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Tom Tierney, King of Paper Dolls, has Died in Smithville

tomTom Tierney, illustrator of the long-running and popular series of paper doll books for Dover Publications, died on July 12 at his home in Smithville, TX at age 85. The New York Times says Tierney “almost single-handedly revived the lost art of paper-doll making” in the 1970s as Barbie was killing a once-popular genre.

Born in Beaumont in 1928, Tierney studied art at UT Austin them moved to New York, where he began as a fashion illustrator. He spent most of his career in New York, drawing over 400 books of dolls and costumes ranging from Marilyn Monroe, to Drag Queens, to The Virgin of Guadalupe and the presidents of the United States, many with detailed annotations. He moved to Smithville in 2007.

leigh paper dolls

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2 Responses

  1. KJ

    Tom Tierney was the most important art teacher I ever had. As a kid I would hunt down his Dover books and beg my parents for them. I spent most of my time tracing the figures and garments and really learned how to draw from them. They were such a spark for the imagination! I learned movie history, fashion history, and even a history of women in power from the subject matter he drew. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at them (yes, I kept all of the ones that didn’t get destroyed from over play) and I had no idea he was a Texan.

  2. Christine West

    I used to work at Sam Houston Bookshop in Galleria I in the early to mid ’80’s. They carried a huge selection of Dover Books. The Tom Tierney Paper Doll books were by far the most popular and fans would hound us for when new arrivals might be hitting the rotating display. I will never forget the joy he gave to so many. I, too, did not know he was a Texan and send my thoughts to his friends and family. Thanks, Glasstire for remembering him today.

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