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Paper Dolls

Victorian Paper Dolls

Paper dolls in various forms appeared in Japan as early as A.D. 900 and were used in purification ceremonies. In France in the mid 1700’s, “patins”, or “Dancing Jack” puppets were popular. These were jointed, moving jumping-jack paper creations that often satirized the nobility. The first ‘true’ paper dolls were created in the mid 1700’s in London and on the continent in fashion centers. These were hand-painted with costumes for the entertainment of wealthy adults.

The first manufactured paper doll was made in London in 1810 and was named “Little Fanny”. Paper dolls premiered in the U.S. soon after, in 1812. The Queen Victoria paper doll premiered in England in 1840.

Though the golden age of paper dolls and the height of their popularity was the 1930-1950's, the paper doll was a popular toy for children in Victorian England. For the wealthy, they were available in elaborate, boxed handmade sets. They were available to both the rich and those of modest means once they began to be mass produced.

Print these paper dolls on cardstock or glue them to poster board, cut them out, and let your imagination fly!





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