|Little girls have treasured Madame Alexander Dolls for decades|
For New Yorkers, the Madame Alexander doll hospital in Harlem was a place to bring dolls that had been “loved too much.” While the doll hospital didn’t exactly reset bones and suture wounds, seeing the quiet closure of the 80-year old factory and showroom this past December did mark an end to the toymaker’s storied presence in Upper Manhattan. Beyond the façade of 615 West 131st Street — once a factory that assembled Studebakers — was a fantasy world that rivaled anything that could be found at FAO Schwarz.
celebrations encountered still more dolls. Those even luckier assembled Madame Alexander dolls to take home.
|More than 600 classic dolls lined the halls and play areas at Madame Alexander|
Part showroom, factory, and funhouse, the Madame Alexander Doll Company was an intriguing time capsule. It was as much a look at the decades-old machinery that helped create and finish the dolls as a glimpse inside the mind of its matriarch and visionary, Russian immigrant Beatrice Alexander (1895–1990).
By the time she was in her early twenties, Beatrice Alexander had her own successful doll company, launching new designs—including the first ever dolls with “sleepy” eyes that closed and the
first officially licensed dolls that depicted beloved characters from films and books such as Little Women and Alice in Wonderland.
|The Heritage Gallery at Madame Alexander|
By the time of the Great Depression, the Madame Alexander Doll Company was not only on the map, but it had succeeded in making toys that rivaled the era’s most popular. Alexander’s dolls were also the first made from hard plastic.
The future of the dolls is unknown. Apparently, Madame Alexander has already relocated, including the company store, doll hospital, and birthday parties. “We’ll let you know when those are back in business — expected in 2013,” read a message on their website last month.
|Lovely, colorful dolls in the party room at Madame Alexander|