. Some of the story themes are a little heavy on the cultural appropriation for today’s standards.
Current Status: Closed in 2007.
This slightly creepy product line was actually founded with a heartwarming intent. An emergency room physician noticed that her young patients were attached to their dolls for comfort because they looked like them. Believing that dolls helped boost a child’s self-esteem, in 1993 he developed a doll-making technique to create replicas to resemble children’s features. The company gained immense popularity through 2001.
Current Status: After running into quality issues when manufacturing was sent to China, the company closed in 2016. MyTwinn dolls are highly collectible and have sold for over $1000. More details can be found on this history of MyTwinn.
Current Status: still crushing it, even though they retired some familiar characters from the original historical line.
Did you have any of these dolls? I’d love to hear your memories of them in the comments section!
To celebrate the theme of “Shall We Dance,” my Irish dance group was invited to perform at the 2016 Madame Alexander Doll Convention in Minneapolis. You didn’t know there was a convention? Me either! There are people who love the classic Madame Alexander dolls so much that they come from all over the U.S to attend a convention. These people love dolls. A lot.
The Madame Alexander Doll Convention
This was a really fun event to observe and be part of, even just for the short duration of our dance show. We performed during the dinner hour, and the entertainment was a surprise to the attendees.
Every table had a centerpiece with a doll in an Irish dance costume spinning around. Not too surprisingly there were a lot of dolls in the place, period. Everyone there was incredibly nice and it was fun to see people following their interests and getting to know others with the same hobby.
After, the other dancers said, “this is right up your alley.” “You’re going to write an article about this, aren’t you?” They know me well.
So I decided to do a little research on these dolls.
Who is Madame Alexander?
On a quest to learn more, I unearthed some interesting tidbits from the Madame Alexander website. Some highlights:
- Madame Beatrice Alexander was a real person who founded the company in 1923.
- She was the child of Russian immigrants and was raised over her father’s doll hospital in Brooklyn. She often played with the dolls in the hospital and was inspired to start her own doll company at age 28.
- Today, the product line has expanded to include more than just collectible dolls. There are larger dolls for toddlers and soft dolls for infants.
- Madame Alexander is a master of disguise, known for her many costumes such as Cat Woman, the Wizard of Oz and yes, even Frozen.
- You can join the doll club for $45 per year and attend events like the annual convention that I danced at with Mactir Academy of Irish Dance.
My mom has one from her childhood, so I asked her to take it out so I could add photos of it to this post. She’s pictured above. And of course I need to share the paper doll version of Mme. Alex:
Are these dolls part of your life? If you have more information on her to share, I’d love to hear from you.