I had two 8" Betsy McCall dolls when I was a child. One was light blonde and one was reddish blonde. I played with them a lot; I thought the barrettes were cheezy and interfered with combing, so I yanked them out immediately; also their knees also developed weaknesses pretty fast! One was so bad that I made leg braces for her out of pipe cleaners and pretended she had had polio.
When I got to be about 12 I decided I was too old for my play dolls and I declared I was giving them all away to charity. I dressed them in their best and put them in a box for my parents to take to donate. My wonderful mother quietly removed many of them and saved them for me -- my Madame Alexander Wendy, my ballerina Elise, and some others. She must have thought the poor lame Betsy's weren't worth saving, because they actually did get given away. (She waited about 15 years to tell me, but when she did produce Elise, Wendy and the rest I was thrilled!)
I knew I would like to replace my lost Betsy duo, but so did every other baby boomer of my generation and the prices were (and are!) very high. Then I was in a local consignment shop and I saw a tiny doll dress in a ziplock sandwich bag for $2. Old rusty synapses creaked and groaned as I made the connection. "That's a Betsy McCall dress!" I exulted. I bought it and practically everything else even remotely her size that was in the bin. I recognized the one dress (and learned later from eBay that it was "Bon Voyage") but I wasn't sure about many of the others.
Well, I had already gotten hooked on eBay and was busy collecting 50's ballerinas and other strange items. I started searching on "Betsy McCall" and discovered the wealth of stuff being auctioned for her. I can't afford most of it, and I'm still trying to fill out missing pieces from my consignment shop blitz, so I used eBay as a way to educate myself. That led to the idea of this web site and from there to a ton more information and contacts with other Betsy sites and collectors. Whoopee!
And yes, I do also collect the Tonner Betsy items
when I can... I have 1997 Betsy and 1998 Linda.