While looking around on the web for inspiration for this week’s post, I happened to come across this article in which the author shares a story of walking into a bookstore just to use the restroom, but instead, walks out with three classic books from her childhood and an appreciation for a Denver bookstore.
What caught the eye of the author and made her pause? The pink gingham cover of Dare Wright’s The Lonely Doll. I, too, would have paused at the sight of the book. I would have smiled nostalgically and reached for the book to flip through the pages. This book had long been displayed on the bookshelves in my bedroom at my parent’s house. Just like the author in this article, I was surprised to find out that there were more books following Edith and Mr. Bear’s adventures. According to darewright.com, there are ten books in the Lonely Doll series. Each book contains Dare’s beautiful black and white photographs from the late 1950s. The website also shares Dare’s other works, as well as photographs and background information about her life.
Dare Wright was a model, performer, artist, author, and photographer. Early in life, her parents divorced. Dare grew up with her mother, while her brother grew up with her father. Sister and brother didn’t reunite until they were in their twenties. Dare and her mother, artist Edith Stevenson Wright, were very close, and Dare often felt she had to compete with her mother’s talent. The doll featured in the Lonely Doll series was named Edith, but was styled after Dare, herself. The loneliness felt by the doll Edith seems autobiographical of Dare’s life.
I didn’t know anything about Dare Wright until recently; I just know that I always loved looking at the pictures in The Lonely Doll. Even though they were in black and white, I spent a long time looking at each page—especially the pages in which Edith plays dress up in the boudoir. I hope I get the opportunity to find and read more of Dare Wright’s stories.
Have you read The Lonely Doll? What other children’s books are you nostalgic about?