Second Chance Dolly – 1920s or 30s Compo Doll

I would like to give you a glimpse into my life in the O.R. of Tonner Doll Hospital. I am Doctor Noreen and spend my days in the state of the art doll hospital located in the back room of The Tonner Company Store. This is where I breathe new life into those antique and vintage dolls who come to me for their last chance to be loved again. Many patients are in for orthopedic issues…but most arrive due to the normal aging process.. I have been called the Nip and Tuck of the Doll World for this reason. Each week I would like to showcase a procedure or patient that I find so interesting…I just have to share.

I guess there comes a time in a Doll Doctors life when you really think you need a miracle.That time comes quite often for me. I recently treated a patient that most doll docs may have given up on. This big girl was born in the late 20’s to early 30’s….and you know what aging can do to beautiful skin! She arrived in the O.R. with ravished skin, a dislocated shoulder, loose neck joints and only one working eye. She clearly should have been to the emergency room years ago…but due to the sadness in the owners eyes…I knew I had to save this one! It took a few hours of plastic surgery to bring her face back–and of course quite a bit of orthopedic repairs…then on to that sunken eye. The following week she was ready to go home for some much-needed R&R which included many hugs from the next generation chosen to care for her… see–these dolls represent much more than “being just a plaything” .They are the vessels of love to be passed on through generations…and if you hold them tight….you can actually feel it!

unmarked Composition Doll - before

unmarked Composition Doll - after



click to read more about the Doll Hospital


12 responses to “Second Chance Dolly – 1920s or 30s Compo Doll

    1. Thanks so much! She was so important to the owner…how could I not do my very best! When I see the joy in the owners eyes–I just can’t help loving what I do.
      Boy….do I have an interesting one that I will share with everyone next week!!

    1. Thanks so much for those kind words Joe…and I do think the sentimental value and what these dolls actually represent is what is so important. I just can never give up on them

  1. Dr. “Wonderwoman” Noreen, I’m so happy to see you sharing evidence of your talent and wisdom here!! I will follow your posts diligently.
    With reference to this compo doll, can you give advice (perhaps a future post?) as the best way to deal with a compo doll that hasn’t yet deteriorated to the point of this poor dolly, so doesn’t need plastic surgery yet …. but is beginning to “craze” a bit. Is there something that should be done now, i.e. sooner rather than later and what is the best conditions in which to store such a doll, to delay future deterioration??? Thanks again. Roberta

    1. Hi Roberta,
      What great questions!! I must say–most of my patients are composition due to the nature of this material. I think I am going to follow your lead here and in a few weeks will showcase another composition doll hospital case…but will make certain to answer all those questions.
      My next post will be about a “dummy” that almost had me talking to myself…but after that we will have our compo 101.,..please make certain you keep checking…

  2. You did wonderful work Dr. Noreen. And I particularly loved the line about dolls being vessels of love. It’s true. If you’ve seen Little Women (the Wynona Ryder version) the death of Beth March had a sequence where antique dolls are being scattered with roses. In the end Hannah, the family guardian presses the hand of one doll giving it a loving squeeze — almost like letting a little child go. Going back, “vessels of love” — as such your role is more of a guardian of those vessels. Congratulations and wishing you had a personal blog too which we can always follow.

    1. Hi Boots,
      Thanks so much for those kind words! I have been so thrilled with all the excitement. I do believe that so many here understand what these dolls actually represent.
      I do plan on sharing much more than the restorations and repairs…and hope to provide insight into why this is so important to me. I want this blog to reveal my emotions as I learn why each doll is so important to it’s owner…along with what motivates me to give them more chances to be loved. I think this may more of a personal blog in that sense as each doll stirs up something inside me……

  3. I have a Patsy Jr doll in really good condition, except,, where seam is.on the head (where they put the halves together) she is starting to chip just a tiny bit. Not badly, yet. However, I am concerned. Obviously, I don’t want it to get worse. I have what may be a really stupid question. To stop the chipping from getting worse, can I use “Mod Podge” to seal the chips and stop them from getting larger? I told you it was a weird one! Please advise, ASAP, and thank you for advice you can give me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *