The Stories Of Nancy Ann Dolls

The first batch of dolls that was made by the company measured 3 ¾ inches. The baby dolls were made of bisque but the doll bodies were initially made in Japan. In 1936, the Storybook series was launched with doll measuring 5 inches. By 1939, the dolls’ bodies were then made locally in California. The facial features of the dolls were hand painted, thus giving the each individual doll its own unique look.

The company manufactured its largest volume of dolls in the US by the late 1940s. Yet it began to slow down by the 1960’s due to the deterioration of Nancy Ann’s health. In 1964, Nancy Ann Abbott passed away. In 1965, the company file for bankruptcy after Les Rowland’s health also started to deteriorate. Eventually, Albert Bourla purchased the company along with other stockholders wherein they continued the company’s production of dolls but now they were made in Hong Kong. However, the venture was short-lived and the company auctioned its last remaining doll parts and accessories.

Until Jesco started making storybook dolls which were patterned after Nancy Ann. Still having the copyright for the storybook dolls, Bourla reintroduced the 5.5-inch bisque doll series in 1998. The dolls were to be produced in limited numbers but only four dolls were produced prior to selling the company to sisters Delene Budd and Claudette Buehler in 2003. The new company had then hired doll artist and designer Dianna Effner and costume designer Londie Phillips to revive the Nancy Ann dolls. Their first creation was launched in 2005.

The storybook feature still remained as part of its offering and was still based on nursery rhymes. Nancy Ann’s design consisted of 125 characters in 1943 but these were reduced to 77 characters due to some constraints in the costume materials. Nevertheless, the characters have different wardrobes every year since the 1900s. Now, the new doll collection available is still reminiscent of the classic designs and the legacy has still continued.

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