< Unique Items

— Campbell Kid Doll

INDEX

Martha Willenbacher's (restored) Campbell Kid Baby
"A Petite Doll," circa 1920

In the 1920's, this happy little character once belonged to a little girl named Martha Willenbacher. Martha was born on November 6, 1923 when the Campbell Kid dolls were very popular.

 

Campbell Kids were first used in 1906 as advertising mascots for the Campbell Soup Company. The Campbell Kid baby was born in 1919. It had curved legs and wore a white dress, under garment and baby bonnet.

 

This doll has the unmistakable face of one of a Campbell Kids Dolls : the painted eyes, glancing to the side, composition head, cloth stuffed with cork body, and jointed at arms and hips. The doll was based on artist Grace Gebble Wiederseim Drayton's illustrations. The sculpted design was created by Helen Trowbridge. In 1928 Horsman lost the licensing rights for the Campbell Kid to American Character who manufactured Campbell Kids dolls under the "Petite Doll" label.

Martha Willenbacher grew up on a farm outside of Gouverneur. At the age of 16, she moved to the village to attend high school. She lived with the Sprague family on Barnes Street. A dear friend of hers described her as a "pack rat" who kept everything she ever owned until she was compelled to weed her collections as she had to downsize her living quarters.

 

A remarkable and interesting person, Martha had thousands of slides which she regularly shared with community groups. She taught Sunday School at the Methodist Church and was a loyal member of its congregation. She was also an avid member of the Business Women's Organization. The Tribune Press (June 24, 1987) wrote a story about Martha's collection of over 800 pigs. She said her "hobby had become a collection." Read the article about Martha Willenbacher's pig collection.

Campbell Kid Baby ready to go to the hospital.
August, 29, 2019

HOSPITAL DIAGNOSIS

13” Campbell Kid- Fully marked, all composition, head with extensive damage to the composition and crazing, missing toe LF, all toes gone RF, heavy craze to portions of the arms, bubble to navel on body torso, body discolored, in pieces with original clothing ( teddy, gown and bonnet) modern booties.

April, 2020 - The Campbell Kid and Dapper Dan return to Gouverneur, happy, pulled together and clean. Thank you Jamie Nafsinger of Antique Child Doll Restoration.

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