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.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Early Grodnertal Tuck Comb Wooden Peddler Dolls and Other Grodnertal Peddler Dolls


Image Courtesy of Theriaults.com 

It seems like every time I'm doing research for one thing I find so many other things that pique my curiosity. Such was the case with my research on the "The Sweet Simplicity of Tuck Comb Wooden Dolls" I posted about earlier. I discovered the "Early Grodnertal Tuck Comb Wooden Peddler Dolls" and absolutely had to know more.

The "Early Grodnertal Wooden Doll As Doll And Notions Peddler Lady" doll shown above is from Theriaults.com website is a doll after my own heart. Not only do I absolutely love her large bonnet, but she's selling sewing notions and dolls. She has five tiny dolls on her table including two mini Grodnertal woodens. Perhaps that was me in another life?

According to her description :7" Condition: generally excellent,original finish perfectly preserved. Comments: Grodnertal doll,circa 1850,presented for the English market as a peddler lady offering sewing notions and dolls. On her table are arranged a myriad of tiny laces,ribbons and buttons, sewing tools such as tiny scissors, various papers with lettered names "Robert","Margaret" and "John", several tiny doll costumes, and five tiny dolls including two mini Grodnertal woodens. Realized Price: $4,100

According to The Ultimate Doll Book by Caroline Goodfellow peddler dolls were popular from 1820 - 1920.  They were a conversation piece in fashionable 19th century English drawing rooms and held a prominent place on the fireplace mantels. During this period there was a fascination with itinerant traders who travelled all over Europe, but peddler dolls were a "peculiarly English phenomenon." Most of the dolls were made in Germany and dressed in England with heads of wood, composition, apples and wax. The bodies were made of wood, composition, or stuffed cloth.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Sweet Simplicity of Tuck Comb Wooden Dolls

Image Courtesy of Theriaults.com.

While I was doing research  on the "The History of Faceless Dolls" I read several articles about antique wooden dolls and fell in love with Penny Wooden Dolls so much so that I ended up writing a blog post entitled, "I'm In Love With Penny Wooden or Peg Wooden Dolls."

In researching the penny wooden dolls I learned about a special type of peg wooden doll called "tuck comb dolls."  The dolls are so named for their carved and painted hair combs.

According to Wikipedia.org, " Tuck comb dolls are a special style of peg wooden doll, named for their carved hair comb. The head and body is turned as one piece. The hair is usually painted with curled bangs and with a painted comb. Early tuck comb dolls had elongated, graceful proportions, nicely carved details, painted slippers, and sometimes with wood pendant earrings. Some dressed as merchants were called pedlar dolls."

Also, according to The Ultimate Doll Book by Caroline Goodfellow: The high comb, often painted yellow was a fashionable hair ornament and special feature of early 19th century wooden dolls.

I just love these dolls and find them irresistible. I love their adorable painted tuck combs and their clothing. So, of course, I wanted to see more pictures and find out more about these types of peg wooden dolls. Here's what I found and what drew me to each of the dolls:

Sweet, Sweet Julianna! Is Wearing Her 1863 Walking Dress - Victorian Lady Doll


"Sweet, Sweet Julianna", "Mehitable" "Ester Loves The Morning" and "Prudence On A Walk" have been friends since they were all in diapers. In fact they've always been the BEST of friends. They love each other, protect each other, and are fiercely devoted to each other. So much so that it sometimes gets in the way of their relationships with their boyfriends.

Without fail, every day they get together for their afternoon tea and crumpets. Everything and anything is fair game in their discussions. They might be talking about the latest Godey fashions plate pages, they're newest outfit, the Queen's annual ball, their families, their boyfriends, their engagements, etc. Nothing is off limits. That is, nothing within the reasonable limits of proper Victorian discussion etiquette. Their afternoon teas are held on a rotating basis with each friend hosting the afternoon tea every fourth day. Today, they will all be having tea in Mehitable's parlor.

