I have loved dolls, history, and the Victorian Era since I was little and can credit my grandmother for that. As a young girl she gave me a Godey’s Fashion print for August 1870 from my great, great Aunt Flossie. I was captivated by the dresses and became hooked. I just love to research everything and anything about the Victorian Era. I also love to design Victorian dolls. I hope you enjoy my Victorian Dolls, Victorian Traditions,The Victorian Era, and Me blog.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

How Wonderful! I Heard From A Descendant of Roxanna Cole - Hilarie Johnston

Conway, Arkansas Studio Portrait of 4 Generations

Back row left: Roxanna Cole - age 68
Back row center: Sarah Thurmond Hunt (Molly's Mother)
Back row right: Mary Love Harten (Sarah's Mother-In-Law)
Front row left: Molly Hunt Cole - age 44 (Roxanna's Daughter-In-Law)
Front row right: Sarah Harten- age 20 (Molly's Daughter) holding 1 Yr. Old Laura Harten

To my sheer delight in August 2016 I received a wonderful email from the great, great, great granddaughter of Roxanna Cole, Hilarie Johnston, asking me to contact her. She wanted to tell me that she had two of Roxanna's beautiful handmade dolls.

If you will recall back in April of 2016 I wrote a Linda's Blog post entitled "Roxanna Elizabeth McGee Cole's Beautiful Family Of 19th Century Dolls" that contained all the information, or should I say lack of information, I could find on Roxanna Cole.

Image Courtesy National Gallery of Art,Washington.

My research on Roxanna Cole all started with my perusing the collection of doll illustrations from the Dolls From The Index of American Design at National Gallery Of Art. I kept coming back to slide #3, which was shown in the picture above. I was drawn to it because it was a Grandmother (like me) and because it was about a southern lady who made cloth dolls to support herself after the Civil War.

The description was: Here is a handmade cloth doll representing a grandmother knitting a red wool sock. The doll was made by a southern gentlewoman who supported herself after the Civil War by making fine cloth dolls. This was the one-thousandth doll made by this woman.

The credits were as follows: Jane Iverson (artist), American, active c. 1935, Anonymous Craftsman (object maker), Wenham Historical Society (object owner), Doll, c. 1936, watercolor and graphite on paper, Index of American Design, 1943.8.15542

Given my love of history, especially where doll makers are concerned, I just had to know more. There was just so much reflection in the doll's face.  I couldn't help but wonder what she was thinking.

Well, it turns out the illustration above was actually of the "Grandma Cole" doll made by Roxanna Elizabeth McGee Cole who started making dolls in the United States in 1868.  Roxanna actually made this as a portrait doll of herself.

Of course, I had to find out more.  So, I scoured the internet, the library, and whatever doll books I could find.  Given the popularity of her dolls I was sure I'd find a lot of pictures of her dolls on the web. Since I knew several had been donated to the Wenham Museum and the Historic Museum of Arkansas I figured they'd have some pictures on their websites. I was wrong. They didn't.

I tried searching through some of the Smithsonian Institute's websites to see if there was any information on Roxanna Cole's dolls and was unable to find anything.  I was able to find two pictures of her dolls on the Arkansas Made Facebook page which is maintained by the Historic Museum of Arkansas.

I was hoping that if she had made a thousand dolls or more I would be able to see more pictures of them, but was disappointed. I resigned myself to viewing the pictures in the two books I had and contemplating a trip to the Wenham Museum in Massachusetts, which has several of her dolls.

That was until I received the email from her great, great, great granddaughter, Hilarie Johnston, asking me to contact her and telling me she had two Cole dolls. There was never any doubt that I would contact her. I was thrilled by the possibility of learning more about Roxanna, who was an amazingly gifted dollmaker.

I told her I was so happy to hear from her and would love to see and post pictures of the two Cole dolls she had and that I would  love to know more about her and her family. She sent the picture of her ancestors shown at the beginning of this post and the following pictures:

The picture above is of her two Roxanna Cole dolls.

