About Sasha Dolls
New Books About Sasha Dolls
By Ann Louise Chandler
For the first time since 1999, there are some new books written about Sasha dolls. The authors are three well-known American collectors, Ann Louise Chandler, Susanna E. Lewis, and Anne Votaw, known collectively as Three Anns Publications. Ann and Anne began researching the history of Sasha dolls in 1987, though they had been collecting Sasha dolls since the late 1960s. By 2005, when they approached Reverie Publishing, along with Susanna, their information was too extensive to fit between two covers of a single book, and too important to allow to languish unpublished. Reverie, a small publisher specializing in doll books, agreed to publish the first book, Sasha Dolls: The History.
What a beautiful book this first one is! Never before has the history of these extraordinary dolls been so completely written about, with such sensitivity. It took five years of hard work for Anne Votaw to further hone this material into a readable, comprehensive book. It is replete with hundreds of full color pictures from all three commercial productions and many hand-made studio dolls, some from private collections and never before seen by the public. This fine book, introduced in 2011, is still available for sale.
In Stratford-upon-Avon, England, at the thirtieth annual Sasha Festival, the second book, Sasha Dolls: Clothing and Patterns was introduced. This book has an entirely different emphasis from The History and follows a similar format and style established by the first book to make them a matching set. The authors took a close look at the clothing found on Sasha Morgenthaler’s original works. They developed a set of patterns, both sewing and knitting, found on these Studio dolls. Each of these patterns was based on Sasha’s designs, resized to fit the smaller manufactured dolls owned by most collectors and families. (The Studio Sasha dolls are twenty inches tall, and the Sasha Babies are fourteen inches, while the manufactured children are sixteen/seventeen inches tall and the babies are twelve/thirteen inches.) Sasha designed one set of sewing patterns for the manufactured dolls, which were published by the Federation of Migros Cooperatives in Switzerland during the 1960s. She also designed clothing patterns to be included in her kits, sold so people could make their own Sasha-designed dolls and clothing. These kits included a head, hand-painted by Sasha Morgenthaler, with materials and patterns to complete the body and patterns for a wardrobe of clothing for a 14 inch baby doll. The kit baby patterns were slightly reduced to fit the manufactured babies. Then, the authors added a few new patterns, based on clothing found on some of the Studio dolls.
Each chapter in Clothing and Patterns begins with photographs of manufactured dolls dressed in home-made fashions based on Sasha’s designs and ends with several pages showing Studio dolls wearing original outfits. Chapters break down the styles into themes used by Sasha Morgenthaler, such as Classic clothing from the mid-twentieth century, 1900s Theme clothing from Sasha’s childhood, Swiss farm children, uniforms, sportswear, ethnic clothing from around the world, and nightwear and underwear to complete the wardrobes.
A large chapter with diagrams of embroidery and smocking designs found on Sasha’s clothing follows the pictorial chapters. Ann Louise Chandler wrote instructions for all the sewing patterns, which are printed full size on four sides of two large sheets of paper, tucked inside the back cover, and Susanna Lewis wrote the instructions for 80 authentic knitted patterns. All the sewing and knitting patterns are identified by small photographs of the outfits found on that page.
Two more books are planned for this series. Sasha Dolls: Serie Identification, by Susanna E. Lewis, with Ann Louise Chandler and Anne Votaw, will be introduced at the thirtieth anniversary of the first Sasha Festival in 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio, which will also coincide with the 100th anniversary of Sasha Morgenthaler’s birth. The fourth and final book, Sasha Dolls: Creative Collecting , by Ann Louise Chandler with Susanna E. Lewis and Anne Votaw, will be available at the thirty-second annual Festival in Phoenix, Arizona in 2014.
Each of these books has 144 pages of full color photographs, many taken by the authors. The books are a large 9 X 12 inch format with hard covers and dust jackets. Each book retails for $50 US and books are available retail from Susanna’s website, www.sashadoll.com. Wholesale orders for businesses and museum shops are available from Ann Louise Chandler. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing to her at 97 Front Avenue, Poland, ME 04274, USA, for details on wholesale prices and shipping terms.
ALC for Fondation Tanagra, September, 2012.