"Sweet, Sweet Julianna!" is a 13" Victorian square bottomed cloth bodied doll with a gathered waistline, porcelain head, and porcelain arms. She is wearing an 1863 Walking Dress. Julianna has two layers of lace trim along the bottom of her body. Her slip has 2 layers of lace trim along the bottom hem edge and is gathered at the waist. It also has a full length lace overslip that is gathered at the waist as well.

Her 1863 Walking Dress has oversleeves and a finished scalloped lace overskirt. The sleeves are lace trimmed and gathered at the shoulders and wrists. The oversleeves have lace trim along the edge and are also gathered at the shoulders and mid-sleeve. Both her Victorian dress bodice and her dress skirt are gathered at the waist. The finished scalloped lace overskirt is also gathered at the waist. Her neck edge is gathered and covered by a finished doily collar. A lace binding waistband is wrapped around her waist and is tied in a bow in the back. It is decorated in the front with a silk ribbon floral. Julianna is wearing a delicate handkerchief with lace trim as a shawl which is wrapped around her shoulders and tied in the front in a knot. Her frilly, lace trimmed and gathered bonnet sits atop her head and is tied under the right hand side of her chin in a bow.

"Sweet, Sweet Julianna!" is anxious for this afternoon's tea. She has some wonderful news to tell her friends and can hardly wait to do so.

Note: The porcelain head and hands that are pictured are from Midwest Design Imports.

Designer - Linda Walsh Or Linda Walsh Originals


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Beautiful Early American Wooden Dolls By Joel Ellis From 1873


While I was doing research  on the "The History of Faceless Dolls" I read several articles about antique wooden dolls and fell in love with Penny Wooden Dolls so much so that I ended up writing a blog post entitled, "I'm In Love With Penny Wooden or Peg Wooden Dolls."

While doing that research I also ran across the wooden dolls created by Joel Ellis in 1873 which piqued my curiosity as he was from Vermont and only made his dolls for one year. Given I'm a die hard New Englander and curious as to why he only made them for one year I had to find out more.

Not only did I love his wooden dolls, what interested me was the workmanship on his dolls clothes, which was exceptional, unlike the cheap clothes on manufactured dolls today.

The doll pictured above is for sale on the Liveauctioneers.com website - 9: Rare 19th Century Wooden Head Doll, Joel Ellis.  According to their website this doll is attributed to Joel Ellis with metal hands, legs & feet and stands 15" tall.

According to their website, "Joel Ellis created a doll whose face is indeed a portrait of the traditional New England model of graceful simplicity – a quiet composed and simple beauty that now transports us to a long ago time. Yet we may forget the technological challenges and triumphs so benignly represented in this little rendition of humanity."

It turns out that Joel was an inventive genius who patented 13 different articles, one of which was for a wooden doll. He is credited as being the creator of the first commercial doll for America which he manufactured through his company, the Co-operative Manufacturing Company, on the premises of the Vermont Novelty Goods Company.

He filed his patent for a wooden doll of rock maple with mortise and tenon joints, and pewter or iron hands and feet on February 21, 1873 and it was granted on May 20, 1873.

According to the article from the Old and Sold Antiques Marketplace, "In 1873 Ellis took out a patent for a wooden doll of rock maple with mortise and tenon joints, and pewter or iron hands and feet. Heads were of blocks of wood taken from the end of the grain and rounded, except for one pointed side which allowed for the nose. Each block was put into a steel mold and shaped under hydraulic pressure. When it came out of the press, holes were drilled to fit a large tenon that had been made on the end of the body. The head, which was stationary, was glued to the body by means of this large tenon. The doll came in twelve, fifteen, and eighteen-inch heights. The most plentiful is the twelve inch, the least, the eighteen inch."

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Laura, Lady In Waiting! and Sweet Dreamy Dana, Victorian In Her Soul! - Victorian Candlestick Dolls


I tend to like unconventional dolls and dolls that can stand by themselves. As a result, I'm always looking for different ways to make Victorian dolls and decided that I would like to make a Victorian equivalent of a primitive "make-do!" But, instead of using something primitive like a rusty spring I wanted to use a wooden candlestick and a half porcelain Victorian doll. Thus, my Victorian candlestick dolls were born.

