Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

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The Chain of Dolls
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the fold and cut design known as the Chain or String of Dolls. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

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1860

The earliest diagrams that I am aware of for the Chain of Dolls appear in 'The Girl's Own Toymaker' by Ebenezer and Alice Landells which was published in 1860 by Griffin and Farran in London and Shephard, Clark and Brown in Boston.

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1894

'Jeux et Occupations Pour les Petits: Guide des Mères et des Institutrices' by Henriette Suzanne Brés was published by Librairie Classique Fernand Nathan in Paris in 1894, contains a page illustrating several Chain of Dolls designs.

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1920

A 'Group of Dancing Brownies' is included in 'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was first published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1920.

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1922

Several variants, 'The Dancing Skeletons / Grandma's String of Dolls / The Dancing Girl's' appear in Houdini's Paper Magic', which was published by E P Dutton and Company of New York in 1922

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1932

'A Cordon of Police' and various other variants appear in 'Winter Nights Entertainments' by R M Abraham, which was first published by Constable and Constable in London in 1932.

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1935

'La Nature' Issue 2944 of 1st January 1935 contained an article by Alber headed 'Dechirures et Dechiquetures de Papier' (Paper Tearing and Shredding?) which explained how to present the making of several versions of the Chain of Dolls and Paper Doilies as magical effects.

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1937

'Bears' appears in 'Paper Toy Making' by Margaret Campbell, which was first published by Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Ltd in London, probably in 1937, although both the Foreword and Preface are dated 1936, which argues that the book was complete at that date.

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1940

'El Plegado y Cartonaje en la Escuela Primaria' by Antonio M Luchia and Corina Luciani de Luchia, which was published by Editorial Kapelusz in Buenos Aires in 1940 contains a section called 'Siluetas Recortadas' which explains how to make several fold and cut figures and a versdion of the Chain of Dolls.

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1949

Several patterns for zigzag friezes appear in 'Au Pays des Mains Agiles', which was published by Editions Fleurus in Paris in 1949, under the title of 'Ribambelles'

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