In our ongoing series Highlights from the V&A Museum of Childhood, comes Ellen, 1951. The placard reads thus:
"Ellen was a popular mass-produced doll of the 1950s who came with an array of everyday clothes and smocks."
What the placard does not say: “In a brilliant piece of psychological manipulation, Ellen’s creators had designed her to look as if she had spent the majority of her childhood on the streets, paying witness to nearly every horror imaginable. Children sensed the depths of her melancholy and so they held fast to her, trying to protect her from an evil they could not name, though it was true that no amount of attention would ever ease her suffering.”