Women of Valor

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Timeline

Beatrice Alexander, 1895 - 1990

1895

Born Bertha Alexander on March 9, to immigrant Hannah Pepper, in New York

Step-father Maurice Alexander opens America's first doll hospital

1912

Graduates from Washington Irving High School, New York

Marries Philip Behrman

1915

Daughter Mildred born

c.1918

Designs her first doll, a Red Cross Nurse, in response to shortages of dolls caused by wartime embargoes; sells the dolls in parents' shop to bolster family income

Gives birth to second child, who dies in infancy

c.1920

Begins lifelong involvement with Women's League for Palestine (later Women's League for Israel); desire to earn money for the League's efforts is a significant influence on Alexander's decision to start her own business

1923

With a $1600 loan, founds Alexander Doll Company; shortly thereafter, moves production out of family kitchen on the Lower East Side

c.1925

At Alexander's demand, husband Philip resigns his job and joins her at the Doll Company

1935

Introduces Dionne quintuplet dolls, which bring Alexander Doll Company to the forefront of the toy world

1936

Fortune Magazine features Madame Alexander as one of three major doll manufacturers in America

1940s

Pioneers use of plastic for doll manufacturing

1951

Wins Fashion Academy Gold Medal Award for "the ultimate in design beauty of dolls"; wins again in 1952, 1953, and 1954

1955

Introduces Cissy, the first full-figured, high-heeled fashion doll, four years before Barbie

1961

Madame Alexander Fan Club established (later the Madame Alexander Doll Club); club membership later reaches 12,000, reflecting dolls' emergence as collectors' items

1966

Husband Philip Behrman dies

1981

Receives Distinguished Public Service Award from the Anti-Defamation League, one of many acknowledgements of her generous philanthropic efforts

1988

Officially retires and sells Alexander Doll Company

1990

Dies on October 3 at age 95, in Palm Beach, FL

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Beatrice Alexander - Timeline." (Viewed on April 17, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/alexander/timeline>.