Sunday, April 29, 2018

That New Book Smell... New Paper Dolls Fresh off the Press!

Remember that new book smell? That slightly dusty, slightly soapy aroma that hits your senses as you crack open a new book? As a kid I distinctly remember the arrival of the annual edition of the World Book Encyclopedia. My mom taught me to carefully open the book in several different places to gently break in the spine, and once limber we could dive in. Today we just look up stuff online, but back in the 1970s those books were my ticket to the world. My favorite volume was the Letter D because it contained a big section on dogs. I logged in countless hours looking at the little pictures of dog breeds and dreaming of having my own one day.

Now in my 50s, that new book smell is an integral part of my life and livelihood through my publishing company, Paper Studio Press. I’m lucky to have an amazing printing company here in western Maine. After each new print-run, I fill up our van with boxes of books and drive back, heady with the aroma of that new book smell.

New Paper Doll Books
New Paper Doll Books! Silent Screen Stars, Ladies of the Titanic, My Dolly and Me

Fresh off the press this month are three amazing new paper doll titles, Ladies of the Titanic by Norma Lu Meehan and Randy Bryan Bigham, Silent Screen Stars by David Wolfe, and My Dolly and Me by Eileen Rudisill Miller. I’m so proud of each book and I so enjoyed working with our talented artists and contributors. I hope you’ll add these special titles to your collection! They’re all available on and As publisher and editor, I was integrally involved in each project and I’m happy to give you some behind-the-scenes scoop on each of these special books.

Ladies of the Titanic Paper Dolls
by Norma Lu Meehan and Randy Bryan Bigham 

Ladies of the Titanic was suggested to us by Randy Bryan Bigham. An expert on early 20th century fashion, Randy offered a wealth of reference material to represent real women who traveled aboard the ill-fated ship. Based on the format of our paper doll books, we felt we could represent six ladies, four from first class and one each from second class and third class. Randy curated a collection of photographs and fashion notes for our artist, Norma Lu Meehan, who so lovingly illustrated the figures and their costumes.

I'm pleased to announce that Ladies of the Titanic Paper Dolls will be sold at the Titanic Branson Museum, the Titanic Pigeon Forge Museum and the Molly Brown House Museum in Denver, Colorado.

The doll on the cover is Dorothy Gibson, age 22, film actress and artist’s model. She and her mother, Pauline, escaped on the first lifeboat launched after the ship struck the iceberg. She went on to star in the first motion picture made after the tragedy, Saved From the Titanic, released a month after the sinking.

Ladies of the Titanic
Dorothy Gibson, featured on the cover, is wearing a pale pink chiffon and satin evening dress, trimmed with gold metallic lace, cream net lace and silk flowers.

The three dolls on the back cover represent millionairess and suffrage advocate Margaret “Unsinkable Molly” Brown, fashion writer and importer Edith Rosenbaum Russell and acclaimed fashion designer Lucy Duff Gordon (working under the name Lucile).

Ladies of the Titanic Paper Doll
Ladies of the Titanic Paper Dolls, Margaret Brown, Edith Rosenbaum, Lucy Duff Gordon

With her husband, Albert, Sylvia Caldwell, age 28, was a teacher at the Bankok Christian College for Boys in Thailand, but her ill health forced the couple to return to the United States with their young son, Alden. The Caldwells were second class passengers on the Titanic and managed to escape together in a lifeboat. Sylvia is best remembered in Titanic lore for asking a crew member on deck if the ship was really unsinkable. He replied, “God himself cannot sink this ship.”

Sylvia Caldwell, Titanic Survivor
Sylvia Caldwell, her husband and young son, all survivors of the Titanic.

Catherine (“Kit”) Buckley lost her life in the Titanic disaster, the fate of many women in steerage. At age 22, Catherine was immigrating from Ireland to join her half-sister as a servant in Massachusetts.

Catherine Buckley, Titanic
This photo of Catherine Buckley was taken shortly before sailing on the Titanic.

Silent Screen Stars Paper Dolls by David Wolfe

The lights dim, the piano plays and the film projector clicks as the first title card appears on the screen. It's the silent film era—the three-decade period at the beginning of the 20th century that gave birth to the film industry, Hollywood and movie stars. Silent Screen Stars, the 5th in "David Wolfe's History of Hollywood Fashions" series celebrates six of our earliest stars—Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Gloria Swanson, Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, and Greta Garbo—and costumes from their silent films.

This super-sized volume provides 6 paper dolls on a cardstock centerfold and 10 pages of costumes for the silent screen stars, plus authoritative commentary by David Wolfe, the popular artist and Hollywood fashion historian. This is my favorite David Wolfe paper doll to date!

Silent Screen Stars Paper Dolls
Dynamite dressed dolls from David Wolfe's Silent Screen Stars
Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford, Lilian Gish, Louise Brooks, Greta Garbo and Clara Bow.

Silent Screen Stars
David’s cover design captures the over-dramatic acting in silent films.

Silent Screen Stars Paper Doll Costumes
For each of his paper doll books, David sketches the costumes and like a puzzle, determines how to make the clothes fit on each page.

Lilian Gish Portraits
Always on a quest to perfect a likeness, David often draws several portraits before choosing one to attach to the body. For the final Lilian Gish doll, he chose the portrait on the right.

My Dolly and Me Paper Doll Book by Eileen Rudisill Miller

With two grown-up boys of her own, Rudy never had a little girl to shop for and dress, so creating the My Dolly and Me Paper Doll Book was a dream assignment. Because we are often asked for more African-American paper dolls, Rudy put beautiful Maia on the front cover along with her little doll Harper. Maia’s best friend is cute, blonde Caya. The girls have a fun wardrobe of clothes to wear for all kinds of activities. Not only do the girls have matching outfits for their dolls, but the dolls can swap outfits, too. I hope this will inspire little girls of today to play with paper dolls. In this easy-to-cut book, the dolls are around 9 1/2 inches high and the dollies are around 4 3/4 inches high. There are 32 outfits in all!

My Dolly and Me Paper Doll Book
Rudy’s preliminary cover sketch and the final cover.

My Dolly and Me Paper Doll Sketches
More preliminary sketches for My Dolly and Me Paper Doll Book.
My Dolly and Me Paper Doll Book
Front and back covers and some of the super charming clothes pages.

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