Hair Play Dolls in History

Hair-play dolls have been around forever! Historically speaking, children have been styling and grooming dolls for centuries. It's only natural that during the age of mass-production, dolls would come equipped with generous amounts of hair for just that reason.

American Character started the ball rolling in the early 60's. There Barbie-sized growing hair doll, Tressy was quite popular. Then their Pre-teen Tressy came along. She was quite childlike in appearance.

After the Ideal Toy Corporation bought out American Character, right out of the box, they had plans for a growing hair doll. The rest, as they say, is history!

But what about those other dolls that grew hair? Let's take a moment to enjoy them too. There are six informational pages. Be sure to click through them all.

This early (perhaps the 60's) 17" growing hair doll functions by means of a pull string. She is not marked by any known doll companies markings. She resembles American Character's Pre-teen Tressy quite a bit.

This sweet 19" doll is marked EeGee. This company made alot of growing hair dolls during the 60's and 70's. Her hair functions by means of a pull string.

Created by the Natural Doll Company, Honey Claire was unique in that her hair could be "colored" different shades. She could be blonde, a redhead, or brunette. The young stylist changed the doll's hair color with pens that contained the hair-color. What a fun hair play doll!

Wigs! What a cute little dolly! Her name is Jeaner (yes that IS a strange name) and she came with wigs. More fun hair play!

Nasco made quite a few growing hair dolls, like EeGee. They made Jo Ann, who appeared in the 1970 Wards Toy Catalog right alongside Crissy and Velvet! In fact, the example above is wearing one of the 1970 Wards catalog exclusive outfits sold on the same page (a variation). She was definitely "Crissy Competition!"

Nasco dolls' hair mechanism was rather ingenius. Turn her head to the left, pull her ponytail (which was attached to her inner-workings by elastic) to the length desired. Then, turn her head back to the front and it stays exactly where it supposed too! Cool!

When one purchased Jo Ann from a location other than Wards, she could be found in any number of outfits. Here she is in one of them, right next to her "baby self." Baby Jo Ann didn't grow hair. What a shame!

Here is a Nasco doll purchased from Canada.

Another entry in the growing hair/hair play doll category is Miss Claudette. She is also from Nasco. She was only 11" tall and came with a comb.

She came in a couple different kinds of packaging. One was a box and another was a header-card baggie.

Here is a pretty Claudette still in her box, dressed in a flowery frock. She came from the S&H Green Stamp Store, but isn't considered exclusive to S&H Green Stamps.

The tiniest of the Nasco growing hair dolls is Claudie at only 6 inches tall.

The top of Claudie's box.

Also from Nasco is this way cool wig (in a child's size)!

Isn't the styro wig form adorable???

But wait! There's more! Click on the page links to view other hair-play themed and growing hair dolls.

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All text and photography, February, 2006, by Beth-Ellen Colvin