Monday, May 13, 2013

History of Mary Hoyer Dolls

Mary Hoyer ran a small craft shop in Reading. Pennsylvania.  She sold patterns and books with instructions  to knit and crochet clothing for children and infants. Patterns as well as the yarn and needles among her many craftwares.   She began using dolls to model the clothing patterns made up for her customers to see.  Her original doll models were dolls made by The Ideal Doll Company and had a swivel waist. She was referred to as the Mayfair Twist Body doll. The first Hoyer dolls used the marks of the Ideal Doll and Toy Company.  The clothing on these dolls has the Mary Hoyer tag. Without the original Hoyer clothing with the Mary Hoyer label  they cannot be identified as Hoyer dolls.
Mary went to Bernard Lipfert the lead designer of the Ideal doll Company in 1937 to design an original doll for her.  The first Mary Hoyer doll was made of composition, had sleep eyes with real upper lashes and painted lower lashes. and a closed mouth.  Theses dolls were made by both the Ideal Doll Company and The Fiberiod Doll Products Company.  They were marked:  The Mary Hoyer Doll.
In 1946, the dolls were made of the new material, hard plastic.  These dolls were marked:  Original Mary Hoyer Doll  Made In USA.  The clothing had the Mary Hoyer tag. They had a mohair wig, blue sleep eyes, real upper lashes and painted lower lashes, and closed mouth.  In 1937 with the introduction of the Mary Hoyer doll, was also introduced a boy doll.  He was 14 inches tall and was usually dressed in a prince costume.  He was also produced in hard plastic.  he was sold in a limited number and is today hard to find.  In the 1950's, another hard plastic doll was introduced by Mary Hoyer.  Gigi came in two lengths, 14 and 18 inches. This doll also had blue sleep eyes, real upper lashes and painter lower lashes and a jointed hard plastic body.
In 1957 another doll was introduced.  a ten and one half inch doll named Vickie.   Vickie had a swivel waist, rooted hair, and was made of hard plastic.  Vickie had a fashion doll body and high heel feet and was marked the Uneeda Doll Company and was actually a doll introduced by Uneeda as Suzette.  The dolls were bought from Uneeda by Mary Hoyer and dresses in Hoyer clothes, repackaged and sold as Mary Hoyer dolls.
The Mary Hoyer Doll Company closed in the 1970's.  The composition and hard plastic dolls designed by Bernard Lipfert remain the favorites of the Mary Hoyer doll Company and are today much sought after by collectors.  Only the dolls that are marked with the Mary Hoyer Doll Mark can be truly identified a a true Mary Hoyer doll unless the doll is still dressed in the original tagged Mary Hoyer clothing.  Many of these dolls do not have their original clothing and cannot be proven to be a real Mary Hoyer doll.  The molds used to make Mary Hoyer dolls were sold to many companies who then produced their own dolls.   All this just adds to the confusion of identifying  Mary Hoyer dolls.



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  2. I grew up in Reading, PA., and as a child I loved going into the Mary Hoyer shop. We had our dolls restrung and re-wigged there, and going into the store was such a treat. It was also a knitting shop, and I remember the rainbow display of yarn and the beautiful knit and crocheted doll outfits. No trip to downtown Reading was complete without at least a look into the windows of Mary Hoyer's store.

    I'm currently knitting a sweater set for a coming grandson from a Mary Hoyer pattern. Should I ever have a granddaughter, I'll be knitting and crocheting a wardrobe for her dolls from Mary Hoyer patterns.