"Laura, Lady In Waiting" and "Sweet Dreamy Dana, Victorian In Her Soul!" are identical twin sisters and two of my new Victorian Candlestick Dolls. They both LOVE the Victorian era and love Victorian fashions, and love to play tricks on their family and each others boyfriends. They are so identical it is hard to tell them apart facially. However, Laura is taller than the Dana and Laura tends to like splashy colors while Dana favors blues.

Plus, Dana is a bit on the shy side and tends to favor walks in the park, reading a good book, and sewing while Laura prefers Victorian balls, splashy appearance, and societal teas. Facially they are very alike. In their personalities they couldn't be more different.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Linda's Book Reviews - Ultimate Doll Book


Readers of my "Linda's Blog" know that I just love dolls of all kinds, shapes, and sizes. I also love history, especially if it's doll history.

Many, many years ago I bought a book on doll history (the cover is shown in the picture above) that was supposed to be the "ultimate" book on dolls and doll history. Well, it definitely lived up to its hype.

The Ultimate Doll Book was written by Caroline Goodfellow who is a doll curator.

"The Ultimate Doll Book" is a wonderful treasury of more than 400 different dolls of every type and every time period. It covers the history of dolls from a manufacturing perspective over the last 200 years which was something I was fascinated by. Plus, for the doll collector or someone thinking of starting a doll collection there is some helpful advice for doing so.

There are beautiful, beautiful pictures of all of the various dolls photographed by Matthew Ward contained throughout the book. One of my favorite dolls is the "Old Pretender" pictured on Page 2 and Page 13. She was made in c1680 and it is said that she belonged to the court of King James II. Of course, I just love her and all the rest of the early dolls (circa 1680's to 1820's). Now why is that? Hmmm....

The book is arranged in chronological chapters by manufacturing processes and materials used to make the dolls and starts with Wooden Dolls. This chapter covers Early Dolls (1680's to 1820's), Dolls from the New World (1850's to 1930's), Poupards and Simple Dolls (1800's to present), and Peg Woodens (1790's to present).

The next chapter is Composition Dolls and covers Greiner and German Dolls (1840's to 1900's), Developments in Composition (1850's to 1930's), Alexander Doll Company (1926 to present), and Wax-Over Composition Dolls (1830's to 1900's).

Then we learn the history of and manufacturing of Poured Wax Dolls, Early Dolls ( 1750's to 1850's), English Makers (1850's to 1930's), The Pierotti Family (1770's to 1935), Pierotti Portrait Dolls (1900's to 1930's), and Princess Daisy (1890's).

Next is the history of and manufacturing of Porcelain Dolls, Fancy Glazed China Heads (1830's to 1880's), Plain Glazed China Heads (1840's to 1870's), Fancy Untinted Bisque Heads (1860's to 1880's), and Plain Untinted Bisque Heads (1860's to 1880's.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Mehitable Is Getting Ready For The Afternoon Tea - Victorian Lady Doll


"Mehitable", "Sweet, Sweet Julianna", "Ester Loves The Morning" and "Prudence On A Walk" have been friends since they were all in diapers. In fact they've always been the BEST of friends. They love each other, protect each other, and are fiercely devoted to each other. So much so that it sometimes gets in the way of their relationships with their boyfriends.

Without fail, every day they get together for their afternoon tea and crumpets. Everything and anything is fair game in their discussions. They might be talking about the latest Godey fashions plate pages, they're newest outfit, the Queen's annual ball, their families, their boyfriends, their engagements, etc. Nothing is off limits. That is, nothing within the reasonable limits of proper Victorian discussion etiquette. Their afternoon teas are held on a rotating basis with each friend hosting the afternoon tea every fourth day. Today, they will all be having tea in Mehitable's parlor.

"Mehitable" is a 13" Victorian square bottomed cloth bodied doll with a gathered waistline, porcelain head, and porcelain arms. She is wearing an 1858 Walking Dress. Mehitable has two layers of lace trim along the bottom of her body. Her slip is lace trimmed and gathered at the waist.

