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.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Who Doesn't Love Victorian Dollhouses

Laura Diana's Victorian Dollhouse Part 1 (of 2)

Laura Diana's Victorian Dollhouse Part 2 (of 2)

I have always wanted to build a dollhouse and had high hopes that I'd be able to do that when I had my own house.  I didn't want a plastic toy type house.  I wanted a Victorian wood house with wood floors, wallpaper, working lights, miniature Victorian furniture, miniature rugs, etc.

I did have high hopes for this earlier on.  In fact, when I was in my twenties I used to but little miniature Victorian furniture kits for making furniture like a miniature Queen Anne dresser, Miniature Queen Anne sofa, etc.  I never made them and haven't seen the kits in years.  I'm not even sure if I still have them.

Unfortunately, 50 years go by rather quickly, and I haven't built my dollhouse.  I still want to.  The problem is one of time.  If you want to build a dollhouse, like the one I want, you need to reserve a whole block of time for it.

Since I won't be making my dollhouse any time soon that doesn't stop me from looking at all the beautiful dollhouse eye candy on my "Dollhouse and Miniature Creations" Pinterest board.

I just LOVE dollhouses and have always wanted to create one of my own. Someday I will and will look to these beautiful works of art for my inspiration.

If you love my Dollhouse  and Miniature Creations board please follow my board by clicking on the link above.

Aren't they all beautiful?  It would be hard to choose which one is your favorite - don't you think?

When Id do finally make my dollhouse I'm hoping that all the tutorials, patterns, how-to's and videos I've been collecting on my "Dollhouse Tutorials & Miniature Dolls & Crafts Tutorials, Video's, Patterns, How-To's" board will be helpful.

I just LOVE dollhouses, miniature dolls and miniature crafts. Someday I will make a dollhouse of my own. When I do perhaps some of these tutorials, video's and how-to's will be helpful.

If you love my Dollhouse Tutorials & Miniature Dolls & Crafts Tutorials, Video's, Patterns, How-To's board please follow my board by clicking on the link above.

Have fun making your dollhouses and miniatures.

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 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.

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.

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

Designer - Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals

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.

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.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

They All Have Names

I finally had a chance to not only take close-up pictures of the art dolls I made in Hally Levesque's"Romantic Rosabella" class in Session 1 of Artful Gathering, but to name them as well.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

A Delightful Time With Romantic Art Dolls

I've had a delightful time the past few weeks making the dolls for Hally Levesque's"Romantic Rosabella" class in Session 1 of Artful Gathering.  I was only going to make 2 dolls but could not decide which color I wanted the base to be so I ended up choosing seven different colors from solid color fabric my sister had given me.

I figured at least one or two of the dolls would come out nicely and was pleasantly surprised when they all did. Even though the dolls are all similar looking they all ended up having their own little personalities. To no surprise most are "Diva's" or at least they think they are.

I had been saving some of the beautiful hand dyed and batted alpaca fibers my sister had given me over the last two years and was thrilled I would be able to utilize some of it here. Her alpaca roving batts worked beautifully in creating my dolls long, braided hair. If you would like to see more of my sister's alpaca fibers she sells her alpaca fiber products in her Rock Garden Alpaca's Etsy shop here.

Each of the dolls is handmade with hand sculpted paper clay faces, arms, and bonnets. Each has handmade silk ribbon flowers as well as painted flowers down the front of the dolls dress. Handmade silk ribbon flowers are also used for their bouquets and to decorate their bonnets. Each doll also has lace and tulle gathered overskirts in the back which combined with the silk ribbon flowers makes the doll very romantic and very elegant looking.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My Free Linda's How-Do-I Series? How To Make Our Victorian Cut and Sew Hand Embroidered and Embellished Dress Ornaments E-Book Tutorials

I told you previously about the Victorian cut and sew doll dresses that I had spent the last few weeks blissfully hand embroidering and embellishing.

I also told you that I had decided that while I was creating each of them I would create Linda's How-Do-I? E-Book tutorials for each to show you how to hand embroider and embellish them yourself and that the e-book tutorials would be available on my "Linda's Blog" Free E-Patterns, E-Printables and E-Books page.

