Dean's Rag Books and Rag Dolls

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Dean's Rag Books & Rag Dolls: The Products of a Famous British Publisher and Toymaker by Peter and Dawn Cope

Dean's Rag Books&Rag Dolls: The Products of a Famous British Publisher and Toymaker by Peter and Dawn Cope.
New Cavendish Books (2009); hardback in jacket, coloured photographs on every spread; oversized; 256 pp; includes CD with database with almost 2500 records of doll information.

The Cope's data ws used in updating some illustrator details on our Book Topic Cloth Book List.

A large book with many, many beautiful coloured photographs on good quality paper. Peter and Dawn Cope are lifetime Dean collectors, whose other books will be of interest as well. The Copes present extensive, reliable bibliographic information.  Although the book covers both cloth books and dolls, the first 118 pages are devoted exclusively to the cloth books, and many sections further on cover them, as well. (and the dolls are fun to look at anyway!)

The bibliographic information is thorough, with detailed listings for each book, and photos of almost every Dean's Rag book published. This allows readers to identify their own Dean's Rag Books with confidence: the original years in publication, (author), illustrator, physical description, and "edition".

Amazing as this book is as a bibliography, it is also an interesting social history of childhood. Drawing extensively from company archives, the Copes describe the individuals who created these books, the forces that shaped the demand for them, the reasons for the evolution of the logo, and the technological advances in cloth bookbinding that changed their formats. All in all, an authoritative and thorough bibliography and a fascinating book.


  • a 55 page introduction
  • a 128 page product inventory of Dean's Rag Books, Dolls, and other items
  • Appendix: What the Papers Said about Dean's Rag Books and Toys
  • Appendix: A chart listing 345 Rag Books in Print from 1902 - 1939, indicating when a new edition was published.
  • Appendix: A chart describing 154 English rag books published in 9 foreign languages (many in French, see our Un Incorrigible Minet.
  • Appendix: A chart of 323 Alphabet books showing the words the authors used to represent each letter.(!)
  • Appendix: Two pages of Dean's catalogues, and also equally detailed charts about the dolls, showcards, and toysheet.
  • a section of Artist Biographies, including their books, particularly welcome since so many books are anonymous.
  • Extensive notes, and a Bibliography, all illustrated.
  • A good index, with each letter illustrated by a Dean alphabet book page.

Shipping Warning: This is a large, heavy book: If you are giving this as a gift, inspect the corners of the box before you open it. Mine had one corner bashed, although it was packed securely. Since it was just for our use, I didn't send it back, although I'm sure Amazon would have accepted the Return.


Rag Books And Rag Dolls

I definitely wouldn't mind getting my hands on a copy. This type of literature would be new to me but I'm certainly curious about it now.

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