Her 1858 Walking Dress has oversleeves and an overskirt. The sleeves are lace trimmed and gathered at the shoulders and wrists. The oversleeves have two layers of lace trim along the edge and are also gathered at the shoulders. Her Victorian dress is gathered at the waist and has a 2 layer lace trimmed overskirt which is also gathered at the waist. Scalloped finished lace trim surrounds her neck edge. A single layer of gathered lace trim runs along the bottom hem edge and scalloped lace trim. Mehitable's outfit includes a lined and lace trimmed shawl that is wrapped around her shoulders and secured in the front with a silk floral. There is a row of finished bridal lace trim decorating the bun in her hair and a ribbon bow in the back of her bun. She is carrying a bouquet of miniature ceramic Lilly's with ribbon streamers.

Mehitable just received the latest fashion plate page from Godey's and is anxious to show her best friends the latest in Paris fashion at this afternoons tea. She has her eye on a particular ensemble and wants to get her friends opinion on it before she orders it. But, right now she is busy preparing for her afternoon tea and needs to get ready. So much to do - so little time.

Note: The porcelain head and hands that are pictured are from Midwest Design Imports.

Designer - Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals


Isolda - Just Let her Stroll In The Park! - Victorian Girl Doll


"Isolda" loves to stroll in the park. It doesn't matter if it's sunny, rainy, cold, or warm. Isolda just loves being outside and loves walking, strolling, chatting with friends she meets, and just plain musing.

"Isolda" is an 11" Victorian cloth bodied doll with a gathered waistline, cloth legs with cross laced and painted black boots, porcelain head, and porcelain arms. She is wearing an 1863 Street Dress.  Isolda is wearing bloomers with lace trim that are gathered at the waist. Her slip is lace trimmed and gathered at the waist as well.

Her 1863 Street Dress has oversleeves. The sleeves have two layers of lace trim along the sleeve hem edge and are gathered at the shoulders. The oversleeves have lace trim along the edge and are also gathered at the shoulders. Her Victorian dress is gathered at the waist and lace trimmed at the waist as well. Her dress has 1 layer of gathered lace trim and one layer of wide gathered satin ribbon trim along the bottom hem edge. The neck edge of her dress is gathered and lace trimmed. Isolda has a delicate old handkerchief wrapped around her shoulders for a shawl that is tied in a knot in the front.

"Isolda" can spend all day just walking, strolling, talking, chatting, pondering and musing in the park. She never gets bored and never gets tired of it. Just let her stroll, and stroll, and stroll.

Note: The porcelain head and hands that are pictured are from Midwest Design Imports.

Designer - Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lettice Would Really Like To Meet Some New People - Victorian Girl Doll


"Lettice" just moved to London and decided that it was such a nice day that she would take a stroll in the park. After all, she had on her newest street ensemble and would surely make a good impression on everyone she encountered in the park.

"Lettice" is an 11" Victorian cloth bodied doll with a gathered waistline, cloth legs with cross laced painted black boots, porcelain head, and porcelain arms. She is wearing an 1858 Walking Dress. Lettice's bloomers are lace trimmed and gathered at the waist. Her slip is lace trimmed and also gathered at the waist. Her 1858 Street Dress is really an ensemble with a matching dress, lined two level jacket, matching bonnet, and matching purse. Lettice's dress is gathered at the waist and the sleeves are gathered at the shoulders and wrist. Two layers of lace trim adorn the bottom hem edge and her gathered neck edge. Her coordinating jacket is lined with 3/4 sleeves that are gathered at the shoulders. Her jacket has a lined upper section and lined and gathered lower section and is top stitched along all the edges. It is fastened in the middle of the front with a ribbon bow.

She has a full head of curly brown doll hair. Her bonnet is matching, lined, and gathered and is tied under the left side of her chin in a bow. Her matching shoulder strap purse is gathered and decorated with ribbon trim and is draped over her right shoulder.

Lettice is anxious to meet new people and equally anxious to make a good first impression. She'd love to be invited to join any one of the numerous afternoon tea societies and is hoping that maybe today will be the day she meets a new friend.

