Doll News Summer 2015 - (Page 74)

The Mark Farmer Company Story Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery by Kathy Turner S erious collectors, dealers and researchers are required to study not only their main antiquarian interest, but also to familiarize themselves with later imitators. My main interest is antique dolls, particularly antique china, glazed and unglazed porcelain dolls. Many doll collectors are reluctant to buy antique dolls because they are not confident that they can tell the difference between those that are genuinely antique and later reproductions. A truly dedicated collector of antique dolls needs to study and be able to identify the later reproductions as well. After the end of World War II, people set about rebuilding their lives, having families and starting up new businesses. They also had the time and money to spend on hobbies. The twentieth century nostalgia for the dolls of the previous century spurred several companies and many home hobbyists to produce reproduction china dolls. Emma Clear and her Humpty Dumpty Doll Hospital are well known for fine quality reproductions and artistic china dolls produced from 1939. 1 Ruth Gibbs made a charming series of small china dolls in at least two sizes from the 1940s as well. 2 There were also commercially manufactured china doll reproductions made in Japan and distributed by several trading companies such as Brinn and A. A. Importing Company.3 The most prolific company making china doll reproductions was the small workshop begun by Mark and Kathleen Farmer, the Mark Farmer Company in California. Production spanned at least thirty years. The Mark Farmer Company of El Cerrito, California began as an art pottery business in 1946, at the same time the couple were building their own family of soon to be three children. 4 In 1948 the Farmers accepted a suggestion by their friend Aida Hubbard (aka Cyrelle) that they manufacture a china doll for the 100th anniversary celebration of the 1849 California Gold Rush, similar to the old-fashioned china dolls carried across the plains in covered wagons. They started with an original doll modeled by their friend Aida, and chose to name it Jennie June after the pen name of the aunt of a family friend. 5 1 Borger Publication, Humpty Dumpty Doll Hospital Reproduction of a 1951 Catalog of Products, (Sacramento, CA: Borger Publications, 2002), p. 3 2 Dorothy S., Elizabeth A., and Evelyn J. Coleman, The Collector's Encyclopedia of Dolls Volume Two, (New York, NY: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1986), p.244 74 SUMMER 2015 3 AA Importing Company Home, n.d.,, (accessed June 27, 2010) 4 Mark Farmer Co., Mark Farmer Co. Catalog (El Cerrito, CA: Mark Farmer Co., 1959) p.2 5 Mark Farmer Co., Mark Farmer Co. Catalog (El Cerrito, CA: Mark Farmer Co., 1969-70) p.20

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Doll News Summer 2015

From the Editor
UFDC Offi cers and Regional Directors
President’s Message
Conference Calendar
A Warm Welcome to Our Newest Members / Getting to Know You – The UFDC Club President’s Survey
Fundraising Committee Report
The Marvelous Magical Betsy McCall
Betsy Original Paper Doll
The Story behind UFDC’s Emblem – Miss Unity
Steiff ’s Timeless and Beloved “Teddy Baby” Bears
Native Alaskan Dolls
Russian Stockinette Dolls
The Mark Farmer Company Story
Dress Up Fun with Betsy McCall, a Game
Tammy – The Doll You Love To Dress
The Care of An American Icon
A Study in Aesthetics: Considering the Uncanny Doll
Maternal Love – The Dolls of Anne Myatt
Patti Playpal – A Big Doll for a Little Girl
Who Dressed Betsy McCall
Heavens to Betsy!
UFDC Region 14 Conference – Golden Memories
Club Notes
Reviewing Resources
In Our Memories
UFDC Nominating Process – 2016 Election Information for Regional Directors
MAL Form
News & Notes

Doll News Summer 2015