I'm happy to tell you that all of my Victorian Cut and Sew Dress Ornaments E-Book Tutorials are now available on my "Victorian Dolls, Victorian Traditions, The Victorian Era and Me Blog" Free E-Patterns, E-Printables and E-Books.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Beautiful Collection of Fashion Dolls At The Strong National Museum of Play

Online Collections (The Strong) / CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

It's definitely no surprise that I love Victorian dresses and Victorian dolls.  So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to see how many Victorian French Fashion Dolls the Strong National Museum of Play had in their doll collection.  It's unbelievable.

There are so many I couldn't decide which was my favorite.  I LOVED them all and would like to see all of them.  They're all simply exquisite.

Here's a few of my favorites:

The French Fashion Doll c. 1850-1890, shown in the picture above, is from The Strong National Museum of Play online collection.

Credits: doll 1850-1890, Manufacturer E. Barrois, Material kid | bisque | glass | mohair | paint | silk | straw | cotton | wool, Origin Paris, France, Style fashion, Object ID 77.6627.

Please click here for more information on this beautiful doll.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hitty Dolls - What's Not To Love!

If you've never heard of the Hitty book entitled "Her First Hundred Years" it's a children's book written by Rachael Field and Published in 1929. It won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1930. It's a book about a lttle dolls adventures.

According to the Hitty Wikipedia page: The book details Hitty's adventures as she becomes separated from Phoebe and travels from owner to owner over the course of a century. She ends up living in locations as far-flung as Boston, New Orleans, India, and the South Pacific. At various times, she is lost deep under the sea and also under sofa cushions, abandoned in a hayloft, serves as part of a snake-charmer's act, and meets the famous writer Charles Dickens, before finally ending up in an antique shop in New York City among other, fancier dolls of porcelain and wax. There Hitty is purchased and taken to her new owner's summer home in Maine, which turns out to be the original Preble residence where she first lived.

If you would like to read her book there is a .pdf of the words and chapters here.

If you would like to see all of the illustrations by Dorothy Lathrop for Rachael Fields book they are here.

For The Love Of Rococo Dolls - You Might Become Speechless, Too!

Image Courtesy of Carmel Doll Shop

I absolutely love Rococo fashions and have always wanted to make a Rococo fashion doll of my own.

Well, while doing some research on other fashion dolls I could hardly believe my eyes when I landed on the page for the unbelievable 18th Century Fashion Doll From Eugene Barrois c. 1790, shown in the picture above, from the Carmel Doll Shop website.  She was just stunning.  Just look at that amazing dress! And, that unbelievable hair.  I just LOVE her.

Please click here for more information on this beautiful doll.

Image Courtesy of Carmel Doll Shop

No sooner had I landed on the Carmel Doll Shop page for the doll at the beginning of this post when I saw the 18th Century Fashion Doll From Eugene Barrois, shown in the picture above, from the Carmel Doll Shop website.  She was every bit as stunning as the first one.  Just look at that amazing dress! And, that unbelievable hair.  Just stunning, too.

Please click here for more information on this beautiful doll.

Image Courtesy of Carmel Doll Shop

Seeing two astonishing Rococo fashion dolls is certainly a delight. What do you say when you see a third astonishing fashion doll like the 18th Century Fashion Doll From François Gaultier c. 1790, shown in the picture above, from the Carmel Doll Shop website.  Maybe you become speechless.

Please click here for more information on this beautiful doll.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

17th, 18th, and 19th Century Wooden Dolls

Online Collections (The Strong) / CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

I can't help falling in love with the beauty of the Queen Anne Doll, shown in the picture above, from The Strong National Museum of Play.  She is an exceptional wooden doll circa 1750-1800.

Credits: Queen Anne Doll, 1750-1800, Material wood, Origin England, Style Queen Anne, Object ID 79.451

I would love to see this doll.

Online Collections (The Strong) / CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

The unbelievable Earliest Queen Anne Doll c. 1690, is also from the Strong National Museum of Play.   How amazing is she?  Just incredible.

