Will the Real Nanette or Nancy Lee Please Stand Up.

All five dolls in the first picture are marked R & B on the back of the head and are 14 inches tall. They are all made of hard plastic.

If you have read any books about Arranbee (R & B) dolls, you will already know that telling the difference between the hard plastic Nanette, Nancy Lee and other Arranbee dolls is difficult.  Arranbee began making hard plastic dolls in 1947.  They often boxed and tagged both Nanette and Nancy Lee dolls as the other doll. Therefore, if you don’t have the original wrist tag or box, your guess is as good as mine. However, According to Suzanne L. DeMiller and Dennis Brevik, in Arranbee Dolls, page 88, “Nanette tended to have a more pointed chin with a narrow face, while Nancy Lee had a wider face. With the development of flesh-colored plastic, this difference became markedly absent.”

Ghee, Thanks.  However, I can put on my Sherlock Homes detective hat and tell a few things about these dolls.


Mohair was used for doll wigs in the late 40’s and early 50’s.   The first Nanettes were strung (didn’t have walkers).  So I’m probably safe in believing that this little girl is from the late 40’s or early 50’s. Also, she is probably a Nanette. Her face is very similar to a Nanette doll pictured in on page 36 of Dolls and Accessories of the 1950’s by Dian Zillner. It was dated 1949 to 1950.  So, I really think she is a Nanette.



This little girl is also strung (doesn’t have a walker). Therefore, my guess is that she is an earlier hard plastic doll.  She is wearing a dress identical to a picture of Nancy lee in Arrenbee Dolls page 122.   However, to me the face doesn’t look exactly right. So, the jury is still out on her. Could I call her Nanette-Lee?

Floss hair was used by Arrenbee for their high fashion dolls and some little darling cut off the little tufts of curls next to the bows on her head. Floss hair doesn’t comb out well. So my guess she tried to comb the curls out and just made a mess, so cut the curls off.



This little girl is in a dress identical to a 17 inch Nannette doll in Arranbee Dolls page 103.   She has is a walker and really has the most common Nanette face I’ve seen in the 14 inch dolls. So, I’m 90% sure she is a Nanette. I should add, she has synthetic hair.



This little girl’s face is a little different than all the other dolls in my Arrenbee collection. Her face seems to be an in between stage from the mohaired doll and the doll in the red dress. She has a walker and synthetic hair. I think her dress is original, but she has replacement under garments.  Is she a Nanette? Probably.



This little lamb has a walker and is in an original dress. Her face is very similar to the face of a Nanette doll on page 116 of Arrenbee Dolls.  She is probably a late 1950’s doll because she is the only one that has knees that will bend.

It doesn’t really matter if these dolls are “officially” Nanettes, I like them all anyway.

If you can give me any additional information on these dolls. I’d love it. So feel free to comment below.


  1. Each one prettier than the next! Even though the “Nanette-Lee” doll’s face is a bit different she is my favorite. She looks very sophisticated and I love her dress! Great blog!


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