Note: The porcelain head and hands that are pictured are from Midwest Design Imports.

Designer - Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals

Linda's Book Reviews - A Tool To Help With Doll Values - 15th and 16th Bluebook Dolls & Values

   

I'll bet that doll collectors who scour flea markets and yard sales for that rare doll find always take something with them. Want to bet? Want to know what that is?

Well, it would be the Blue Book Dolls and Values, 15th Edition book or, now, Jan Foulke's Guide to Dolls: A Definitive Identification & Price Guide book. Why would I bet that they all take their copies whenever they go hunting for dolls? Because if you are a doll collector, especially a collector of rare and vintage dolls, and want to know what a doll is worth you need the "Blue Book."

The "15Th (or 16Th) Blue Book - Dolls & Values" is written by Jan Foulke with photographs by Howard Foulke.

I would dare say that the doll collector's "blue book" is the most trusted price guide to all types of dolls around. The book I have is the 15Th edition and there is now a new 16Th edition.

If you are into dolls and collecting old, vintage, or even new dolls the "Blue Book" will help you identify and learn about your dolls or dolls you are thinking of buying. It can help you appraise the dolls you already have in your collection as well as help you to determine whether or not a doll you are considering buying is fairly priced.

It also has useful information for the doll collecting enthusiast as to investing in dolls, marks to look for, quality, condition, body, clothing, total originality, age, size, availability, popularity, desirability, uniqueness, and visual appearance. It also has tips for selling a doll.

The "Blue Book" is organized into two alphabetical sections: Antique & Vintage Dolls, and Modern & Collectible Dolls. In each section the dolls are listed alphabetically by doll maker, by material, and sometimes by trade name.

The values shown in the "Blue Book" are retail prices for clean dolls in excellent overall condition. For the doll collecting enthusiast this book is an indispensable tool especially if you're walking around that flea market or scouring yard sales for that "rare" doll find.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Prudence On A Walk With Her 1858 Red Walking Dress - Victorian Lady Doll



"Prudence On A Walk", "Mehitable", "Sweet, Sweet Julianna", and "Ester Loves The Morning" have been friends since they were all in diapers. In fact they've always been the BEST of friends. They love each other, protect each other, and are fiercely devoted to each other. So much so that it sometimes gets in the way of their relationships with their boyfriends.

Without fail, every day they get together for their afternoon tea and crumpets. Everything and anything is fair game in their discussions. They might be talking about the latest Godey fashions plate pages, they're newest outfit, the Queen's annual ball, their families, their boyfriends, their engagements, etc. Nothing is off limits. That is, nothing within the reasonable limits of proper Victorian discussion etiquette. Their afternoon teas are held on a rotating basis with each friend hosting the afternoon tea every fourth day. Today, they will all be having tea in Mehitable's parlor.

"Prudence On A Walk" is a 13" Victorian square bottomed cloth bodied doll with a gathered waistline, porcelain head, and porcelain arms. She is wearing an 1858 Walking Dress. Prudence has two layers of lace trim along the bottom of her body. Her slip has 2 layers of lace trim along the bottom hem edge and is gathered at the waist.

Her 1858 Walking Dress is a two-tone Victorian dress with two layers of fancy lace trimmed overskirts. The sleeves are lace trimmed and gathered at the shoulders and wrists. Her Victorian dress is gathered at the waist and has a two separate layers of lace trimmed overskirts which are also gathered at the waist. Her dress is gathered along the neck edge which is adorned with lace trim. A single layer of gathered lace trim runs along the bottom hem edge.

Prudence's outfit includes a lined and lace trimmed shawl that is wrapped around her shoulders with armhole loops. Her matching and coordinated lined bonnet has a wide brim and is tied in a knot under her chin.

Prudence can hardly wait for the afternoon tea to show her best friends her new red walking outfit. She just loves it and feels like the belle of the ball when she's wearing it and hopes that her friends will love it as much as she does.

Note: The porcelain head and hands that are pictured are from Midwest Design Imports.

