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New Terri Lee Dolls Will Be Embraced by Grandchildren and Grandmothers

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If you owned a Terri Lee doll in the 1950s, share a new Terri Lee doll with a grandchild.

If you owned a Terri Lee doll in the 1950s, you'll really enjoy sharing a new Terri Lee doll with a grandchild.

Photo © Susan Adcox

The Bottom Line

I love sharing bits of my childhood with my grandchildren, and the new collection of Terri Lee dolls gives me another connecting piece. My Terri Lee was my favorite doll back in the 1950s. The new Terri Lee looks exactly like mine except that her silky hair is much easier to style and she has her own cool website. My granddaughter immediately embraced her Terri Lee and was soon talking to her as if she were a member of the family.

Pros

  • Faces are beautifully painted.
  • Wigs are soft and brushable.
  • Clothing is well-made and easy to manipulate.
  • Outfits have an authentic 1950s vibe.

Cons

  • Extra outfits are not yet available.

Description

  • Bodies of durable hard plastic, jointed at shoulder and hip.
  • 15 inches tall
  • Available from Terri Lee website
  • Retail price $34.99

Guide Review - New Terri Lee Dolls Will Be Embraced by Grandchildren and Grandmothers

I will never forget the day my sister and I received our Terri Lee dolls. We were thrilled. My father, who had chosen them for us, told us that a woman had sculpted the original and modeled it after her own daughter. We liked having a doll modeled after a real live girl, and we liked Terri Lee's slightly exotic, painted face.

We were not alone. Thousands of little girls back in the 40s and 50s loved their Terri Lees. After two factory fires and other setbacks, Terri Lee dolls ceased production in 1962. Today, however, you can share the magic of Terri Lee with your grandchildren. The family of creator Violet Lee Gradwohl has resumed production and now offers the "Four Seasons" collection of dolls. They are remarkably similar to my Terri Lee from the early 1950s, and they are dressed in outfits reminiscent of the era.

The modern dolls have the same dark eyes, dimply cheeks and sturdy toddler bodies. Their outfits are wonderfully detailed, although Velcro closings make them much easier to take off and put on. The one complaint I have about the dolls is that Terri Lee doesn't currently offer any extra clothes. (Her 1950s era wardrobe famously included a real mink coat!) Clothing is being designed, however, and should be available in 2011. In the meantime, both vintage and new clothing is available on various auction sites.

Both my granddaughter and I loved Terri Lee's outfit. We have the "Winter Wonderland" model, which features a white fluffy hat, a red dress, a purple houndstooth coat, white tights and black shoes. The other models are just as cute. "Ready for Recess" wears crisp navy blue and white with classic saddle shoes. "Swing Into Swing" wears pink frills, and the "Summer by the Sea" model features a spiffy sailor dress and hat.

After playing with Terri Lee for a while, my granddaughter and I visited the Terri Lee site, where three well-designed games are available for playing on-line. I must admit that I vied with my granddaughter for a turn at Terri Lee's fashion show, where you can dress Terri Lee in different outfits with accessories, although it made me really long for the actual outfits. Another choice is a coloring game. If you play it with a grandchild, watch what happens when you finish a page. Altogether the website is beautifully designed and fun to look at, even if you don't have a grandchild by your side.

Judging by the doll and the website, Terri Lee is really committed to making a quality product and to serving both of its customer groups--the women who loved Terri Lee long ago, and the children who are falling in love with Terri Lee today.

In case you are wondering about my Terri Lee doll, she is still with me, but badly in need of some tender loving care. I think I'll put a Terri Lee restoration on my Christmas list, and maybe add another Terri Lee to keep her company. That sailor outfit on the "Summer by the Sea" model is just too cute.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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