Made to Play House
Dolls and the Commercialization of American Girlhood, 1830-1930
In Made to Play House, Miriam Formanek-Brunell traces the history of nineteenth- and twentieth-century dolls and explores the origins of the American toy industry's remarkably successful efforts to promote self fulfillment through maternity and materialism. She tells the fascinating story of how inventors, producers, entrepreneurs—many of whom were women—and little girls themselves created dolls which expressed various notions of female identity.
About the Author
Miriam Formanek-Brunell is associate professor of history and director of women's and gender studies at the University of Missouri in Kansas City.
Provides a fresh perspective on the construction of gender in America..a pioneering book of interest to collectors, historians of women and of consumer culture, and anyone who has a child who plays with dolls.
Formanek-Brunell effectively challenges the popular assumption that dolls are representation of patriarchal culture and that girls are passive consumers of that culture.
Much of the value of Made to Play House is its deft weaving of business history, cultural history, and material culture studies into a coherent, largely convincing, narrative... The vivid portraits of the female entrepreneurs with an agenda for childhood are the book's most significant contribution to the literature of history and business.
This superb interdisciplinary history deploys mechanical patents and material culture to chart the development of a gendered American doll industry.
The book makes a solid contribution to the literature on childhood as well as business history and... illustrates the use that can be made of material culture in historical research.
Other Titles in HISTORY / United States / General
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