Designer - Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ester Loves The Morning - 1858 Morning Dress - Victorian Lady Doll


"Ester Loves The Morning", "Mehitable", "Sweet, Sweet Julianna", and "Prudence On A Walk" have been friends since they were all in diapers. In fact they've always been the BEST of friends. They love each other, protect each other, and are fiercely devoted to each other. So much so that it sometimes gets in the way of their relationships with their boyfriends.

Without fail, every day they get together for their afternoon tea and crumpets. Everything and anything is fair game in their discussions. They might be talking about the latest Godey fashions plate pages, they're newest outfit, the Queen's annual ball, their families, their boyfriends, their engagements, etc. Nothing is off limits. That is, nothing within the reasonable limits of proper Victorian discussion etiquette. Their afternoon teas are held on a rotating basis with each friend hosting the afternoon tea every fourth day. Today, they will all be having tea in Mehitable's parlor.

"Ester Loves The Morning" is a 14" Victorian square bottomed cloth bodied doll with a gathered waistline, porcelain head, and porcelain arms. She is wearing an 1858 Morning Dress. Esther has two layers of lace trim along the bottom of her body. Her slip is finished along the bottom hem edge with flat lace trim and is gathered at the waist. A full length lace overslip has been added and is also gathered at the waist.

Her 1858 Morning Dress is very dainty looking and has a lace trimmed and gathered front insert with 4 levels of gathered lace trim. Flat lace trim surrounded by gathered lace trim is sewn to the front center of the bodice and lace trim adorns the sleeve hem edge. Her Victorian dress has a multi-layered lace trimmed overskirt and both the overskirt and dress skirt with the dainty front insert are gathered at the waist. Gathered lace trim also adorns the waistline of her dress bodice and dress skirt and adorns the bottom hem edge of her dress skirt. Her dress is gathered at the neck edge and adorned with lace trim. Ester's outfit includes a lined and lace trimmed shawl with arm loops. Her dainty bonnet is adorned with multiple layers of lace trim and ribbon bows and is gathered along the bun line of her hair.

Ester just loves her 1858 Morning Dress and loves to go out walking in the morning when she is wearing it. She knows that it is exquisitely detailed and lace trimmed and draws a lot of attention which Esther doesn't mind at all. She just loves all the flattery.

Note: The porcelain head and hands that are pictured are from Midwest Design Imports.

Designer - Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals

Saturday, March 19, 2016

You've Got To Be Kidding!

If you're been reading my Linda's 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."

Friday, March 18, 2016

The French Doll Fashion Collection At The MET


If you follow my Victorian Dolls, Victorian Traditions, The Victorian Era and Me Blog you know that I just LOVE the Victorian Era, love history, and love to do research. In doing all of that I ran across the Metropolitan Museum of Art website the other day and fell in love with their collections, the ability to see everything they have in their collections, and the ability to set-up my own "My Met" space to bookmark items at the MET that I love.

Well, while "Moseying At The MET!" last week I came across items from their French Doll Fashion Collection and fell in love with them.  Now all you have to know as to why I would fall in LOVE with them is they have to do with dolls and have to do with the fashions of the Victorian Era and periods before and after that.

They are in fact a collection of fashion dolls displaying French fashions from 1715 until 1906.  There seems to be 42 dolls in the collection and they give you a wonderful picture of the way French fashion has changed through the ages.


Each of the doll pages has information of the fashion year the doll was created for, fashion designer who created it, date created, culture, medium, dimensions, credit line, and accession number. They also include a description containing information on the collection and information on the dolls design.

For example,  the 1715 doll shown in the picture above and at the top of this post had the following descriptive information on her design: The inspiration for this dress came from the painting L'Enseigne de Gersaint by Watteau. Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) was best known for inventing the fete galante, a genre characterized by outdoor parties and bucolic scenes in idyllic settings. L'Enseigne de Gersaint was actually completed in 1720, five years after the date of the Rochas design. Watteau created this work for his friend and art dealer, Gersaint's shop, where it is believed to have hung in the window as a sign. This painting, in addition to being an interesting study of everyday life in an art dealer's shop, is an excellent example of the famous "Watteau pleats". The fashionable women in Watteau's fete gallants were so often depicted wearing this style, that they became known as Watteau pleats.

