April 18, 2020

animated gigi
Mary Hoyer

Gigi has become the focus of my doll collecting and has become an ongoing obsession with me. I purchased my first Gigi about 30 years ago and have been in love ever since. Let me give you a little background on the creation of this beauty, and you'll see why she's my favorite doll.

The first Hoyer doll was created in 1937, which was a 13" composition doll with double jointed body and painted eyes. The doll was first introduced on the back cover of "Juvenile Styles" in 1937 and was featured in the first book of doll patterns, "Mary's Dollies" in the same year.

In the late 40's, hard plastic was developed and Mary Hoyer created a 14" hard plastic doll, first strung and later, a walker. The walking mechanism proved to be troublesome and almost impossible to repair, so this doll was discontinued. When the doll was discontinued, the walking mechanism was removed and the heads were used until the stock was depleted. The removal of this mechanism left two slits in the top of the head.

In the early fifties, an 18 inch Mary Hoyer doll was produced and given the name "Gigi". This doll was marked on her back, the same as the 14 inch dolls, even though unmarked dolls have been found as well. This doll was not heavily advertised, proved to be not as popular as the 14 inch doll, and was only produced as a strung doll. The Frisch Doll Company, who manufactured these dolls, also sold the same mold only unmarked, to other companies. They produced this doll as a walker as well as a strung doll. Royal Doll Company was one company that purchased these blank dolls and dressed them in their own clothing and wigged them with their own wigs. Unfortunately, uninformed dealers as well as collectors, are selling/purchasing these "walker dolls" as authentic Gigis, though unmarked. Needless to say, people are paying top dollar for these dolls, not knowing that the Hoyer company DID NOT make the Gigi as a walker. This information came directly from Mary Hoyer herself, her daughter Arlene, and her granddaugher, Mary Lynn Saunders. Gigi dolls had double stitched wigs and NO BELLY BUTTON!

I've met Mary Hoyer quite a few times, and in the picture below, it shows her and I sitting on the couch discussing Gigi at a "tea" that was held at her granddaughter's house in Lancaster. Mary Lynn had asked me to bring a few dolls with me to show her and to authenticate them. We sat and discussed the outfits, how she came up with the design, and why she used certain fabrics for the clothing. It was facinating to hear her tell about certain dolls, why they were created, and fond memories she had making them. I brought ten dolls with me and she examined each one and signed them for me. That was a wonderful surprise.

mary hoyer

And now............on to the dolls!!!

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