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August 03, 2010


Magnolia Bay Quilts

I've never seen a Poor Pitiful Pearl doll. I think she's pretty cute. I'm interested to hear your sister's recollection of Pearl and why she loved her so much.

Hope Sophie feels better soon.


Although I never had a Pitiful Pearl (or even knew about her), I did trade a perfectly good Pound Puppy for a pitifully banged up stuffed cat. The cat had one leg with no stuffing, and the embroidery floss that made it's mouth was hanging loose at one side. It was dingy and scuffed and one ear was just a little crooked. I wanted it desperately for two reasons - first, because it looked like it needed someone to care for it, and second because I KNEW its true name: Kittywhumpus.

Shelley dionne

Sophie and Pearl are both looking pretty pitiful! :) Maybe your sister will let you give Pearl a "make-over" now that you're all grown up and more sensible ;) LOL!


My sister and I both had Poor Pitiful Pearl well as the original Barbies with the black & white striped bathing suits.'s what I did--perhaps I should consider a therapist after this one--I LOVED my Pearl doll and saw fit to remodel Barbie by giving her a DUCK TAIL HAIRCUT!!! Oh, yeah--now WHAT does THAT say about a kid's view of things???? argh!! I too had forgotten about Poor Pitiful Pearl and will send your blog from today to my sister because I know she's gonna' have plenty to say to me about Barbie's make-over way back when!! p.s. I now have a small collection of Madame Alexander dolls--go figure!!

Susan Ramey Cleveland

We, my younger sister and I, used to operate on our dolls--put things in then take them out. So they all became pitiful after a while.
Give California Sophie a scratch for me. She looks so sad.

Mary Shyne Seals

She rings a bell. The doll was made in the mid- to late-50s and early sixties, so, the timing for it is right; the babushka looks so familiar to me. While she may have been mine, it could possibly have been Kate's. What really gave me a jolt when you said, "maybe my sister loved her because she was more pitiful than she felt herself to be?" That does sound exactly like me. I would have loved a pathetic, homely doll far more than I would have loved a pretty doll.

That being said, Kate actually uses the phrase "Poor Pitiful Pearl" from time to time (as a mock expression of sympathy), so the doll could just as likely been Kate's, and I perhaps remember Pearl vicariously.

I googled Pearl, and I learned something interesting. See her little round knob of a nose? The idea for Pearl came from a post-Depression cartoon drawn by the a man named William Steig, who would eventually -- many years later -- design the movie character "Shrek." See any resemblence?


Oh, I still have a Poor Pitiful Pearl doll, although it's not my original. I just loved her. Yes, she came with a dress-up dress but I never put it on her. I loved her just the way she was. I think I identified with her "pitifullness" factor as that's how I always felt. Glasses and buck teeth and all. Maybe that's why I always cheer on the underdog! Thanks for the memories!!!


My grandmother's name was Pearl, and my mother's middle name is Pearl and she HATED IT.I think because of the pitiful thing. I never saw the doll but I do remember 'Pitiful Pearl' as something people would call you if you were feeling downtrodden.

Mary on Lake Pulaski

This has been such a great post Nicole - from what you wrote all the way through the comments. I did not know Poor Pitiful Pearl, but I do now.


My younger sister had a Poor Pitful Pearl doll and she was definitely a sad looking thing, with a little tear on her cheek. I didn't understand the appeal (I had my beautiful Bride Doll) but I think my sister thought Pearl looked like she needed a good home!



I have a Pitiful Pearl doll, still in her Pitiful clothes. I didn't want her. My mother relates that I said, "I don't like she face." But mother kept her anyway and gave her to me later when I was much older. And so I think of my mother when I see Pitiful Pearl (whom my granddaughter's play with now).

lizz embry

It might be association by suggestion, but the bridge of the nose and upper lip sure do look Shrek-Like....

Barbara Anne

I never saw a Poor Pitiful Pearl doll when I was a child. She's sweetly cute and in need of a hug!

I had/have the original Barbie in the striped swim suit. The only thing I did to her was to finally comb the end of her ponytail.

Please give your sweet Sophie a hug for me. She looks to be in need of a hug, too.

Hugs! (never in short supply!)

Sheryl W.

LOL We must be of the same generation. I do remember Pearl, although I didn't own one. I like her the way she is! She looks like she just arrived at Ellis Island a hundred years ago. My mom latched on to the name quickly. Whenever one of us kids would pout and feel sorry for ourselves, she would say, "Poor Pitiful Pearl", quite sarcastically!


I have never heard of her she sounds interesting I had A baby doll when I was little My Grandparents bought her for me when they went on holiday to Blackpool In England I had her for years.
Hugs Mary.


I had to look twice when I read Pam's comment because my grandmother's name was Pearl and my middle name is Pearl. In some ways I like it. My first name is Betty and a highschool teacher told me my name meant "precious gem,consecrated to God". Thereafter, I thought it was a neat combination although sort of like Minnie Pearl too.


Nope, Pearl wasn't mine either. Perhaps she belonged to Trish?

I had the Madame Alexander ballerina in the pink tutu... Rose. She is in a box somewhere in the attic, poor thing.


I have never heard of her, Pearl... she looks sad to me, that's for sure. Quite a thought provoking post. It also made me wonder if my sisters read my blog - my mom knows I do one, I don't think she reads. I don't know if my sisters even know.

Love the quilt you are finishing up - you do such great work with your colors, layout, ect!


I nearly died when I read this post. I had an older cousin who had Poor Pitiful Pearl! She loved that doll. I never knew there was another one out there like her. Unfortunately she died in childbirth in the 60's but every time I think of her I also remember that doll. Thanks for the memory push.


I had a Poor Pitiful Pearl doll, and I loved her. Just the way she was. I think of her often. I don't remember anything about a party dress for her. If I remember correctly, she came barefooted.

Thanks for the memories.

Candice Harris

I had a Poor Pitiful Pearl when I was younger. She was one of my favorite dolls. I remember that she had two dresses, one all scrappy and the other was dressier. I wonder what happened to her.

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