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art the reason for the collection was as follows: - In 1947, in response to the suffering of post-World War II France, an American grassroots campaign organized a large-scale relief package. The following year France, moved by this generosity, organized a gift in kind. As the aide was sent to France housed in boxcars and dubbed the "American Friendship Train" the French created the "Gratitude" or "Merci Train", a set of 49 boxcars filled with gifts of thanks. Each of the 48 states was to receive a boxcar with the 49th shared between Washington D.C., and the Territory of Hawaii, which had contributed sugar on the Friendship Train. A wide array of items was included in these cars, from handmade children's toys to priceless works of art.

The Chambre Syndicale de la Couture de Parisienne, who, to raise money for the French people, had two years prior organized the Theatre de la Mode, a group of fashion dolls dressed in clothing from the 1947 couture collections, chose to create a new set of fashion dolls, this time representing the evolution of French fashion rather than the current season. Once again, the Syndicat tapped the most talented and well-known fashion designers, hairstylists, and accessory designers of the time to create these miniature masterpieces.

The unique design of the fashion doll, originally created for Theatre de la Mode and used again for the Gratitude Train was conceived by Eileen Bonabel, the plaster head by the artist Rebull. Each doll measures approximately 24 inches tall, with bodies made entirely of open wire. Human hair was used to fashion the hairstyles. Each designer chose a year between 1715 and 1906 for which to dress his doll. Their varying sources of inspiration included works of art, literature, and historic fashion plates. The Gratitude Train fashion dolls represent a unique moment in the history of couture as they represent not only creative interpretations of historic fashions by the greatest designers of the period, but also are infused with the unparalleled skill, care, and attention to detail that would have been applied in their full-size counterparts.

I would have to agree with the MET, but would add that viewing this collection in it's entirety would be visual eye-candy for anyone who loves the fashions of those periods.

The collection is not on display so, of course, I set-up a French Fashion Doll Collection Page and a set collection in My MET so I could view all the dolls in the collection at any time.  And, if I wanted to read more on any particular design all I would need to do is click on the image for that doll's page at the MET.  How great is that?  I LOVE it.

Both of my pages are shown below:


My Pinterest Page - French Fashion Doll Collection 



I can't quite decide which is my favorite doll of the collection as of yet.  I have to read through all the descriptions first and then maybe I'll decide.   Or, I'll never decide and just enjoy each of the dolls for her beauty and the attention to detail on her amazing costume.

I hope you enjoy the collection as much as I do.


I LOVE Victorian Dresses



It's no secret that I LOVE Victorian dresses. So it should come as now surprise that I've got A "Victorian Fashions" board on my Pinterest page.  In fact there's quite a few boards over there that have to do with my love of the Victorian Era and Victorian Fashions.

In finding pins for my "Victorian Fashions" board I happened to stumble across the Metropolitan Museum of Art which has an astonishing collection of Victorian Fashions. It took me close to an hour to go through all the wonderful fashions and, of course, to pin most of them to my board. If you've been following my blog you know I haven't found any Victorian dress I haven't liked.

I also found two Victorian fashion websites that sell fashions from the Victorian era. These included "Maggie May's Historic Clothing" and the "Antique and Vintage Clothing" website.

According to the "Maggie May's Historic Clothing website they sell "Custom and Ready-made garments for the museum, exhibit, and film industry since 1994 featuring historically documented fabrics drawn from museum collections across the United States and Europe!"

According to the "Antique and Vintage Clothing" website they sell "Original Antique and Vintage Clothing for Sale from the 1800's through Today!" What I really liked about the "Antique and Vintage Clothing" website is they had a ton (and I do mean ton) of close-up pictures for each dress. If you click on any of the images I have from their on my board you'll see what I mean.

I also have a few images from the Philadelphia Museum of Art from several of their "Costume and Textiles" collections.

I also found an Etsy shop "Christine Hall Designs" which sells beautifully custom made Victorian dresses.

