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Best Of: Hedda Get Better the Measles Doll from 1962

Wayback machine

Here's a Best of.....

By Kim Rossi

Let's take a trip back to Christmas, 1962. A little girl named Michele had a Christmas wish for Santa. Michele wanted to play Mommy. Mommies used to take care of sick children. It was part of their job description. Sniffles and sneezes, spotty rashes and wheezes. That was childhood, after all. Get sick, build an immune system, grow up.  Michele got a wonderful new doll from Santa that year. Her name was Hedda.

Bella bday 002

Hedda slept through the night like a dream.

Baby smiling 

Hedda smiled at her Mommy

Baby in between 

Hedda had one more face. In 1962, it was a face that every Mommy recognized and knew how to care for and love. So did doctors. In 2009, this face would instill fear, panic, disdain, loathing and angry cries that Michele was a very, very bad Mommy to Hedda.

Bella bday 004 

Hedda had the measles!  See the little hole in her mouth for the thermometer?

Yes, in 1962, measles were a common childhood illness. And little girls played with dollies that had the measles, and made them all better. So did doctors for children who got the measles. The full name of the doll was "Hedda Get Better."  Michele is my big sister. She found a Hedda doll on ebay this Fall and sent her to me. Perhaps I'll invite Hedda to Autism One, if she's feeling up to it.

How about your child? Is there a magic button you can twist so that he/she gets better? I wish there were. For each of us.

Kim Rossi is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.



I had measles in 1964. Here are transcriptions from articles and graphics I've archived, before Internet censors remove them in an attempt to rewrite history.

May 4, 1958 Pittsburgh Press: Measle-Catching Party - caption for photo of doctor scoping a girl’s ear: “The family physician confirms his suspicion that she is suffering from German measles. The disease is usually mild and causes no harm to youngsters.”

1958 children’s book with illustration of girl smiling in bed: “And just about everybody gets measles, mumps, and chickenpox, sometime or another… Once you have had them, you almost certainly will never have them again.”

1961 Reuters article: “Prince Charles, 12-year-old heir to the throne, has measles, it was announced today. The prince is in the clinic at Cheam school, his exclusive school west of London, and is being looked after by the school doctor. The rash appeared Tuesday and it is expected the illness will run its usual course. No further bulletins are expected.”

1962 Minneapolis Tribune, “Doctors Give Advice to Mothers Whose Children Have Measles”: “‘Everybody gets the measles during the epidemic, so they become immune,’ said Lundeberg… ‘The beginning of the season is late fall…’ If a doctor allows visitors, a layman or two (more than that can get the child over-tired) could be invited.”

Southern Bell ad showing happy-faced girl in bed with doll, book, dog and phone: “How to ‘Enjoy’ the Measles.”

Babar book: “Measles isn’t a serious illness, so after a few days the children were able to get up. But they stayed in their room and played quiet games.”

“The Rare Spotted Birthday Party” by Margaret Many: cover illustration shows ten children with measles spots, wearing party hats and smiling.

1970s Brady Bunch TV episode, Marcia speaking: “If you have to get sick, you sure can’t beat the measles.”


Kim - I remember Hedda get Bedda, but I didn't have the doll. I did have the measles and after a week I got better and was fine. I wish our children could have been so lucky to catch the measles and then after a week get over it and be fine for the rest of their lives just like us. My heart aches and I am still hoping or a miracle cure to help recover our children from the terrible tragedy of autism.

Bob Moffit

Today's doll with measles would have the evil face of CHUCKY … just to show how evil the measles virus has become since the advent of the MMR financially lucrative vaccine.

Gary Ogden

Thanks, Kim! Reality check. 1962 was the year from hell for me because of zits, the world's worst case, but, like Hedda, I recovered too. Same with measles and all the rest, although these were in earlier years.

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