Credits: Doll ca. 1690, Material wood, Origin England, Style Queen Anne, Object ID 73.1447

According to their description: A simple, jointed body and carved face decorated with stylized eyebrows and brightly rouged cheeks characterize this "Queen Anne" style doll made in around 1700. Manufacture of these wooden dolls originally predated their namesake, Queen Anne, who reigned only from 1702 to 1714. English woodcarvers and craftsmen began making these dolls in the 1600s, and the craft continued through the 1840s. Affordable only to affluent families, the vast majority of Queen Anne dolls were owned by women, who dressed them in the fashions of the time. Because the clothing obscured the plain wooden bodies, carvers focused their artistic attention on the faces. The dolls' painted, almond-shaped eyes, though distinctly conventionalized, changed to glass or porcelain in later years, and limbs came to be made of fabric or leather. Dolls made prior to the mid-19th century are scarce: some reports note that fewer than thirty seventeenth-century Queen Anne dolls have survived.

Only thirty 17th century Queen Anne dolls have survived.  What a shame.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Maggie Bessie Cloth Doll - A Doll of Simplicity and Grace

Image Courtesy of Theriaults.com

Would you pay tens of thousands of dollars for a doll?  Maybe the question should be would you pay tens of thousands of dollars for a beautiful handmade 19th century doll that is the epitome of simplicity and grace?  If I had that kind of money I probably would - especially if the doll kept increasing in value.

The VERY RARE AMERICAN CLOTH MORAVIAN DOLL KNOWN AS "MAGGIE-BESSIE" IN ORIGINAL COSTUME, shown in the picture above, is from the Theriaults.com website.

According to their description: 13" All-cloth doll with flat-dimensional face, oil-painted complexion, hair and facial features, short brown center-parted hair with feathering details, shaded blue eyes, black and brown upper eyeliner, feathered brows, outlined nose with accented nostrils, closed mouth, stitch-jointed body, oil-painted lower arms and legs....  Comments: created by Bessie and Maggie Pfohl in their Moravian community of Salem, North Carolina, early 1900s. Value Points: the rare American doll is flawlessly preserved with daintily detailed hair, and most endearing expression, with original costume. Realized Price: $13,000.

The A COMPANION AMERICAN CLOTH MORAVIAN DOLL KNOWN AS "MAGGIE-e BESSIE", shown in the picture above, is also from the Theriaults.com website.

According to their description: 13"  All-cloth doll with flat-dimensional perfectly rounded face enhanced by chin definition, oil-painted complexion, hair and facial features, short brown center-parted hair with feathering at sides of forehead, shaded blue eyes, black and red upper eyeliner, feathered brows, outlined nose with accented nostrils, closed bow-shaped mouth, stitch-jointed body, oil-painted lower arms and legs.....  Comments: created by Bessie and Maggie Pfohl in their Moravian community of Salem, North Carolina, early 1900s; the hand-crafted artistry and personality of each Maggie-Bessie doll is evident in this and the preceding lot. Value Points: most appealing shy expression with beautifully painted facial details and blush. Realized Price: $9,000.

I found the pair of "Maggie Bessie" dolls, shown above, totally charming and, of course, had to find out more. After all what could make a pair of dolls worth $22,000 collectively?

I knew there were many different types of dolls created by members of different Moravian Churches for benefits, etc.  I had to know what made these dolls so special and worth so much. Here's what I found:

Monday, May 2, 2016

Topsy-Turvy Dolls - Two In One

Online Collections (The Strong) / CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Most young girls know what a topsy turvy doll is and want one.  Why wouldn't they? You get two dolls in one.  What's not to like especially if you get a Topsy Turvy: Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf doll, like the one shown in the picture above, from The Strong National Museum of Play.

Credits: Topsy Turvy: Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf doll, ca. 1890, Material fur | bisque | cloth, Origin France, Style multi-head, Object ID 78.1016.