They may be tattered and worn from age but just look at the beautifully painted expressions on their faces and in their eyes. Plus, you can see the shaping of the stuffing in the nose and chin which was characteristic of Roxanne's cloth dolls. You can only image how beautiful they were when Roxanna originally finished them.

Also, just look at the amazing amount of detail and intricacy involved in their dresses. I wonder how much time it took to sew them.


The picture above and the picture below are of a Cole doll made by Roxanna's daughter-in-law, Molly Hunt Cole. Her tag reads Molly Hunt Cole child.

I just love the picture above as you can see how beautifully her face was drawn. Plus, I just love her teeth and the fine drawing of her hair.

The above two pictures are of a quilt handmade and signed by Roxanna Elizabeth Cole herself. I was thrilled to see these as I had no idea she was a quilter, but shouldn't have been surprised given the historic timeframe.

Hilarie also sent the following pictures of a poem that Roxanna wrote and which was handwritten on one of the quilts that she had made.

Handwritten at the top was, "Lines handwritten in ink on a lovely old cotton quilt of patchwork in geometric shapes with embroidery in silk and chenille, including flowers and butterflies, etc."

The poem reads:

I've looked on rarer fabric
The wonders of the loom
That caught the flowers of summer
And captive held their bloom.

But not their wreathing beauty
Though fit for queen to wear,
Can with one household treasure
That's all mine own compare.

It has no golden value
that simple patchwork spread
It's squares in homely fashion
Set in with green and red:

But in these faded pieces
For me is shining bright,
Ah, many a summer morning.
And many a winter night.

The dewy breath of clover;
The leaping light of flame
Like spells my heart come over
As one by one I name.

These bits of old time dresses - 
Chintz, cambric, calico
That looked so fresh and dainty
On my darlings long ago.

This violet was Mother's
I seem to see her face
That ever, like the sunrise
Lit up the shadiest place.

The green was worn by June,
The sober gray was mine
And baby Laura the sprinkled pink
With buff and blue combine
And Bettie wore this mellow brown
Where dainty roses shine.

I turn my patchwork over, 
A book with pictured leaves
And I feel the lilac fragrance
And the snowfall on the leaves.

Of all my heart's possessions
I think it least could spare
The quilt dear "mama" pieced at home
When children all were there.

Roxanna Elizabeth McGee Cole

Hilarie told me that she was looking for the quilt that had that poem handwritten on it and that every time she reads the poem she cries. To see a handmade quilt with a handwritten poem on it reflecting on where the various pieces of fabric came from is so touching. Talk about a beautiful and cherished family heirloom.

In my previous research I learned that Roxanna's name was also spelled as Roxana from time to time. Hilarie confirmed this and said, "I think that Mom started spelling the name differently, but in various notes before Mom's article was written, I see Roxana." As a loving tribute to her great, great, great grandmother she named her daughter Roxanna.

The four pictures shown below are from the exceptional patchwork octagonal quilt that Roxanna Elizabeth Cole made.

Just look at the intricate details in the close-up picture above of the multicolored patchwork octagons created from multiple trapezoid rows with a log cabin center square. Each of the octagons is surrounded with 5-point stars with double or triple center squares. Can you image how much time it took to hand make this quilt and the artistic skill involved. It's just astonishing.

Hilarie mentioned that her mother, Estelle Johnston, had written an article on Roxanna Cole's cloth dolls which was published in Dolls magazine - November 1994 and presented at the Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art. Estelle and her husband Jon loaned the museum four Roxanna Cole dolls which were created by Jon's great, great grandmother in the late 19th century. The Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art, which was established in 1992, closed in February 2012.

Hilarie also sent the following four pictures of the article her mother, Estelle Johnston, had written which was a treasure trove of information on Roxanna Cole. Her article was titled, " Heirlooms of the Heart." The description was, "An unsung victorian heroine leaves the legacy of her cloth dolls and creative talents to future generations."

