Thursday, July 24, 2014

Paper Dolls: Remembering Tom Tierney and Creating our own!

Alexander McQueen Fashions: Re-created in Paper Dolls

I read yesterday that Tom Tierney has died.

I have a confession: I was not sure that Tom really was a person before I read of his passing or was simply a nom de plume used by Dover Publishing for its eponymous paper doll books.

But I was glad to learn that Tom was indeed a person and a scampy gentleman of the highest order, taking his love of paper dolls, beauty and cheekiness and boiling them into his decades-long passion of making people smile with this witty take on paper dolls.  He recently passed away at 85.

All I could think of was this: how fun would it be to have earned your living making paper dolls?

You can't say that his portfolio wasn't diverse:

Ballet Stars of the Romantic Era Paper Dolls

William and Kate Paper Dolls: To Commemorate the Marriage of Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton, 29th April 2011

Michelle Obama Paper Dolls

I fall four-square into the paper doll camp, having spent many happy hours in my childhood playing with them, though if truth be told, I preferred the punch-out ones to the ones that required a pair of scissors!  I was never so good with scissors...

My sister and I were infamous however, for cutting up the Simpson Sears catalogue and making our own, although the models in that catalogue were always positioned in odd ways.

As an adult, when I ran across some of Tom's books on a subject I like - say 1930s movie stars or Gone with the Wind -  I have always scooped them up.

You can see all of Tom's paper dolls here.

He is credited for single-handedly keeping paper dolls alive, and if you look around the Dover site, you will see there are many talented artists now turning them out!

So many thanks Mr. Tierney.  I expect to see you "Angels of Heaven" book in 2015...

Remembering Tom Tierney: The Brilliant Man Behind Every Girl's Favorite Paper Dolls| Death

What would you love to see paper dolls made about?  I was thinking of that this morning and admit I would love a True Detective set, a Game of Throne set (though there likely is one!), a Sofia Coppola or Olivia Palermo set.  Maybe Beverly Nichols in the garden?  All of the characters in The Luminaries so I could have kept better track of them whilst I was reading that?  I am currently reading a biography of John Adams - hmmm...

I wonder how long till they make Grand Budapest paper dolls for Tabs?

Do share!

Have a great day and stay safe out there!

xoxo wendy


  1. Paper dolls! The original Polyvore. Sort of. I love the punch out ones, too.

    1. They were the original polyvore and cost us much less money!

  2. Paper dolls were wonderful things, our childhood pastimes seem so basic in comparison to those on offer nowadays; peg dolls, paper dolls, a stick of rhubarb and bag of sugar - almost a Huck Finn childhood.


  3. Another fan of paper dolls here, my kids were never into them for some reason. Probably because they have video games and other inferior things!

    1. Mine did a bit, but they were harder to find, I think!

  4. No video games at our house; no one really wanted them. My eldest loved paper dolls and we had all sorts-- colonial costumes, ethnic garb; she drew and cut out her own dolls and made costumes for them.

    1. My daughter didn't care for them, though boy was different! Mostly, he played with his action figures for hours and hours!

  5. I love paper doll books. I have 2 -- Elizabeth I and Queens of the Ancient World. And yes, my sister and I also cut up the Sears and Eaton's catalogues for dolls.

  6. I had no idea it was one person either. Thanks for sharing. What a cool guy.

  7. I had Vivien Leigh and some others, maybe the Queen? If his personality was like his art he must have been very charming!

  8. Hi Wendy! I am just now catching up after missing a few posts. I am along for the ride no matter what direction your blog turns. I love Martha Stewart even though sometimes I roll my eyes at her complicated recipes and projects. At 5'3" I feel your pain:) Lastly, I love paper dolls. My sister and I would anxiously await the arrival of Mom's McCall's magazine each month complete with Betsy McCall paper dolls. Anyone else remember those?

  9. I, too, spent many happy hours with paper dolls. My sister and I did the catalogue trick too!


Kindness is a virtue...