I've always wanted to make a topsy turvy doll and have always been curious as to their origin.  Since I was doing research on rag dolls I thought I'd do a little research on the topsy-turvy doll.  Here's what I found:

The concept of the topsy-turvy doll is easy to understand.  It's two dolls joined in the middle with the skirt pulled down to cover one of the heads.  When you want to display the other head on the doll you just flip the doll over and the skirt will now cover the head you were just viewing and reveal the other head.

Historically, most of the heads had opposite expressions (i.e. happy and sad) or were characters that were polar opposites (i.e. Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf) but not all were created this way.

In researching their history I found several interesting articles about the topsy turvy dolls also known as Topsy and Eva, their ties to a dark past: slavery and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Here's what I found:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

17th, 18th and 19th Century Wardrobe or Trousseau Dolls

If you'd like to see an amazing amount of pictures of beautiful 19th century dolls Theriaults.com has a wonderful Ensemble The Hanne Büktas Collection of French Poupées, Their Trousseaux, Accessories, Furnishings, and Related Dolls issue on Issuu.com.

I just loved the dolls and their wardrobes on Page 20 + 21, Page 30 + 31, Page 42 + 43, Page 44 + 45, Page 88 + 89, Page 78 + 79, Page 82, and Page 109.  Check it out. You won't be disappointed.  The dolls and their wardrobes are just exquisite.

After viewing the gorgeous 19th century dolls with their elaborate wardrobes I couldn't help but wonder what kind of expression a young girl in the 19th century would have on her face after receiving one of these dolls.  I know what my expression would be - pure joy!

So, I decided I wanted to know more and see more pictures of antique dolls and their elaborate wardrobes. Here's what I found and some I'd love to see:

Image Courtesy of Carmel Doll Shop

The beautiful German Tuck Comb Wooden Doll and Wardrobe, shown in the picture above, is from the Carmel Doll Shop website.  If you would like to read more about this amazing doll and her wardrobe please click here. 

I would love to see this doll and all her hand stitched gowns. Wouldn't you?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Boudoir Dolls Are Meant For Sitting - No Touching!

Online Collections (The Strong) / CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

When I saw the Boudoir Doll, shown in the picture above, from The Strong National Museum of Play I was intrigued and reminded of the dolls I always had sitting in the middle of my bed. They were just some of my dolls and nothing as fancy as the Boudoir doll shown here.  Plus, unlike Boudoir Dolls which were intended for grown-up girls, my dolls were those you would expect from a little girl.  And, unlike Boudoir Dolls which are not meant to be played with, mine were played with and as a result didn't last.

According to their description: In the early 20th century, fashionable women decorated their bedrooms, parlors, and living rooms with large, often elaborately dressed dolls. Called boudoir, bed, flapper, smoker, sofa, salon, and parlor dolls, these long-limbed figures often sported lavish outfits with laces, ribbons, and ruffles. Exotic and a bit campy, most boudoir dolls wore heavy make-up and bore a sultry look as if they intended to steal a boyfriend or cause trouble at a party. The Lenci doll company made boudoir dolls depicting foreign costumes, historical fashions, Pierrot, smokers, and vamps.

Credits: Boudoir Doll 1925-1926, Manufacturer Lenci, Material felt, Origin Italy, Object ID 79.9868

My understanding is that Boudoir Dolls were popular from 1915 until 1940 and made by French, U.S., English and Italian doll manufacturers.  The dolls were used primarily as bedroom decorations for teenagers and ladies and were characterized by painted composite heads, long thin bodies, long extremities, and adult features.

Most of the dolls were known as Boudoir Dolls, Art Dolls, Bed Dolls, Smoker Dolls, Salon Dolls, Parlor Dolls, Art Deco Dolls, Sofa Dolls, French Dolls, Lenci, Poupees, Flapper Dolls and Vamps.

They became very popular amongst wealthy women who often brought their dolls along to their seamstress when they were having an outfit made for them so she could create a mini-version for their doll.

As is the case with most of the dolls that intrigue me, I wanted to know more.  So, I did a little research.  Here's what I found:

Milliner's Models Dolls - Fashion Model or Toy?