I was thrilled to read this article by Estelle Johnston as, finally, there was some information on Roxanna. Here's a few excerpts from Estelle's article:

"Roxanna Elizabeth McGee was born in Tennessee on August 3, 1825, and by the age of six had already made a doll. By her own description, it was life size, handsewn of cloth, and stuffed with bran, rocks, and nails to make it the weight of a real baby. In 1842 she married William Russell Cole, a merchant in Ripley. Mississippi. Between 1846 and 1867 she recorded the births of five children in the family bible: three girls and two boys. Her last baby, a girl, died young, as did many infants in the 19th century. Other important dates are unclear, but a letter written to a cousin in 1862, Roxanna described the that had made her husband sick in body and mind, "old, bent, angry and almost disheartened." He is thought to have died in 1867 or early 1868. She later spoke of being bereft of loved ones upon whom she had depended for support, but Roxanna refused to give in to the double-edged panic of grief and poverty. Instead, she put her needle and paint brush to work."

Roxanna followed her youngest son, William, and her daughter-in-law, Molly Hunt, to Conway, Arkansas and started making her cloth dolls.

According to Estelle's article in Dolls magazine and an article by The Boston Daily Advertiser in 1898 Roxanna first tried to sell her dolls in Memphis and New Orleans, but decided New York might be a better fit due to its' wealthy and aristocratic patrons and, hopefully, more demand.  Despite being told not to send rag dolls to the merchant she had contacted, as the merchant was already overstocked, she sent two of her exquisite cloth dolls.

According to Estelle, "Satisfied that the visitors and shoppers in the great market had never seen anything in the doll line comparable to the exhibit which she could send, she determined to renew her efforts to find a market there in New York."

"She says: "I took the liberty of sending two, anyhow; and it was not long before I had the pleasure or receiving an order for a whole dozen of my beautiful babies."  

Soon she was receiving orders across the continent and from Germany.

According to Estelle's article Roxanna not only made dolls to sell, but for her own pleasure, as well as for her family members. However, she didn't only make dolls, she also made amazing art quilts and 3-dimensional art pictures like the one shown in the article photo above and blown-up in the photo below.

According to Estelle's article: "One three-dimensional picture in the double frame of gilt and wood originally had leather flowers (another Victorian craft) applied all around, which have dried and disintegrated. But the scene itself is intact and a masterful interpretation of a doll panel described in a ladies publication of 1883, which suggested the use of a "puppet" cut out from a picture. Roxanna combined this idea with the technique of making pictorial scenes from bits of vegetation- in this case, a strip of bark and dried firs that form a tree with a hanging swing. The doll children are lightly padded figures with embroidered cloth faces and hands, dressed in lightweight wools with tiny beads for buttons and embroidery for trimmings. They have curls of human hair (no doubt snipped from members of the family) and tiny heeled leather boots. The dog appears to be fashioned of cotton wool with stitching and paint strokes to suggest tan spots. The entire scene is mounted on dark velvet. It is no longer known whether this picture marked any particular occasion, but even great, great, great grandchildren are still charmed by it."

Hilarie told me that one of her cousins has this picture and also has one of Roxanna's quilts - but, not the one with the poem.

Hilarie had this to say about her great, great, great grandmother: "I think that she was an amazing woman and her work has lasted because it is of a quality that is rare. The work of Izannah Walker is beautiful and masterful, but there is a consciousness of the finished "product", of production itself, which of course is one reason why there are more of them around."  I couldn't agree more.

There is no doubt that Roxanna was an extremely gifted artist capable of creating exquisite pieces in different mediums. Whether it was cloth art dolls, intricate art quilts, or astonishing 3-dimensional pictures she was extremely gifted and extremely talented. She was certainly an artist who believed in herself and her art and, certainly, wasn't going to let a little rejection from a merchant get the better of her.

I have to wonder, given her immense talents, what astonishing creations she would be making given all the tools and supplies available to artists and crafters today. With the patience of a saint and eye for detail you would think that "the sky's the limit."

I am so appreciative to Hilarie for contacting me and providing me with the information on her amazing great, great, great grandmother and pictures of her astonishing work. Thank you so much, Hilarie. Your great, great, great grandmother is a true inspiration for us all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Who Doesn't Love Paper Dolls?

Image Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ballerina and Bloomer Girls (Prima Donna) Paper Dolls
Publisher:Littauer and Boysen
Purveyor:Dennison Manufacturing Co. (New York, NY)
Dimensions:each: 14 3/8 × 6 1/8 in. (36.5 × 15.5 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of D. Lorraine Yerkes, 1959
Accession Number:59.616.403a-g

I don't know if you're like me or not, but I like to reminisce about my childhood and the dolls, toys, or items that I loved to play with. In doing so I always say to myself, "Why didn't I save them?" I wish I had saved all of them. Some of them would be worth a fortune today.

Unfortunately, we moved a few times and old toys were discarded. Plus, what child thinks about saving something so they can have it 50 years down the road? None, that I know of and certainly not me. So, all my old toys, "Barbie" dolls, other dolls, and "paper dolls" were thrown away.

Today, with the advent of computerized doll makers and graphics "paper dolls" are making a comeback. You can create your own doll online or in your own graphics program and then print it out on your color printer on cardboard stock. Then just cut it out just like you did as a child. You're all set to play. How great is that?

In the paper, scrapbooking, stamping, and mixed media area there are so many gorgeous paper dolls being created and supplies generated to help you with that. In the mixed media and scrapbooking arena paper dolls are becoming an art form. Some of the creations are just astonishing. If you'd like to see some beautiful paper art dolls my" Paper Art Doll  Creations" Pinterest board is here.

Plus, with the advent of the computers, paper dolls went virtual.  You can create your own avatar dolls and virtual doll worlds. Over the years I've created a few avatars of my own, like my YoVille Linda shown below:


The Linda avatar on the left is the original YoVille (now known as YoWorld) avatar I created back in 2006.  The Linda on the right is the "Punk" version.  DollZ, which is what digital dolls are now known as, are extremely popular with numerous websites devoted to them.  You can create the dolls, create their clothing, their homes, their worlds, their friends, etc.  It's mindboggling.

I would have loved having everything that is available nowadays for paper doll creating when I was a child. I can remember sitting on the floor for hours with my scissors and painstakingly cutting out pictures from fashion magazines, which I used as paper dolls. Or, cutting out the "paper doll" pages from my mother's magazines. Cutting precise lines with the round tip children's scissors was a little difficult if not downright impossible. However, I did my best which is all anyone can ever really ask of you.

Then I would sit there for hours on end using my "paper dolls" and play acting. Sometimes we would have a "tea party." Other times we'd have a fashion show with everyone lined up. Then my older brother would come in an mess everything all up.

Ah, the joys of childhood and siblings. That's an article for another day. Back to the "paper dolls."

On my list of "To Do's" is to create my own "Victorian paper dolls" based upon my own doll designs. The problem is finding the "time" to do so. There are just so many things I want to try and so many things I want to do. My own "paper dolls" is among them.

Of course, thinking about "paper dolls" got me to wondering about their origin. If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog you know how much I love traditions and research.

The who, what, when, and where did mysteries. So, I thought I'd find out the history of paper dolls and the traditions surrounding them. When exactly did the "tradition" of playing with "paper dolls" begin? So, I did a little research.

It seems that paper dolls have a history that is as varied as the paper dolls themselves.  Paper dolls over the centuries have been created for various reasons and in various forms, some of which would not resemble the paper dolls we are accustomed to today.

My Free Victorian Doll & Craft E-Patterns & E-Books

I love to create free Victorian doll & craft e-patterns, e-printables, and e-books for my blog readers and have created several of each.

If you'd like to read or download any of my free e-patterns, e-printables, or e-books just click on the image you want below. You'll be brought to Google Drive where you can view my free e-products. Then just download my free .pdf e-product from the File menu in the upper left hand corner.

Once my e-product is downloaded to your computer you can save it and print it. You can also save my e-products to your Google Drive. Have fun crafting.

Please respect My Terms of Use:  All patterns, e-patterns, printables, e-printables, e-books, tutorials, how-to's, articles and other e-products © 2004-2015 Linda Walsh Originals-Designs by Linda Walsh. All rights reserved. Commercial selling or reselling by any means prohibited without the written consent of Linda Walsh.

However, you may link to my website(s)/blog(s) and the individual page(s)/blog post(s) (including 1 picture) but do not copy, reprint or duplicate my website(s)/blog(s) or individual page(s)/post(s ) without my permission.

Items made from Linda Walsh Originals Products are intended for personal use for fun or small scale personal and business profit as long as you credit us with the design. Large scale commercial use (i.e. mass production) of items made from Linda Walsh Originals products are by permission only.

Please see my Terms and Conditions for additional information.

Copyright © 2004 - 2016 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

I just LOVE everything and anything Victorian Cottage, Shabby Chic or Cottage. I especially love watching free video's, reading free  tutorials, patterns, articles, and how-to's on making Victorian dolls & crafts. I hope you like some of the ones I've found.

Victorian Doll & Craft Tutorials, Shabby Chic & Vintage Tutorials, Video's, Pictures & How-To's board on Pinterest.

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Victorian "Ladies" Dolls

My love affair with the Victorian Era started a long time ago. In fact, sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era. My Victorian "Lady" dolls are all faceless because I wanted each to have its' own distinct personality. My feeling is that faces overwhelm the dolls personality and have a greater impact on her personality. I wanted the clothing, clothes, hair, color scheme, etc. of the period to determine the personality of the doll. I hope you enjoy my Victorian "ladies."

My Victorian Faceless Ladies Dolls

Designer - Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals

For more information on my Victorian Faceless Lady Dolls e-patterns and print patterns please CLICK HERE.

Designer - Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals

For more information on the Victorian Faceless Lady Handmade Dolls that I have for sale please CLICK HERE.

My Beautiful Ancestors

We've Come A Long Way Baby and Still Have A Long Way To Go!

I love to just browse thru history books, genealogy records, and the encyclopedia. Browsing thru the Wikipedia encyclopedia I came across the women's suffrage stamp (see picture on the left). In looking at the women's suffrage stamp I got to thinking about my great, great Aunt "Flossie" and my Grandmother "Dee." Why did these two women come to mind when I saw the stamp? They came to mind because they grew up during the time that the women's suffrage movement was at its peak.

Little history lesson : American women earned the right to vote with the passage of the 19Th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. This amendment was finally accomplished after years (actually decades, if not centuries) of effort by women, in general, and the women's suffrage movement, in particular.

My "Flossie" Victorian doll  is named after my great, great Aunt Florence (who is shown on the left). My great, great Aunt Flossie was born in 1882 and was the first women to go to college in our family. She graduated from Tufts University in 1904. She then went on to be one of the first women to work for the State Department of Corporations and Taxation. She worked for the state until she retired in 1947.

My "Dee" Victorian doll is named after my Grandmother Doris (who is shown below). My Grandmother "Dee" was born in 1896, went on to college and graduated with a teaching degree in 1917.

My great, great Aunt "Flossie" was a true believer of women's rights, as was my Grandmother "Dee". Both women were very intelligent and were very strong women. Both were very confident in themselves and both held strong beliefs and convictions. They both were believers in women's rights. Their beliefs definitely had a profound affect on my mother which, in turn, had an affect on me.

As an aside. I just love asides, don't I? The only weakness in my Grandmother as far as women's rights were concerned had to do with the wearing of pants. She strongly disagreed with this fashion statement and was very critical of my Mother for wearing them. I never saw my Grandmother in anything but a dress or skirt. God forbid a bathing suit. Yikes!

In any event, where is all this leading us. In thinking about all of this I came to the sad realization that some of the young women of today don't realize how difficult the path for women's rights has been and how important the right to vote is. Some don't realize how far women's rights have come.

Just the difference in rights between now and 35 years ago when I started working is staggering. While the changes in the workplace are very evident and promising, they still have a long way to go. When I started working "old boy networks" were the norm. Women really weren't wanted in the workplace. Most of the boards of directors of all the companies were men. All of the executives, to be sure, were. All the politicians were men. And so on, and so on, and so on.... A women executive, no way. The men would say "they don't have the skills." I would argue "how can we get the skills if you never give us a chance?"

My grandmother and great, great Aunt lived in some amazing times for women. They would be astonished at the accomplishments of women today. That said, however, we still have not had a female President, the number of females in Congress is still far too little and one of the only two females on the Supreme Court has just retired.

The women in my Grandmothers and great, great Aunts day had to fight for their rights and fight for the right to vote. We've come a long way, baby (how true). Yet, we've still got a long way to go.

I am proud of each and every one of my ancestors and hope you enjoy seeing their pictures. It is one small way for me to honor them.


My Great Aunt Flossie


My Grandmother "Dee"


My Great Grandmother Alta


My  Great Grandmother Augusta


MY Grandmother "Elizabeth"


My Great Grandmother Mary


My Great, Great Grandmother "Mattie"


My Great, Great Grandmother Flora

I have written a LOT of stories since 2004 about my handmade gifts, my family and my childhood. So much so that at last count I was close to 250. YIKES!! That's a lot of stories. But, with a big family there's a lot of gifts and a lot of "stories" to tell.

Of course you have to keep in mind that these are "stories" and as such there may be a little exaggeration going on here or there. They are stories after all.

So, I decided to create a separate page in my Linda's Blog just to keep track of my stories. If you'd like to read my stories please CLICK HERE.

Feminist or Victorian?

How Can I Be A Feminist Victorian???

I have to wonder sometimes why I have such a fascination or passion for the fashions of the Victorian Era when I am clearly a feminist (the ultimate feminist according to my son-in-law).

My inner self seems to be fighting with itself. Women's rights versus love of a time when women had, basically, no rights, but, wore the most beautiful dresses.

So, I thought that maybe I should investigate this further. What is it that draws me to the era when it is so contrary to my basic beliefs.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary feminism is "a doctrine that advocates or demands for women the same rights granted to men, as in political or economic status."

Feminists clearly believe in this, so therefore I clearly am a feminist (and PROUD of it to boot). In fact, make that VERY PROUD.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary a Victorian is defined as "Pertaining or belonging to the period of Queen Victoria's reign. Exhibiting qualities usually associated with the time of Queen Victoria, as moral severity or hypocrisy, middle-class stuffiness, and pompous conservationism. A person belonging to or exhibiting characteristics typical of the period of Queen Victoria."

Clearly, I am not Victorian.

Clearly, their attitudes towards women and society is for the BIRDS (maybe they don't even want to be associated with it).

Yet, I am drawn to their fashions. Drawn to their style. Why?

Why do I love to make Victorian dolls when I clearly am not Victorian? I am as perplexed as you are.

Perhaps, I should explore this further and delve a little more into the rights of women during the Victorian Era.

Maybe if I get so disgusted with their lack of rights I'll stop loving the Victorian Era and Victorian Fashion.

Maybe, I'll stop designing Victorian dolls? Maybe, I'll stop designing dolls all together. Maybe, I'll stop loving dolls. Maybe, I'll stop loving history and genealogy.

Maybe, I'll turn into a Victorian and start to believe their treatment of women was right. Yeah! Right!

In your dreams Queen Victoria!

I Am All That and More!

When I think of a "Lady" either I picture someone like Audrey Hepburns' character in "My Fair Lady" or I picture a Victorian woman like the picture to the left. Someone refined and dignified. Someone who has good manners and who also just happens to be wearing a beautiful Victorian dress. I always seem to get back to the Victorian dresses, don't I? Must be an obsession. Yah think? In my mind, a "Lady" is the ultimate perfect female. But, is she really?

So, let's take a good look at what constitutes a "Lady." According to the American Heritage Dictionary a "Lady" is a woman having the refined habits, gentle manners, and sense of responsibility often associated with breeding, culture, and high station; the feminine equivalent of a gentleman.

