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Dare Wright

The Lonely Doll

Edith and Mr. Bear

Dare Wright, 1961

(1915-2001) Dare Wright grew up in Cleveland.  She later moved to New York City to pursue life as a photographer, actor and model, and took her Lenci doll that her mother bought at Halle's Department Store with her. The publication of The Lonely Doll featuring her black and white still-life photographs of her doll was a smash success and made the New York Times Best Sellers List.  She wrote 18 other children's books using photography as illustration, and many featuring the popular Edith.

At long last, three of the Edith and Mr. Bear children's books have been reprinted.  I haven't heard any plans for more yet, and I fear that these three are on their way back out of print again, although there is certainly renewed interest with Jean Nathan's recent biography of Dare Wright.  This long-awaited biography is called The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll: The Search for Dare Wright, and is now available for $25. 

* designates a title still in print
Date with London.  Random House, 1961
The Doll and the Kitten.  Doubleday, 1960.
Edith and Big Bad Bill.  Random House, 1968.
Edith and Little Bear Lend a Hand.  Random House, 1972.
Edith and Midnight.  Doubleday, 1978.
* Edith and Mr. Bear.  Random House, 1964.
Edith and the Duckling.  Doubleday, 1981. 
*A Gift from the Lonely Doll.  Random House, 1966.
Holiday for Edith and the Bears.  Doubleday, 1958.
The Kitten's Little Boy.  Four Winds Press, 1971.
The Little One.  Doubleday, 1959.
Lona, a Fairy Tale.  Random House, 1963.
* The Lonely Doll.  Doubleday, 1957.
The Lonely Doll Learns a Lesson.  Doubleday, 1961.
Look at a Calf.  Random House, 1974.
Look at a Colt.  Random House, 1969.
Look at a Gull.  Random House, 1967.
Look at a Kitten.  Random House, 1975.
Take Me Home.  Random House, 1965.

Dare Wright's signature

Edith and MidnightA Gift from the Lonely DollEdith and Little Bear Lend a Hand

Date with LondonHoliday for Edith and the BearsThe Little One

The Lonely Doll Learns a LessonTake Me HomeLook at a GullThe Doll and the Kitten

Now Available for Sale

Used Books

Date with London.  Random House, 1961.  First edition with dust jacket. VG+/G+ $120.00

The Lonely Doll.  Doubleday, 1957. First edition with dust jacket. VG+/VG+ $195.00

The Lonely Doll.  Doubleday, 1957. First edition without dust jacket. VG. $110.00

The Lonely Doll Learns a Lesson.  Random House, 1961.  First edition without dust jacket. VG, minor wear at extremities.  $65

Take Me Home.  Random House, 1965. Hard cover with dust jacket.  VG/G-.  Dj missing material at folds; small blemish to front; protected in mylar.  $50.00


New Books

The Lonely Doll. NY: Houghlin Mifflin, 1998 reprint.  Hardback $16. Paperback, $6.95

Edith & Mr. Bear.  NY: Houghlin Mifflin, 2000 reprint.  Hardback $16. 

A Gift from the Lonely Doll.  NY: Houghlin Mifflin, 2001 reprint. Hardback $16. Paperback, $6.95


The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll: The Search for Dare Wright.  by Jean Nathan.  Henry Holt and Co., 2004.  New hardback, $25 


Hey, where's my favorite title?

Out-of-print books are harder to stock than new books, and some are hard to find, period.  If the title you are seeking is not listed for sale above, that probably means that I am currently out of stock.  However, I am always on the lookout for books, and will gladly quote you when I do find your coveted book. To add your name to my Wants Files, simply fill out a Book Request Form and I will e-mail you when I have a copy in stock.  Thanks.

Book Request Form

Ok, I am looking for a series of picture books that featured a teddy bear and a doll, possibly an Ideal doll, as the main characters. I believe I read these books in the mid to late '50s. Black and white photos were the illustrations for these books. The size of the books was larger than what is considered normal now a days. Great website/idea! Thanks for your help.

My mother used to read Edith & Mr. Bear to me over and over again when I was a child. I would like to read it to my own child someday, but have had no luck in locating any book in the Edith & Mr. Bear series.

Great site... I'm looking for books (I'm retty sure there was a series) about a little doll named Edith who lived in New York (?) with Mr. Bear and Baby Bear. In one of the books Edith runs away. The author was a photographer--they're picture books, but all in photographs. I used to LOVE these books back when I was a small child in the early 70s, but as I recall the books were not new when I read them -- they possibly came out in the 60s, maybe before. Do you remember these books?

