I remember playing with paper dolls. They weren't oriented towards Disney and television characters either. They were original illustrations of pretty women with a beautiful wardrobe that you had to punch out or cut. Punch out ones seemed to come along later now that I think about it. I kept the sets in old cigar boxes. I think the graphics and the cutting them out was the most appealing. Once you had put on all the outfits, you were kind of done with them for a while. So it was probably more of a means than an end of a plaything.
My first paper dolls in my ephemera collection were from a Pennsylvania church rummage sale. They were meticulously cut from old magazines having been printed I suppose in a publication etc. Then all placed in labeled envelopes. I was able to discern the date only by an ad that I found and then Google'd. It had been printed in part on back of one of the dolls. I figured 1903 or so.
From here over the years I came across sets or so. Some being in nice lithographed pocket folders and others in zip lock bags, their original state unclear. But I remain on the hunt and fascinated by them.
It was when I was creating some promotional material for Belle Glamour Photography that what would be nice was some originality. I was just creating the boring postcard and tri-fold brochure. I stopped and thought, "I can do better than this type of stuff!" And having thought about what would be fun for me to get in the mail is something interesting and novel. I thought of a boudoir paper doll. Now, I'm sort of hooked creating my own. But, here is my retro boudoir paper doll that I will send or give out to prospective photography portrait clients.