If you are a beginner collector, you have heard the name Madame Alexander. And if you haven’t, you will. Madame Alexander Dolls were the first collectable dolls. These were created by Beatrice Alexander, an American entrepreneur who was the first in the business to create dolls based on living people. The first dolls were based on the character Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind.
Born with the name Bertha, she later adopted the more sophisticated Beatrice but inevitably became known as “Madame Alexander.” Alexander was always told to work hard and she would one day do great things. Her family did not know how big her name would become.
Alexander began her entrepreneurship as a young girl in her step fathers doll hospital. When Beatrice was young; dolls were all produced out of china, plastic was not readily available. China is extremely fragile and her poverty stricken father started a doll hospital to repair the faces of beloved dolls. Many of the dolls that were shipped to him for fixing were from Germany.
Due to the embargo of German goods the doll hospital and shop faced its demise. Beatrice and her sisters banded together and produce dolls out of readily available materials. The sisters created a soft bodied doll modeled after a Red Cross nurse. This would become a huge success and save the family business. After the dolls became popular they began to also make clothes and those too became extremely popular.
Alexander started the doll company in 1923 facing much opposition. But after many battles she fought her way to the top and her company still is a household name!