Image Courtesy National Gallery of Art,Washington.

When I saw the "Milliner's Models" Doll Illustration, shown in the picture above, from the Dolls from the Index of American Design at the National Gallery of Art I was curious as to exactly what a "Milliner's Models" doll was.  I'd never heard of them.

Here's their description for that doll: This doll is one of the loveliest of the so-called "milliner's models." The term is actually a misnomer, for such dolls were meant to be used as toys. Many early nineteenth-century paintings show children holding such dolls. There may have been actual milliner's models before the toy doll of that name came into use, but we do not know how close the resemblance between the two may have been. This doll is dated about 1834. The costume is simple and beautifully made; the hairstyle is that of a young girl of the period. Pantalettes are typical for this sort of doll.

Credits: Eugene Croe (artist), American, active c. 1935, Anonymous Craftsman (object maker), Ruth E. Whittier (object owner), Doll--"Betsy", c. 1937, watercolor and graphite on paper, Index of American Design, 1943.8.15453.

Papier-Mâché Dolls

Slide 23 -  Image Courtesy National Gallery of Art,Washington.

From what I understand towards the end of the 18th century papier-mâché was the doll industries favorite composition and replaced wood and wax dolls. So, when I saw Slide 23shown in the picture above, from the Dolls from the Index of American Design  at the National Gallery of Art I was interested in what these dolls looked like.

After I read their description, shown below, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that this doll's head was used to smuggle morphine and quinine across the border during the Civil War. You just never know what dolls may be up to!

According to their description: Papier-mâché was a widely used substance for making dolls. Papier-mâché itself is a composition made from paper pulp combined with various other substances. Dolls made of this material reached a height of popularity in the mid-nineteenth century. They first appeared much earlier, however. Edouard Fournier History of Children's Toys and Games mentions the use of this product by dollmakers from the time of Francis I of France, about 1540. Centuries later, in 1858, the first known patent for a doll's head in the United States was issued to Ludwig Greiner of Philadelphia for his paper-mâché model. This doll, named "Nina," has a unique history. Behind her innocent-looking face, in the hollow of her paper-mâché head, she smuggled morphine and quinine across the border during the Civil War.

Credits: Renee A. Monfalcone (artist), American, active c. 1935, Anonymous Craftsman (object maker), Confederate Museum (object owner), Doll--"Nina", 1935/1942, watercolor and graphite on paperboard, Index of American Design, 1943.8.15538

According to Denise Van Patten's Paper Mache Dolls article on About.comPapier Mache was a good material to make doll heads from because it could be molded and painted. Molding allowed more realistic doll features than carving, and the dolls were lighter than carved wood. Papier Mache was the preferred material by German doll makers until the mid 1800s when China Dolls were introduced.

The Wikipedia.com page on Papier-Mâché has a section on how papier-mâché is prepared here.

If you'd like to know more about making various types of papier-mâché there is a Paper Mache Recipes article on the Ultimate Paper Mache website.

Also, according to Denise Van Patten's Paper Mache Dolls article on About.com: Some of the earliest commonly found Papier Mache dolls are called Milliner's Models today. These dolls were made from approximately 1840 through 1860, and are often found in smaller sizes (9 to 15 inches) and with wooden limbs.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Izannah Walker Dolls

I'll bet that back in 1873 Izannah Walker would have no idea how popular her dolls would be for art doll artists and doll collecting enthusiasts in the 21st century.

If you don't know who Izannah Walker is she was the first person to patent a doll in the U.S. It is thought she made or gave away over a thousand dolls molded with multiple layers of cloth and paste then painted.

In 1873 Izannah Walker filed the patent, shown in the picture above, with the U.S. Patent Office - N0. 144,373. Patented Nov.4,l873.

First Presbyterian Church Rag Dolls Otherwise Known as Presbyterian Rag Dolls

Image Courtesy of Toy and Miniature Museum

The beautiful "Little Doll On The Prairie" Presbyterian Rag Doll c. 1880, shown in the picture above, is part of the Toy and Miniature Museum doll collection.

