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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

After 250 Years It's Still The Bangwell Putt Rag Doll

Image Courtesy of The Doll Book written in 1908 by Laura B. Starr

When I was doing my "The History of Faceless Dolls" research I ran across a faceless doll that was created in 1765 and, 250 years later, is still in existence.  It was included in the Memorial Hall Museum Online -  American Centuries....View From New England  website that allows you to "Explore American history with hands-on activities, exhibits, lessons, historic documents and artifacts."

The Children's Toys section of their online collection includes the Bangwell Putt Rag Doll which is a faceless rag doll that was made for Clarissa Field of Northfield, MA in 1765.

Here's what the website had to say about this doll, "Dolls could be purchased, but many people made them at home. A relative made this rag doll for Clarissa Field of Northfield, Massachusetts, around 1770. She named her Bangwell Putt. (Clarissa had several other dolls, all with equally fanciful names, including Pingo, Palica, Kimonarro, and Ebby Puttence.) Clarissa Field was born blind. Although Bangwell Putt lacks a face, her ten fingers were carefully made, suggesting the importance of touch in Clarissa's world. Like other little girls, Clarissa could use her doll to practice the skills she would need as an adult. She could dress and undress Bangwell, and sew fashionable clothes for her. Bangwell has a homespun body and is dressed in eighteenth-century fashion, including a corset. Clarissa also could tend Bangwell as a mother would a child. Clarissa never married. She kept Bangwell until she died in her eighties. Bangwell Putt is thought to be the oldest surviving rag doll in North America."

I became intriqued by this doll, especially her name, and wanted to see if there was more information on her. Here's what I found: