Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review: Love, Shirley Temple Catalog

Love, Shirley Temple
by Donna C. Kaonis

Catalog for Love, Shirley Temple. Courtesy, Theriault's

I could hardly put down  “Love Shirley Temple,” the hard cover volume containing the lifetime memorabilia of Shirley Temple.  The movie costumes, props, dolls, toys and celebrity memorabilia belonging to the iconic child star was  a journey through the Golden Age of Hollywood, whose reigning star during the 1930s was this incredibly multi-talented little girl. An enormous  hard cover book produced by Theriault’s, it is over 350 pages and will surprise and delight you, especially if like me, you enjoy watching old movies. It just might become your favorite coffee table book! 

Growing up in the fifties I had missed seeing Shirley Temple on the big screen, but with the advent of  television, there she was, and like millions of other baby boomers, she captivated us. For four years during the 1930’s she was the world’s box number one office champion. Famous co-stars, movie producers, directors, political figures and various admirers showered her with dolls, the majority contemporary at the time, but a few much earlier. Some might have assumed that Shirley’s doll collection would consist solely of S.T.  dolls, but the vast majority of dolls were popular dolls and toys from the 1930’s; this includes Madame Alexander (including eight mystery dolls), Cameo, Lenci, Georgene Novelties, Effanbee, Arranbee, Ideal, Disney, Nancy Ann Storybook, Swiss wooden dolls, Knickerbocker, Schuco, German bisque, Schoenhut, Farnell, Freundlich, teddy bears, Asian dolls, dolls from artists Mary McAboy and Mary Frances Woods and many more.  Of course the Shirley Temple dolls are the best of the best, all in original clothing, and many in one-of-a-kind costumes made in the wardrobe department using the same fabrics and trims as Shirley’s costumes. Vintage photographs show the young star with many of these dolls which remain in remarkable condition. 

Shirley’s mother, Gertrude Temple kept everything! The amazing costumes worn by Shirley in forty films, dolls, toys, scripts, photos, celebrity photos autographed to Shirley, letters and notes, costume sketches, movie posters, props  and more.  Expensive gifts…a child-size racing car given to her by Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, a diamond-studded police chief badge, the  Steinway baby grand piano gifted to her by the Steinway family, a personal autograph album with hand-colored illustrations by Disney artists, a Charlie McCarthy doll presented to Shirley by Edgar Bergen, a gorgeous beaded suede dress and moccasins from the Blackfoot Indians, the hand-tooled leather saddle from the CEO of 20th Century Fox….the list goes on and  on. Even political memorabilia…. letters from J. Edgar Hoover, governors, the secretary of treasury and president Franklin Roosevelt. 

Beginning in late April the collection was on view at museums across the country - in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Texas, Kentucky and lastly in Kansas City, Missouri where the collection attracted not only doll collectors, but collectors of Hollywood memorabilia and a worldwide fan base. Along with her movies, this commemorative volume, an amazing compilation by Florence Theriault, celebrates the extraordinary life of this legendary child-star.

Hardcover, 10.5 x 10.5 inches, 356 pages, $75. Order from

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