Hmmm! That definition is too narrow minded and socially conscious. Not exactly the definition I had in mind. So, maybe we should take a look at the qualities of a "Lady" in her home and on the street as defined by the dictionary, Victorianstation.com and others:

1) A Lady should be quiet in her manners. Okay, easy enough. But, not to the point of being invisible.

2) A Lady should speak in a gentle tone of voice. Even when scolding your children? Hmmm! Or someone who is picking on someone else. Hmmm!

3) A Lady should be careful to wound no ones feelings. This is not always possible.

4) A Lady should give generously and freely from the treasures of her pure mind to her friends. Generously and freely, yes. Purely! I don't know about that.

5) A Lady should scorn no one openly. Sometimes this is exactly what is required.

6) A Lady should should feel gentle pity for the unfortunate, the inferior and the ignorant. A "Lady" should do everything she can to help others in need, but NOT to judge anyone as inferior or ignorant. That would be placing herself above others and smacks of a "caste" system.

7) A Lady should carry herself with an innocence and single heartiness which disarms ill nature, and wins respect and love from all. Couldn't agree more.

8) A true Lady walks the street, wrapped in a mantle of proper reserve, so impenetrable that insult and coarse familiarity shrink from her. Some would confuse this with being a snob and looking down one's nose at others.

9) A true Lady carries with her a congenial atmosphere which attracts all, and puts all at their ease. I think everyone should act this way, not just a "Lady."

10) A Lady walks quietly through the streets, seeing and hearing nothing that she ought not to. Not a good idea to walk through the city streets with blindfolds on. You need to be aware of everything that is going on around you. Also, who determines what a "Lady" should or should not see? Doesn't she have a mind of her own?

11) A Lady walks through the streets recognizing acquaintances with a courteous bow, and friends with words of greeting. Manners are always a good thing.

12) A Lady is always unobtrusive, never talks loudly, or laughs boisterously, or does anything to attract the attention of the passers-by. Don't draw attention to yourself. Come on? Is she never supposed to have a good laugh?

13) A Lady walks along in her own quiet, lady-like way, and by her preoccupation is secure from any annoyance. What do you want her to do scurry along the street like a mouse? Don't be noticed and definitely don't mingle with the "common" folk. They might annoy you.

14) A true lady in the street, as in the parlor is modest, discreet, kind and obliging. This rule was definitely made up by a "man" or should I say "Gentleman."

15) A Lady never speaks or acts in anger. Sometimes this can't be helped. Generally, it's not a good idea to speak or act when angry whether you're a male or a female.

16) A Lady learns to govern herself and to be gentle and patient. Self control, self discipline, and patience are good qualities.

17) A true Lady always remembers that, valuable as the gift of speech is, silence is often more valuable. A truly intelligent person knows this, not just a "Lady."

18) A true Lady does not neglect the little things as they can affect the comfort of others. We should always think of others first.

19) A true Lady learns to deny herself and prefers others. Not sure I agree.

Well, now we know what a true "Lady" is. Not exactly my idea of the ultimate female. I think the definition and qualities of a "Lady" if she is to be the ultimate female needs to be redefined to fit the modern woman of today.

I think a true "Lady" should be defined as someone who is confident in herself and her capabilities. Someone who has goals and aspirations and isn't afraid to pursue them. Someone who isn't afraid to speak her mind and reprimand someone when that is what is required. Someone who can lead and command respect. Someone who is loyal to her family and friends. Someone who inspires others to always strive for the best in themselves in in others. Someone who has the courage of her convictions. Someone who can use her authority when it is required. Someone who can caress and comfort anyone who is in distress. Someone who can laugh with children and lose herself in their imagination once in awhile. Someone who isn't afraid to get her hands "dirty." Someone with skills who is willing to try anything, at least once. Someone who loves and respects others and wants nothing but the best for them. Someone who tries to see the good in others. Someone who will try her best to help others succeed. Someone who will accept others with all their faults and love them just the same. Someone who always tries to put her best foot forward, but isn't afraid to fail. Someone who can see the beauty in life. Someone who doesn't judge others by their pocketbook or social standing. Someone who can stand tall and be dignified at the same time. Someone who allows herself to be "human." Someone who doesn't define herself by her gender and doesn't allow others to do so either. A "Lady" is someone who is proud to say "I am all that and more." Bring the Victorian dress on!!"

images http://www.ccdsvictoriantubeheaven.com/

You've Got To Be Kidding!

