A Life of Faith

Best Friends from Another Time
About the brand: 

There is no doubt about it -- the Life of Faith dolls from Mission City Press are very high quality dolls. They have all vinyl bodies that are beautifully molded and painted. Unlike other all vinyl dolls, such as Magic Attic Club and Carpatina, which are much slimmer, these dolls can share clothing quite well with the popular American Girl dolls.

The Elsie Dinsmore doll was the brainchild of Christian homeschooling parents Lee Bereza and her husband Bill. They wanted a wholesome doll, based on the books by Martha Finley, for their daughter Sarah and for other young girls like her. The Elsie character is very pious, which explains why the dolls' arms are molded so that they can clasp their hands in prayer. It was a family business, Breezy Point Treasures, and the dolls were originally manufactured for them by the Lee Middleton doll company (of Ohio) starting in 1998 with final assembly done by the family in their home.

Mission City Press bought the doll line and, in 2002, came out with a greatly expanded collection. The dolls were still made in America by RJG Toys, LLC of NJ. Elsie and Mildred (now called Millie) got makeovers; they were the same sculpt but their painting, costuming and hair was changed dramatically. Elsie got ringlets and Millie's hair went from black to blonde. The styling and costuming of the new dolls was done by doll maker Robin Woods and shows her frilly, exceedingly feminine style. All of the extensive line of clothing that is available for these dolls reflect the Southern Belle, antebellum fashions of the dolls' characters from the books and were not overly accurate to the eras. The clothing featured lots of frills, trims and ruffles and layers and layers of underclothes.

Three new dolls were introduced by Mission City Press: in 2004, Violet (Elsie's daughter), in 2005, Laylie, a girl born into slavery, and in 2006, Kathleen, a Depression-era character. Laylie and Kathleen both had new face sculpts by Robin Woods. Mission City Press also started A Life of Faith Girls Clubs, which was both in-person and on-line. In 2009, the original three dolls, Elsie, Millie, and Violet, got new Presentation Outfits (outfits the dolls were sold wearing) and reportedly were of slightly lesser quality, presumably as a cost-cutting measure.

The company went out of business in 2010 due to increased costs related to manufacturing, shipping, and safety compliance testing, as well as the downturn in the economy.

If you are looking for a quality play doll with a Christian message, the Life of Faith dolls are worth tracking down on the secondary market. Even if you are turned off by the book series and would have preferred normal arms, the dolls, as dolls, are still exceptional. Priced at $99.99, they were not inexpensive and they and their wardrobe items have gone up in price if you can find them new.

18.75 in
Doll types: 
Play dolls
18 inch vinyl play dolls
AG clothing compatible
Primary material: 
Hair type: 
Eye type: 
Fixed/Inset acrylic
Doll ages: 
Child dolls
Target age (of owner): 
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