1997 “American Child” – Classic American Dolls
- Pictures the “American Child” doll designed by Dwees Cochran and produced by Effanbee Doll Company.
- Part of the Classic American Dolls set – the first time photographs were used instead of paintings or drawings for a large US set with different stamp designs
Classic American Dolls
32¢, First Class Mail Rate
First Day of Issue:
July 28, 1997
First Day City:
Printed for Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. by Sterling Sommer of Tonawanda, New York
Panes of 15 (Vertical, 5 across, 3 down)
10.9 by 11.1
Large tagging block over all 20 stamps, covering the stamps to the edges
Why the stamp was issued:
To commemorate the “American Child” doll, a design that was based on four different children whose faces were considered typical of the time (around 1939).
About the stamp design:
The stamp pictures a photograph of the doll against a blue paper background.
First Day City:
The First Day of Issue Ceremony was held during the annual membership meeting of the United Federation of Doll Clubs at the Anaheim Hilton and Towers Hotel in Anaheim, California.
About the Classic American Dolls set:
The USPS issued the stamps to commemorate American dolls that “reflect the tradition, heritage, culture, and artistic style from various geographical regions of this country.”
Each stamp design pictures a photograph by Sally Andersen-Bruce. Each doll or pair of dolls is shown in front of a blue paper background, tying the stamp designs together. The names of each doll are printed in small type below the bottom frameline of each stamp, across from the 1997 year date. They’re also listed in the horizontal selvage at the bottom of the pane of 15.
The set marked the first time photographs were used instead of paintings or drawings for a large US set with different stamp designs.
History the stamp represents:
Created by Dewees Cochran, the American Child dolls were, and still are, subtly distinctive from other dolls. A painter and sculptor, Ella Dewees Cochran began crafting dolls after the 1929 stock market crash – a time when people were investing in neither paintings nor sculpture. Her first dolls, dubbed “Topsy” and “Turvey,” were long-legged black cloth characters which she sold to Saks Fifth Avenue and FAO Schwarz for Christmas. Given the advice that “whimsy was out and realism was in,” she developer her portrait dolls.
Designed to be played with as well as treasured by collectors, her dolls were immediately popular. In 1936, Cochran signed a contract with Effanbee to make the American Children series, based on six basic types of faces in American children. The dolls were made of a wood pulp and glue called “composition.” She also introduced her own Look-Alike line of dolls (made of a latex material) – designed to look like their owners.
The dolls brought Cochran fame. Her innovative methods caused her to be recognized in national newspapers and magazines, as well as on radio programs. In 1939, she appeared on the cover of Life
magazine. Experimenting with and refining her techniques, she continued creating her dolls until 1980.