Sunday, July 13, 2014

Remembering Tom Tierney, King of Paper Dolls

I am sad to share the news that legendary paper doll artist, Tom Tierney, passed away on Saturday, July 12, after a battle with cancer. Known as the "King of Paper Dolls," he was officially crowned during the 2011 Paper Doll Convention in Philadelphia. 

Our paper doll world has been shaped by Tom Tierney. When the paper doll industry was nearly extinct during the 1970s and into the 1980s, Tom nearly singlehandedly revitalized interest in paper dolls with the multitude of titles he created for Dover Publishing. Since that time he has produced hundreds and hundreds of paper dolls on subjects of all kinds for publishing companies, magazines, convention souvenirs and limited edition self published sets.

Because of Tom’s super-power work ethic, he not only leaves a legacy of paper dolls, but the history that goes along with it. Each of his books was meticulously researched, rendered and annotated with historic information. 

Representing OPDAG, Paperdoll Review and Paper Studio Press, I have been privileged to work with Tom for over two decades. We've had more lively phone conversations than I can count. Anyone who encountered Tom would be greeted with his bright smile and twinkling eye, and would then be regaled with stories of his extraordinary past which could include drawing posters for the war effort, cavorting with stars during his theater days, working as a fashion illustrator in New York City, or a sweet family story such as drawing characters for his nieces and nephews. My heart especially goes out to Tom’s niece, Kathy O’Tierney, who, with her husband Patrick, looked after Tom and helped with his business endeavors. After losing her husband last year, Kathy has been there to support Tom through his illness. Tom thought the world of Kathy and so appreciated her loving care.

Tom has enriched our paper doll community through his art, his knowledge and his charm. And his influence will continue to guide so many of us in our paper doll endeavors. Thank you, Tom Tierney, for sharing your life and talents with us.