Credits: Little Doll on the Prairie, PRESBYTERIAN RAG DOLL c. 1880, MANUFACTURER Ladies Sewing Committee of the First Presbyterian Church,  MATERIAL cotton, oil, wool

From what I understand the women of the First Presbyterian Church of Bucyrus, Ohio launched a fundraising campaign in the 1880's.  They decided to make and sell handmade rag dolls which  have become known as 'Presbyterian Rag Dolls." The dolls were all handmade with painted faces, gusseted bottoms, clothing, and shoes for both boy and girl dolls.

It seems that many generations of church women made these dolls in the early 1900's, again in the 1950's, and again in the 1980's.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Polly Heckewelder Moravian Rag Dolls - Loved and Made For Over 140 Years

Image Courtesy of the Moravian Church in North America

You certainly have to admire a doll that is so well loved that she is made over and over for 140+ years.  Such is the case with the Moravian Rag Dolls, shown in the picture above, otherwise known as Polly Heckewelder Doll. This doll is the oldest continuously made cloth doll in America.

I think she's just beautiful and hope you would agree.  Based on the picture above it's not hard to understand why this doll is loved so much.

Given her 140 year history, it seemed like there might be a lot of information about this doll so I decided to do a little research. I was wrong.  There's not a lot of information on her out there.  Here's what I found:

According to Cloth Dolls From Ancient To Modern by Linda Edwards: A charming little doll called Polly Heckewelder has been made by members of the Moravian Church since 1872.  The dolls namesake was the daughter of Moravian missionary John Gottlieb Ernestus Heckewelder.  His daughter Polly was born in 1781 while he was working with the Delaware Indians and she is believed to be the first child born in the Ohio territory.

Also: The Ladies Sewing Society of the Moravian Church Guild in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, first made these dolls for the aid of wounded Civil War soldiers.  After the war the funds were used to help former slaves and eventually to aid moravian ministries for their other charity work.

From what I understand the dolls were all handmade as a means to benefit the Moravian Church sisters, members of the Ladies Sewing Society of the Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem Pennsylvania.  The dolls that were dressed like young girls were called Polly Heckewelder, in honor of Johanna Marie Heckewelder (known as Polly) the daughter of the Reverend Heckewelder.  The dolls have been made for over 140 years.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wax Dolls, Montanari and Pierotti Dolls - Gotta Love The Beauty of Wax

Slide #24 -  Image Courtesy National Gallery of Art,Washington.

Two of the slides from the Dolls from the Index of American Design  at the National Gallery of Art that I loved were Slide #24, shown in the picture above, and Slide #25, shown in the picture below.  I was drawn to them due to the dresses and when I read their descriptions I found out they were wax dolls, which piqued my curiosity.

According to their description: Wax dolls have been made from very early times — by the ancient Romans, for example, on through the first quarter of the twentieth century. This wax doll was probably made in England, which was noted for its wax dolls in the last half of the nineteenth century. This doll dates from the 1870s, and her elaborate costume is typical of the period. The dress is of blue taffeta trimmed with white organdy lace. The doll's childlike face and hairstyle might seem better suited to a child's body, but the true child doll was not yet common. Not until the 1880s was there a change from predominantly adult dolls to dolls representing children and babies. Many collectors still prefer dolls with features of a child but dressed as an adult.

Credits: Lillian Causey (artist), American, active c. 1935, Anonymous Craftsman (object maker), The Baltimore Museum of Art (object owner), Doll in Blue Dress, 1935/1942, watercolor and graphite on paperboard, Index of American Design, 1943.8.7734.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Babyland Rag Dolls With Painted Faces Versus Babyland Rag Dolls With Lithograph Faces

Image Courtesy of  Theriaults.com

I used to think that there isn't any doll on the planet I wouldn't like. That is generally true except I did run across a few lithograph Babyland Rag Dolls whose outfits I loved, but I wasn't totally crazy with their faces.