Harriett:  I hope you can help me.  My brother and sister and I grew up in the mid 60's and all have childhood memories of books we used to read about teddy bears.  The books were actual stories where the teddy bears were the main characters. Although we do not recall the names of the books or the author, we do remember that the books were rather large (8 1/2 by 11 or larger).  I recall a page in one of the books where there is a bear sitting in a window frame of either an old house or an old barn.  We don't recall if there were children in the books or not -  mainly just recall the bears.  My brother recalls that there may have been a "tea party" involved in one of the stories.  I don't believe we would recognize the names of the book or the author, but would know the books by perhaps looking at the cover or pictures from inside it.  I know this isn't much to go on but perhaps you may be able to help.  I am interested in obtaining 3 copies of the books (one for each of us).  Look forward to hearing from you.  Thank you!

I'm looking for another in the series of lonely doll books.... I can remember a tea party or picnic outside where she's with the bears.  When I came across The Lonely Doll in the store I was instantly thrown backwards in time to early in my childhood....maybe the late 1950's early 1960's.  If you could assist me with finding this book I'd be greatful. I would love to purchase more of these
books.   Thanks 

My name is Edith and I grew up near New York City in the early '60s, reading the wonderful Edith and the Bears series. Having recently unearthed four, 1st edition Edith books that my aunt (an editor with Doubleday) gave me, I noticed that there was one from that era that I'd never seen, The Little One.  It would mean a lot if I could add this book to my collection.  Thanks so much!

Does The Lonely Doll book comes in hard back and color. I thought  when I read this book it was in color. If I can get it in color please let me know. I would like to purchase it in color form for a gift. thank you.  [the book was originally published in black and white.]

I have a friend who recently told me about these books and the story of Edith. She is interested in finding out which model of Lenci doll Edith was made from. Does anyone have any idea or any idea where to find this information?

I would greatly appreciate any information any one could give me about The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright. I bought the book for my sister in law after a visit to NY, and would love to be able to tell her my finds. I would love to know where the photos were taken.  Especially, what bridge that is, what beach, and also where that little boat was docked.  Any info at all would be so greatly appreciated.

Picture books with few (or no?) words that I recall from the early 1970s. Featured teddy bears photographed (not art work) in various poses in varying situations.  I am almost sure it was a series rather than one book, but the particular book  I remember featured the teddy bears playing dress up in different clothing; a boy bear and a girl bear, I think, getting into  their parent's closet, or their owners' closet, whichever.  One of those books that makes kids wonder whether their toys come to life when they aren't looking.  Any ideas?
You'll probably get lots of the same answer, because with the photography as an important element, it sure sounds like one of Dare Wright's books.  Some of her books are listed on the "Back in Print" link on this web site!
Dare Wright, The Lonely Doll. Edith and Little Bear play dressup in someone's closet and make a big mess.
Thanks for posting my stumper about the teddy bears.  The more I think about it, the more I figure the posted solution must be it.  I don't remember the photos being black and white, but I probably wouldn't have thought twice about them being black and white back then, after all, our tv was black and white.  And the picture of the doll looks familiar.  I won't know for sure til I buy one of the books.... so it's on to find your for sale page.......... incidentally, I didn't mind a bit paying the small fee to have it posted - it's well worth it! Another stumper of mine was solved a couple of years ago - you could bill me for that one, too - this is such a valuable service! thanks!

I have a Lenci doll collection and am delighted to find a book with the doll as its heroine!

One of your comments refered to a color version of the Lonely Doll. I too recall when I was little  habitually checking out of the Library a color version of the Lonely Doll (in the early 70's.)  I know you indicated it was originally published in black and white  however, was it ever printed in color?
I think there was a small gift-version of the book reprinted in the late 1990's that was in color, with a matching Edith doll, but as far as I know, the originals were all done in black-and-white.

Hi, after quite a bit of research, I learned that Edith was an original LENCI doll that was made in Italy in the 1920s. She was a 21", early #109 series child doll. She was purchased by her mother, who's name was Edith, at Halle Brothers dept. store in Cleveland, OH. "Little Bear", Edith's friend in the story, was a 10", 1950s STEIFF "Jackie" Bear. "Mr. Bear" was a SCHUCCO Yes/No Bear. After Miss Wright passed away, the doll was given to her  god-daughter, and the doll, I am told, is stored away in a safe deposit box in CA. 

A few years ago I heard on radio, an interview, I think, with Dare Wright's housekeeper.  She knew a great deal about Dare's life and mentioned a book she was writing about her.  I haven't been able to find any biography of Dare Wright and think it may have been stopped since Dare was still alive at the time.  Please, is it in the works?  What I heard about her made me admire her so much.  What a life she had!  The radio show was with Terry Gross, I think.

