Used as a marketing tool in the 19th and 20th centuries, paper dolls helped to sell clothes and commodities, especially to the female buyer. They remained affordable and popular during and after World War II. Today, paper dolls provide a glimpse into past cultures, improve fine motor skills, and encourage creativity in story-telling and fantasy.
American fashion designer Claire McCardell created a paper doll book in 1956 featuring her designs. The book is currently on view in our newest exhibition, Claire/McCardell. McCardell designed using paper dolls as a child growing up in Maryland, cutting her mother’s fashion magazines into silhouettes. Take a closer look at McCardell’s paper doll fashions and create your own paper doll art form from home.
Image: Paper Doll Book, c.1956. Maryland Center for History and Culture, H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Claire McCardell Collection, MS3066Learn More