Now you might think I'm saying I don't like the Babyland Rag Dolls.  That would be incorrect.  I'm just not keen on the Babyland Rag Dolls with lithograph faces, but love the Babyland Rag Dolls with painted faces like the AMERICAN CLOTH DOLL BY BABYLAND RAG c. 1890, shown in the picture above, from Theriaults.com.  She is just darling

According to their description: 15"  All-cloth doll with flat-dimensional face, painted facial features, large brown upper-glancing eyes, thick brown upper eyeliner, red eyeliner accents, one-stroke brows, outlined nose, painted closed mouth, blushed cheeks, blonde mohair wig, muslin stitch-jointed body, mitten hands..... Comments: Babyland Rag, circa 1890....

Online Collections (The Strong) / CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

The Babyland Lady Doll c. 1912-1914, shown in the picture above, is part of The Strong National Museum of Play doll collection.

I just love her painted face and sweet outfit. She is just pain adorable.  Wouldn't you agree?

Credits: Manufacturer E. I. Horsman & Co., Material cloth, Origin New York, NY, Object ID 79.9967

Sunday, April 24, 2016

China Head Dolls - They're Just So Beautiful

Image Courtesy National Gallery of Art,Washington.

I have always been fascinated with China Head Dolls and have always wanted to buy some china heads to make some dolls of my own.  I've always felt that as far as dolls are concerned some of the most beautiful dolls throughout history have to be the china head dolls, like the China Head Doll, shown in the illustration above, from the National Gallery of Art.

According to their description: This china-headed doll has a particularly lovely costume. The dress is plaid silk taffeta; it is worn over a petticoat of tan alpaca trimmed with blue silk bands. The pantalettes are of cotton with eyelet embroidery. The doll's hairstyle makes her a collector's item; china dolls with a knot on the head are rare. This feature, however, is almost completely hidden by the silk bonnet. This doll has a cloth body and arms and feet of kid. The head is glazed porcelain. China-head dolls were first made in Europe around 1750 but did not become extremely popular until the 1840s. This doll dates from 1840–1850. Often the heads were imported to America and used on American-made dolls' bodies.

Credits: Beverly Chichester (artist), American, active c. 1935, Anonymous Craftsman (object maker), Edison Institute of Technology (object owner), Doll in Plaid Dress, c. 1937, watercolor, gouache, pen and ink, and graphite on paper, Index of American Design, 1943.8.7814.

Image Courtesy National Gallery of Art,Washington.

The beautiful China Head Doll, shown in the illustration above, is also from the National Gallery of Art.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Missionary Rag Babies - Loved So Much They're Well Worn

Julia Jones Beecher, shown in the picture above,  and the members of the sewing circle of the Park Congregational Church made stockinette dolls from 1893 to 1910 for their charitable missionary fund, which resulted in the dolls being named "Missionary Rag Babies." They were made from stockinette, which is a soft, loosely knitted stretch fabric (i.e. underwear)  and had needle-sculptured and hand painted faces and stockinette bodies.  They also had applied ears, looped yarn hair, and sewn joints.

According to a post entitled "A Virtual Peek at the New Exhibit" on the Chemung County Historical Society blog each doll was accompanied with a note that said:  If you will always take by the waist and never by the arm; if you will give your hand a wash before you play with me; if you will not leave me out in the dust or in the sunshine, and if you will not squeeze my face flat; I will be your pretty baby for a long time.

Also: The Beecher Baby Doll is the most famous locally-made doll.  In 1885, Julia Beecher, wife of Reverend Thomas K. Beecher, was inspired to make a baby doll while she was mending stockings.  The first doll that she made for her niece led to many more.  In the next ten years, Mrs. Beecher sold 950 handmade dolls.  Over $1,000 in profits from the sales were used for projects by the ladies’ organization of Park Church.  

The irony of the dolls receiving such a note was that they were handled so much that nowadays they are very hard to find and if found are usually well worn.  I like to think they were loved so much they just couldn't stand up to the test of time.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Quaker Dolls - Quiet Beauty

Image Courtesy National Gallery of Art,Washington.

I found 7 beautiful Quaker Doll  illustrations in the Index of American Design collection from the National Gallery of Art that I know you're going to love.