I rember these books so well from my childhood!  It was the photographs of the dolls and bears that stuck with me all of these years.  For many years these books were in my thoughts, but I could not remember the titles.  Recently, I heard of your website on NPR and was delighted to very quickly find these books!  Thanks much. 

I just read a fascinating biographical article on Dare Wright, written by Jean Nathan, in a magazine called "Tin House," in their Fall 1999 issue (Vol. 1, #2).  "Tin House" was a literary magazine that was bound like a book and originally sold for $9.95, so you may be able to find it on one of the used book sites or through your library. 

I remember my aunt had several of the books in the series. What I most remember was the pink gingham trim on the first book.  A few days ago, I saw a little girl with shoes made of the same gingham.  I told her mom about the book and this prompted me to think about asking my aunt about the books.  Then I opened the FAO Schwartz catalogue yesterday and lo-and-behold, there was a Madame Alexander version of Edith and little Bear!  I just ordered the three in print.  Now how do we get the publisher to get the rest of them back in print?  Should everyone here send in letters telling them we want to share Edith, Mr. Bear and Little Bear with our kids/grandkids? 

My mother bought me a few of the Edith books when I was a little girl.  I loved reading them and have continued  to share Edith's delightful stories with my children. For the past 27 years I have started out my school year by reading the stories to my students. They just love the books and are so sad when I read the last one in my collection. About 25 years ago one of my second grade classes wrote to Dare Wright. She wrote a personal letter to me and each one of the students. I was was so sorry to hear of her passing. Her books hold many special memories for me.

I remember the first time I read about Edith,Mr. Bear, and Little Bear, thier storeis took me to another time and place that I will always love. Today I read three of thier stories for the first time in 23 years. Two days from now I will gives these books to my daughter for her sixth birthday and I can not wait to see her fall in love with these books the way I did when I was a little girl. I agree with all the other readers who have madecomments on this web page,  PLEASE make the rest of the series available in new publication. They are truly beautiful pieces of art that need to be shared with many generations to come.

I'm 48 and still have all of my Edith and the Bear books,  and even Date with London. I was so affected by these books that I called my younger daughter (now 16) Liza Dare.

I am 29. I remember when I was a little girl my aunt used to read The Lonely Doll & Edith and Midnight by Dare Wright. By far they were my favorite books. My aunt was able to get The Lonely Doll for my daughter so she could enjoy the  story hopefully as much as I did .I am currently tring to get Edith and Midnight so my daughter and I can enjoy both stories together.I guess I am still a kid at heart.

For years I've had clear visual memories of a wonderful 
book I read again and again at the library when I was a little girl.  I could see Edith's face in my mind so clearly, but I had forgotten the name of the book entirely.  Then last month in Vogue I saw a review of The Secret Life of The Lonely Doll and I recognized my old friend immediately.  I was so glad to see The Lonely Doll was back in print.  I bought a copy immediately and am reading the (very sad) biography of Dare Wright.  I couldn't have articulated it as a child, but I loved the noir quality of the photos and the beautiful, sumptuous background in which they were shot. 

Dare Wright, Edith the lonely doll.  I have just finished reading the Dare Wright biography and have since purchased the Lonely doll series that are available in reprint.  These are wonderful books.  The photography is so lovely it takes your breath away.  I would like to own all the books by Dare Wright and wish that someone would convince Random house to consent to their reprint.

dare wright, the lonely doll. there is a fabulous article in the november 1985 doll reader doll magazine re: the exact nature of the edith doll, the 22 inch 109 lenci and there is a picture of the original doll in her original wig and clothes.  the article also describes the bears, shuco bears from 1956, and steiff bears  and the doll from "the little one"  a K*R  S & H  10 inch toddler bisque head doll with the number 126  germany 23 on her back with a composition body and starfish hands.  apparently, on the website for dare wright it states that the eyes of edith were painted blue by dare wright, presumably they used to be brown since i have never seen a 109 lenci with eyes any other color than brown, but then i haven'\''t seen that many.  hope this helps to identify the real edith.

Edith lives with Mr. Bear...one day while he's at work (?) she stacks up books and climbs up to look at Mr Bear's prized clock on the mantle...the books give way...and she tumbles to the floor... along with the clock... OOPS!!! She feels so badly that she tries to run away...but Mr. Bear finds her just in time and assures her that she's much more important to him than any clock could ever be! We had this book when I was a child (in the 60s). As I remember it was pink, and was illustrated with photographs. I'd love to find it and give it to my sister for Christmas (she has two children of her own now and is incredibly nostalgic!!!!)

