Maud Humphrey

Maud Humphrey

Friday, February 6, 2015

Show and Tell: American Character TINY TEARS

I am many things...a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister...but I'm also a doll collector.  I love dolls!  I can't remember a time ever NOT loving them.  I have been collecting them for years, so I figured maybe I should start "showing and telling" what has tickled my fancy.  Here we go:
This little sweetie is Tiny Tears, made by the American Character Doll Co. from 1950 and on.  There are still versions of Tiny Tears being made today!  The very earliest ones had hard plastic heads on jointed rubber bodies.  The next models had hard plastic heads on vinyl bodies.  After that, both the heads and bodies were made from vinyl.  My 11 1/2" example is the smallest size made (I think) and is one of the earliest versions with the all rubber body.
What made Tiny Tears unique and one of the most popular baby dolls of the 1950's was the fact that she could cry real tears and blow bubbles!  Really!  See those two holes on either side of the bridge of her nose?  A little mother simply fed her baby some water with a bottle, and then when she squeezed Tiny's tummy, tears would exit the holes!  Tiny Tears also came with a plastic pipe that one could fill with soapy water; again, if her tummy was squeezed while the pipe was in her mouth, bubbles would come out!
An early advertisement for Tiny Tears
I bought my Tiny Tears at an estate sale from the lady who had owned her as a child.  The estate sale was for her mother, who had gone to live in a nursing home because she had advanced Alzheimer's.  The daughter was trying to get rid of all of her mother's vast doll collection, and I found Tiny Tears among hundreds of Barbies.  She came with several, home made outfits, in addition to her original pink & white dress and bonnet.  Here she's wearing a little pink sweater crocheted just for her by the original owner's grandmother.  I don't think this is her original bottle, but it's definitely of her era, with a rubber nipple on a glass bottle.
Home made, flannel diaper shirt
Home made, one piece romper.  Tiny Tears sometimes came in a commercially made romper just like this, but it would have had "Tiny Tears" embroidered across the front.  After looking at other pictures online, I realize that I put this romper on backwards!  There are ribbons at the sides which I tied in the back, but they are supposed to tie in the front.  I'll get it right next time!
Another handmade item--a sweet, yellow, flannel coat and bonnet.
Isn't she adorable?  I remember talking to the original owner, and asking her why she was selling this doll, when it was obviously a favorite plaything, not to mention that her mother had made all the extra clothing.  She just shrugged and said that she had kept what she wanted, and this one needed to go.  I felt so sad!  I just don't think I could get rid of anything that my mother had made for me as a child.  Then again, maybe I'm too sentimental?  In any case, I'm glad she found her way into my collection.  She really is a cutie and I smile whenever I look at her.

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