I found the Quaker Doll c. 1936, shown in the picture above, from the National Gallery of Art to be totally irresistible.  I would love to see the actual doll and can only imagine how beautiful she must have been.

According to their description: Early American dolls are shown in a wide variety of costumes. This fine doll of the eighteenth century represents a Quaker woman. The doll's head, arms, and legs are made of carved and painted wood. Throughout history, wood has been one of the most frequently used materials for making dolls. For many doll makers, it was both readily available and inexpensive.

Credits: Mina Lowry (artist), American, 1894 - 1942, Anonymous Craftsman (object maker), Miss Polaire Weissman (object owner), Doll, c. 1936, watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper, Index of American Design, 1943.8.15496.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pioneer & Prairie Dolls, Rag Dolls, Appalachian Dolls, Wagon Train Dolls, Table Cloth Dolls, Pillowcase Dolls, Handkerchief & Prayer Dolls, Folk Art Dolls - They're All Dolls That Were Loved By Early American Colonial Girls

 Image Courtesy National Gallery of Art,Washington.

As a lover of dolls I have been thoroughly enjoying all the rag dolls illustrations and accompanying descriptions that I've seen in the Index of American Design collection from the National Gallery of Art.

The following description accompanied the Rag Doll, shown in the picture above, from the National Gallery of ArtHandmade dolls were among the many crafts produced by people of the Spanish colonial southwest. This rag doll, possibly dating from 1795, was made by a California Indian woman for the original owner, a Mrs. Villa. The doll may be seen as an Indian's interpretation of Spanish colonial women. In the early days of the United States, southwest arts and crafts were often the work of Indian artisans.

Credits: Bertha Semple (artist), American, active c. 1935, Anonymous Craftsman (object maker), Mrs. F.C. (Vernette Snyder) Ripley (object owner), Doll, c. 1937, watercolor, graphite, and gouache on paper, Index of American Design, 1943.8.15415

Image Courtesy  National Gallery of Art,Washington.

One of my favorite Rag Doll c. 1935 illustrations from the National Gallery of Art is the one shown in the picture above.  I just love her outfit and face.

Credits: Stenzel, Erwin, American, active c. 1935, Rag Doll 1935/1942, watercolor, graphite, and pen and ink on paper, overall: 40.7 x 30.6 cm (16 x 12 1/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 12" high, Index of American Design 1943.8.16825.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Miss Columbia and the Columbian Rag Doll

Image Courtesy of Theriaults.com

The American Cloth Doll, shown in the picture above, sold on Theriaults.com for $15,500. When I first saw this I wondered why this particular doll was so expensive. What was it about her that drove that price so high?

According to her description: 19" All cloth doll with flat dimensional face, having oil painted facial features and hair, blonde hair with softly swirling curls at the forehead, painted brown eyes with large black pupils and white highlights, single stroke brows, defined nose, closed mouth with outlined lips, blushed cheeks, stitch-jointed body (see photo) with oil-painted lower arms and legs, original costume.... MARKS: Columbian Doll Emma E. Adams, Oswego Centre N.Y.. COMMENTS: Emma Adams, circa 1892, the doll was awarded the Gold Medal at the Chicago World Fair of 1893, the first American doll to be awarded that grand prize. VALUE POINTS: Extraordinary original condition of the rare doll, with outstanding artistry of painting. Realized Price: $15,500. Lot Number: 14.

The reason she was so expensive was she was an original Columbian Doll circa 1892 by Emma E. Adams, whose doll was awarded the gold Medal at the Chicago World Fair of 1893.

I found her face totally enchanting and had to find out more. Here's what I found out:

According to Cloth Dolls From Ancient To Modern by Linda Edwards: The Columbian rag dolls were first made by Emma Adams in 1891.  They were made of muslin and had flat faces which were oil painted by Emma.  The eyes were painted blue or brown.  Their bodies were stuffed with cotton or excelsior, with an inner core of sawdust in the heads and torso.  The limbs were painted flesh color and were stiffened with sizing.