I am looking for a series of picture books that featured a teddy bear and a doll, possibly an Ideal doll, as the main characters. I believe I read these books in the mid to late ‘50s.  Black and white photos were the illustrations for these books.  The size of the books was larger than what is considered normal now a days.  Great website/idea!  Thanks for your help.

 Two of Dare Wright's books, The Lonely Doll, and Edith and Mr. Bear are back in print. A Gift from the Lonely Doll, is being reissued in the fall of 2001, all published in reissue by Houghton-Mifflin. I too loved The Lonely Doll, as a child, and am writing a book about Dare Wright, to be published by Random House. Forgot to say that Dare Wright is from Cleveland!

--Jean Nathan

I was so happy to see mention of the Lonely Doll-- I remember that book!  I'm going to go look for my copy now :)

Lona: A Fairy Tale  was a wonderful book that my sister and I loved.  We haven't been able to find a copy, because it is out of print.  Help!?  Thanks for looking!

I've been thinking about this book for SO LONG and couldn't remember the title or author. Today I happened upon the new Edith books, and thought: this is IT, no, almost IT. Thanks so much for listing DW's bibliography on your site. I nearly cried when I saw the book cover with the doll's arms raised. Must have read this book 5,000 times. If you find it, I would deeply appreciate your letting me know.

I'm 45, and I remember the librarian telling me it might be nice if I left Dare Wrights books in the library long enough for someone else to discover them!  I was probably about 6, and never borrowed them again.  I had long since forgotten about them and one day in a bookstore I saw the familiar pink gingham on a paperback scholastic book.  I took it home (I could keep this one!) and shared it with my then 2yr.old daughter.  She loved it as much as I.  I found some dolls and a copy of  a gift for edith and the bears at a doll show, and then did something really evil!  I got back at that librarian!  I found a mint copy of Edith and Midnight at the library, took it out and then LIED, and said it was lost!  Paid $8.00 for it.  Then I discovered them on e-bay and now have 7 of the 10 edith books I know of in hardcover and yours.  I know that there is another called the little one, I've bid on a couple of times, and lost. thanks for the info on Ms. Wright. 

I received my book over the weekend.  Wow, the memories flooded back.  I even remembered the specific pictures in the book.  It's one of those I wish I had never given away when I was younger.  I imagine the one I had would now qualify as a  collector's item.  Thanks for sending it so quickly.  I have book-marked your website, and I hope we can do business again!

When I went to the library today I found two Edith books I had never seen and of course I checked them out - not for Jack but for me!  I do not think the library is aware that Dare Wright's used books from the 50s-70s sell on web for many hundreds of dollars.  These two are not yet republished - hope they will be one day soon.  I looked up Dare Wright on the Internet and found she died in February.  She was raised in Cleveland and Edith was purchased at Halle's Dept store. 

Edith, "the lonely doll", is a Lenci doll (Italian).  There was a very interesting piece on her author broadcast on the National Public Radio show "This American Life" sometime in 2000. I'm sure you can look it up in their archives. I just read that the author (and photographer), Dare Wright, died at age 86 in January of 2002.  Her mother had bought her the Edith doll "on time" when she was little.  I have a much older Lenci doll who looks exactly like Edith, except that she has ringlets.  Many of the older Lencis look alike, though nowadays (yes, they are still being manufactured) they have a more  exagerrated Betty Boop kind of pursed lips look.  Mine is dressed in a pink and green felt Victorian costume, complete with bonnet.  If anyone knows anything about the exact age and name of my doll, I would appreciate it.

Hello, I grew up in Germany. The German Edition of Edith & Mr. Bear (Edith und der Bär) was one of my most favorite book companions of my childhood - still it´s sitting on my shelves...  Later on, when I started to do artistic photography myself, I often recalled these simple and nonetheless so very elegant b&w compositions and the wonderful psychological insight Mrs. Wright shows for the characters of the book!  It´s nice to see now that there is a whole group of admirers of her work!  Hello to all of you!

I grew up reading these books as a child and now I read them to my little girl.  I even put up pictures of the Lonely Doll (framed) in her pale pink room.  It is a precious and comforting memory.

I found an original copy of this book on the internet. "Santa" brought it and an original copy of "The Lonely Doll" for Christmas 2002.  (Yes, Santa still visits 40something girls who love dolls.) I read the lesson book to my younger sister when we were children and she has our original copy.  The one I got was originally from a library.  I also bought a "much-loved" Edith doll put out by Madame Alexander.  She will need some sprucing up, but she is precious. I am so glad they are republishing some of the books. I got three for some nieces.  LONG LIVE THE LONELY DOLL.

I wish they'd reprint Doll and Kitten, it's such a cute story...one of my favorites growing up. The used copies are sooooooooooo expensive. The did reprint the Lonely Doll. Please Please Please reprint Doll and Kitten.

I would be most interested in any information you can give me about the wonderful, creative authoress, Dare Wright. My mother used to take me to the county library when I was very young, and that is when I discovered Edith and Mr. Bear.  I am almost 41, and those books made such an impression on me, that when I was in my hometown this week..I made a special trip to the County Library, just to see if I could find those books.  All I could remember is that one was green, they were larger than normal, and were about a girl doll who dressed up and her adventures with her other "toy's.  I was delighted to discover they still had them. I have since purchased the four in print books in hardback and would be very interested in Edith and Mr. Bad Bill, A Lonely Doll Story.  They are just delightful books, and bring back many fond childhood memories. Dare Wright was a very attractive lady, rather resembled Edith, and looks sad.  I assume she never married, going by "Ms.".  I do hope she did  not have a personally sad life, when she brought so much pleasure to many children, (and adults)  If you do have anymore information or can suggest where I can find some more about her, I would appreciate it!  Thank you so much and have a great day!

I loved The Lonely Doll books when I was growing up.  I checked them out from my elementary school library.  I never owned a Lonely Doll book as a child. When I came across one in a used bookstore 25 years later the memories flooded back.  I bought that one and then started doing my homework about the rest.  They are a true classic and it is such a joy to share these childhood favorites with my 3 daughters. The charm and innocence of these books are timeless.

There is an article on Dare Wright in one of the issues of "Tin House" Magazine. I can't remember the number of the issue, but if you to to the Tin House website, you can search with her name and find the issue. They sell back issues. I bought the copy and was pretty surprised at the odd relationship between Dare and her mother. Dare's whole life was very strange. Intriguing article! And some very striking photos of the author.

Hi, there. Hope all is well. Two bits of info. My book, The Secret Life of  the Lonely Doll: The Search for Dare Wright, is coming out in September from Henry Holt.  Also, I was reading through the material on your website about Dare and several people make reference to a piece I did on "This American Life," although seeming slightly confused about who did it and what it was. So--It is on their website at www.thislife.org and it is me talking about Dare Wright. It was not her housekeeper (!) as one person 
suggested. I was also interviewed by Jacki Lyden on "Weekend All Things Considered," not Terry Gross as that same person suggested. Anyway, I am sure I will find myself in Cleveland around publication and will look forward to meeting you at last. 

All best, Jean Nathan

Take Me Home.  I received this book for X-mas in 1968 when I was five years  old. I loved this book...lost and then found 25 years later.  I wrote a  letter to D. Wright and was responded by her neice, Brook, from the book "Date with London" in 1999. She said Dare was in a hospital and uable to respond but enjoyed my letter. I think this a a letter that any "Edith" fan would treasure. 

the lonely doll, the gift of the lonely doll.  I am so grateful to Jean Nathan for writing a biography on Dare Wright. When I was in the second grade I checked out The Lonely Doll almost every week from our schools' library.  I always wondered what happened to Dare Wright and if she was still living.  Now I know the interesting history behind The Lonely Doll.

Dare Wright, The Doll and the Kitten. This was one of my favorite books growing up. I really hope they put this back in print so I can share it with my daughter.

dare wright, all of the lonely doll and with the bears. these books that i so love, and share with my grand kids now are the best!thanks forever two dare wright.I will never forget her,she will always be in my heart.she had to be a wonderful person.

Dare Wright, The Lonely Doll Series. As everyone who responded, I loved these books and had "The Lonely Doll Learned a Lesson."  It was well worn, in fact, falling apart from so many children reading it.  My brother was kind enough to be sure I got it when books were being distributed in my family, and then heard the excellent NPR story on Ms. Wright and Jean Nathan and emailed me the info, which I had happened to hear most of myself. I really enjoyed reading the comments of others who remember the books as I do. I am saddened that someone who was suppose to love this series would think taking a book from the library and paying the replacement fee was cute, or that she was getting  back at some thoughtless library worker, when really she was only hurting children (and adults) who use the library. Inform the library of its mint condition book and donate the going rate for the title, or better yet,  perhaps offer to return it with any information you know about it or other titles.  Perhaps they would consider selling it to you for a slightly overmarket price so they can use the money for other purchases.

Web Resources

The Official Dare Wright Website

Jean Nathan interview on NPR

Lenci Dolls Website


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