If you're been reading my BLOG for awhile then you know I love history, research, and that I'm a big advocate for women's rights. You also know that I love the Victorian period and love to design Victorian dolls.

So, I decided to do a little research on Women's Rights (or I should say lack of women's rights) in the Victorian Era and my fascination for that period. I quickly came to the conclusion that while I love the fashions of the Victorian period, I clearly could never have been a Victorian woman and here's why.

The following excerpts were taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "The Victorian Era (1837 to 1901) symbolized by the reign of British monarch Queen Victoria was a very difficult period for women, because of the vision of the "ideal women" shared by most in the society."

"The legal rights of married women were similar to those of children. They could not vote or sue or even own property. Also, they were seen as pure and clean. Because of this view, their bodies were seen as temples which should not be adorned with makeup nor should they be used for such pleasurable things as sex. The role of women was to have children and tend to the house. They could not hold jobs unless they were those of a teacher nor were they allowed to have their own checking accounts or savings accounts. In the end, they were to be treated as saints, but saints that had no legal rights. "

Does this sound like "women should be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen" or what? I can't see a modern day woman wanting to tolerate that. No voting, no suing, no property. Must remain pure and clean in body and soul. I don't think so.

"In the Victorian Era the law regarded a married couple as one person. The husband was responsible for his wife and bound by law to protect her. She was supposed to obey him and he had the right to enforce this. The personal property the wife brought into the marriage was then owned by the husband, even in case of a divorce. The income of the wife belonged completely to her husband and the custody of children belonged to the father as well. He was able to refuse any contact between the mother and her children. The wife was not able to conclude a contract on her own. She needed her husband’s agreement. In addition, the married woman could not be punished for certain offences, such as theft or burglary if she acted under the command of her husband. It was impossible to charge the wife for concealing her husband and for stealing from her husband as they were one person in law. "

I can't possibly imagine that any female in her right mind would think that this made sense. Is it any wonder that they wrote "obey" out of the marriage vows of today? Personal property of the wife became the husband's. Can you imagine a husband saying to his wife "What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine, too." And, the wife saying, "Yes, of course, dear!"

During this time women had no legal say in how many children they would have nor would they get custody of children if the marriage ended in divorce. You have to say to yourself, "Were they out of their minds!" No say in how many children you're going to have? I just shake my head.

"A very special connection existed between women and their brothers. Sisters had to treat their brothers as they would treat their future husbands. They were dependent on their male family members as the brother’s affection might secure their future in case their husband treated them badly or they did not get married at all. "

The Victorian men had the Victorian women trapped. If you didn't get married, basically, your brother owned you. If you did get married then your husband owned you.

At that time educated women working in academic jobs were considered abnormal and monstrous. ABNORMAL and MONSTROUS! I bet all the women professors of today would just love to hear this. The only jobs open to women were governess, servant, teacher at boarding school, nurse or author.

"The attitude towards women and education was that education of women needn't be the same as that of men. Women were supposed to know the things necessary to bring up their children and to keep house. That’s why subjects as history, geography and general literature were of extreme importance, whereas Latin and Greek were of little importance. Woman who wanted to study something like law, physics, engineering, science or art were satirized and dismissed. People thought that it was unnecessary for women to go to a university. It was even said that studying was against their nature and that it could make them ill. They should stay more or less an “Ornament of Society” and be subordinate to their husbands. Obedience was the only requirement. "

Studying was against their nature and could make them ill. I MUST be very sick then. Ornament of society - NEVER. No wonder the women revolted. No wonder the feminist movement was born out of this period?

But, best of all Victorian women had to be SUBORDINATE to their husbands. All I can say to that is, "You've got to be kidding! My husband would hate that."