Holly Hobbie plush dolls – a 1970’s sensation!

23 Aug

Holly hobby hobbie knickerbocker 7″ plush doll

Where did these plush dolls get their name?

Holly Hobbie (born 1944) is an American writer and illustrator. She was born Denise Holly Ulinskas and she married Douglas Hobbie in 1964. She and her husband currently reside in Massachusetts.

In the early 1970s, Hobbie sold distinctive artwork of a cat-loving, rag dress-wearing little girl in a giant bonnet to American Greetings. This series of illustrations became immensely popular and her originally nameless character became known as “Holly Hobbie”.

How did the artwork come to be a doll?

In 1973 and 1974, Holly Hobbie was working at American Greetings under art director Rex Connors. Rex was responsible for launching “blue girl” as the most identifiable of the Hobby characters. Bob Childers, a veteran concept artist and designer was also working with Rex on the “blue girl” project at that time. Childers insisted that there should be a doll. Since no one seemed to listen, Childers went home and, on his own time, hand-stitched the first prototype and presented it to Connors. Rex then took the doll to Tom Wilson, Creative Vice President, after which American Greetings approached Knickerbocker Toys concerning the Holly Hobby license.

And the rest was history……………

In 1974, Knickerbocker Toys licensed the Holly Hobbie character for a line of rag dolls, which were a popular toy for young American girls for several years. Knickerbocker produced the Holly Hobbie doll and a line of dolls called Hollie Hobbies friends.

They were Carrie, Heather, and Amy. Each of the dolls wore “pioneer” style clothing that you would expect to see a young girl in the 1800’s in the American west wear:  bonnets, pantaloons and calico frocks. They all wore their hair in a style of the same era: parted down the center with long braids to each side of their heads. Each of the dolls was caucasion.

Holly hobbie knickerbocker 16″ plush doll friend 1

Holly Hobbie

Holly Hobbie has brown eyes, and very light brown hair. She wears a blue patchwork dress with trim in a blue print over a white background. Her bonnet and pantaloons are a coordinating blue calico print. This is the traditional outfit for Holly Hobbie. Some Holly Hobbie dolls featured her in a pastel patchwork dress with light blue calico trim and matching bonnet. Her pantaloons were blue circles over a white background.

Holly hobbie knickerbocker Carrie 16″ doll friend


Carrie has blue eyes, light brown hair and a scattering of freckles across her face. Her outfit is an orange flower print over an ivory background and hems and ruffles in a coordinating red.

Holly hobbie knickerbocker Heather 16″ doll friend


Heather has brown eyes, brown hair and freckles. Her outfit is a green flower print over an ivory background with trim in ivory. She also wears an ivory apron.

Holly hobbie knickerbocker Amy 16″ doll friend


She also wears an ivory apron. Amy has blue eyes and light red hair with freckles. Her outfit is white flowers over a dark green background and trim colors in a pale green. She also wears a pale green apron.

Holly hobbie knickerbocker day night 16″ plush doll

Would you like to share Holly Hobbie with your granddaughter? They still make them! Here’s a great assortment available at Amazon:

The Original Holly Hobbie Doll

The Days of Holly Hobbie (A Cricket book)

Colorforms Retro Holly Hobbie

LOVE IS THE NICEST GIFT OF ALL from the Holly Hobbie™ Collection – 3×3

Thanks for visiting Katrina’s Toy Blog!


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3 Responses to “Holly Hobbie plush dolls – a 1970’s sensation!”

  1. Lisa Philpot March 6, 2017 at 11:09 am #

    Ive found the newer HH dolls and bought them for my daughter….however I have been looking for the original HH who was 3+ feet tall and had elastic straps on the bottom of her feet … I would walk or dance with mine for hours… Id love to reconnect those memories for her and my grandkids as they grow… Any thoughts or ideas?? Ive looked in places like ebay and amazon … IM looking into hopefully more prospective lesser traveled sites… Thank you for your time.


  2. Paulini August 3, 2018 at 10:06 pm #

    I can’t find the name of the braid on HH. Holly’s braid has unravelled and I need to re braid. Any help appreciated.


    • Katrina January 27, 2019 at 5:15 pm #

      I’m not sure what exactly you mean. If you need to re-braid the hair and you’re not sure which type of braid is needed, I would do a google search for Holly Hobby, click on images, and start scanning for a picture of your specific doll. If you find it, you will be able to replicate the braid.
      Thanks for visiting my blog.


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