Dolls and Doll-related Items for Sale

Sunday, December 7, 2014

18" Miss America by Tonner

Since I've been too busy to post very much, or at all, this is going to be a two-for-one post. I'm going to introduce my two 18" Miss Americas, and I'm also going to show the one doll wearing a dress that I made from a Dale Rae Designs pattern. I'll be going into more detail about the dress on my doll sewing blog, which I've neglected horribly since I haven't done sewing for a while.

Tonner's 18" Miss America dolls were not on the market very long; they were produced in the early 2000s. Tonner produced a redhead, blond and brunette, and they came in a swimsuit version and a formal wear version. The brunette also came in ballet wear, presumably for the talent competition. There were a couple of outfits produced as well, one which I remember included a Miss America ball cap and casual wear. Miss America shared a body with Tonner's Kitty Collier dolls. Kitty Collier's story was that she owned a dress shop in... the late fifties, early sixties, taking a stab at it by the clothing style. There were several dressed Kitty dolls produced, and several separate outfits. 10" Tiny Kitty and her friend Simone proved more popular with doll buyers, although I remember reading that 18" Kitty is one of Tonner's favorite dolls.

I've considered selling the two dolls I own off. They aren't super articulated; their arms are jointed only at the shoulders, although their knees bend. And I don't know anyone else who owns these. But... I love their faces. I find them hauntingly beautiful.

Wearing her original tiara
Wearing a tiara produced by an independent artist

We'll start with redhead Miss America, wearing formal dress. She came with a tiara, scepter, and Miss America sash, for her triumphant turn down the runway. I still have the tiara as above, and the scepter.

This Miss America wears a beaded brocade dress, with a column underskirt and train-like overskirt. She also has gloves, earrings, necklace, and matching brocade shoes. The necklace annoys me slightly because it is just that little bit too short so that the weight of the clasp is the heaviest part and pulls the necklace down in back.

The shoes can be difficult to get on, since you have to twist the elastic just right.
The other doll I have is the blond Miss America who came in bathing suit, earrings, and slip-on heels. I think she had the sash too. She was essentially basic Miss America.

The sole of one shoe has yellowed pretty badly. Probably the glue underneath.
She's been wanting to wear something besides the bathing suit for years, so I bought the Dale Rae pattern, which includes the pieces for the dress she is wearing, and directions on making a stuffed cloth mannequin for more doll fitting, or to display clothes. The dress is extremely basic, and fits her closely, so it can be used to make pattern modifications for different looks.

I didn't bother finishing some of this. It was basically a test dress.
Her pumps were bought separately.
Miss America next to Barbie for a size comparison
Here she is next to her 16" inch cousin, Tonner's Sydney Chase
Lastly, she stands next to American Girl Samantha, who matches her in height
I really do love these dolls, and I don't have to have a high degree of doll articulation, so in truth I will probably keep these girls for a long time, and add a brunette to the mix at some point. The one issue I have with them is that they all have the same hazel eye color. I find them gorgeous, and fun to display.


  1. Hi Barb, personally I think Miss America's face mold is one of the most beautiful Tonner has ever made. I don't mind it either that she isn't highly articulated, somehow it even adds to her charm for me. I have one Miss America, and would love to have one more, but they are almost never for sale on EBay or other sites. The dress you made is lovely on her, the fabric is great too. Your other Miss, in her original outfit, is stunning!

    1. Yay! Now I know someone else who owns a Miss America. I agree; I think Miss America's face is some of Tonner's best work. I would imagine these dolls are harder to find in Europe, since they're rarer overall. Thank you for the compliment on the dress.

  2. They really do have lovely (and detailed!) faces - I can see why that alone would make it hard to part with them.

    I'm not familiar with these releases - Were they made to look like specific beauty contestants, or are they just Miss American-themed?

    1. They were just Miss America themed; I think the three dolls share a face mold, and they aren't made to look like any one person. Pretty sure Tonner did have to cut some sort of licensing deal with the Miss America pageant, though. He then went on to issue some Miss America dolls in the 16" range; again, this was the same mold for each one (although different from the 18") with different costumes and hair color. The face mold has made other appearances in the Tonner 16" world as Charlotte.

  3. I didn't know of these huge Tonner dolls, they are beautiful!