I just love going to my board and looking at all the beautiful and historic creations. If Pinterest.com is all about the visual then, hopefully, you'll enjoy your visual visit to my board as much as I do.

There are a few dress that aren't technically "Victorian Era" which was during the reign of Queen Victoria and which ran from June 20, 1837 until January 22, 1901. They pre-date that, but were so beautiful I had to include them. They're more American Colonial than Victorian.

I'm going to continue to add to my "Victorian Fashions" Pinterest.com board so be sure to stop by every once in awhile to see what I've added.


The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from June 20, 1837 until her death on January 22, 1901. I for one am fascinated by Victorian Fashions and LOVE seeing them on display. Here's a few I'd LOVE to see.

Victorian Fashions


If you love my Victorian Fashions board please follow my board by clicking on the link above.

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A Wonderful Moseying At The MET!



I spent last weekend fascinated by pictures of beautiful Victorian dresses on the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.  I had wanted to add some more Victorian dresses to my Victorian Dress Fashions page on Pinterest and figured that a museum website might be a good place to start.  So, I decided to go to the biggest museum in the U.S. the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

I would have loved to have physically visited the Met and seen these dresses, but they aren't on display right now and New York city is not a hop skip and a jump away.  So, I let my fingers do the walking or keying and spent several delightful hours just moseying through all their virtual displays.  I have to tell you that the amount of donated material is just astonishing.  I couldn't believe how many incredible Victorian dresses they have.  Hundreds upon hundreds.  All I could do was drool over them and think about what an astonishing display it would be to actually see them all in person.  Ah, one can dream.

The nice thing about the Met website is you can see all their collections whether they are currently on display or not.  Everything is cataloged and available online. You can even set up a "My Met" page where you can store and categorize your own MET favorites - which, of course, I did.  Of course, seeing beautiful creations is the optimum.  However, visiting the MET online is a close second.

While I was out there I quickly gathered that there were many, many dresses that might look Victorian, but actually aren't from that period which, of course, led me to a little research.  If you're a follower of my Linda's Blog you know how much I LOVE history and love researching.  My researching led me to several reference websites, several fashion websites, several museum websites, and so on.  I was in research heaven  which for me is like the next best thing to sliced bread.

What I learned was there are many, many periods to fashion and if you were to have a historic lineage display of the fashions throughout the years you'd be able to easily see how a Victorian dress might differ from an Edwardian or a Romantic period dress - even how the Victorian crinoline was different from the Victorian bustle dress.

It was a wonderful eye opener for me and benefited me in two ways.  One, I got to exercise my brain by learning something new and two, I got a lot of research material for my Victorian Dolls, Victorian Traditions, The Victorian Era and Me Blog.  My Victorian Dolls, Victorian Traditions, The Victorian Era and Me Blog is a personal, ad free blog all about the Victorian era, their history, their traditions, and my feeble attempt to create some Victorian dolls of my own.

With all this new knowledge I decided that I'd like to write a series on my Victorian Dolls, Victorian Traditions, The Victorian Era and Me Blog about the different fashion periods and show you some of the astonishing Victorian dresses that you can see on the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.  Not only do you get to see some of their Victorian dresses, but they provide you a little insight into the dress and a little history surrounding the fashion.  If you love Victorian dresses like I do you'll be in fashion heaven and be drooling over all the astonishing creations like I was.

I'll be sure to post on my Linda's Blog from time to time to let you know what's going on over on my Victorian Dolls, Victorian Traditions, The Victorian Era and Me Blog or you could bookmark it and check in from time to time yourself.


Opulance and Menopause - A Strange Combination!

The other day my sister, sister-in-law and I decided to visit Newport, Rhode Island for a little shopping and touring of some of the mansions.

It was a windy, crisp day - which for me was alternatingly warm, cool, clammy, cold and sometimes HOT (darn that menopause).  So, I was glad I was dressed in layers.

Jackets on, jackets off.   Sweating to death and then needing warmth from the chill.

We decided to do some shopping first and then visit The Breakers, Rosecliff, and one other mansion.

While we were shopping one of the shop owners noticed I had picked up a book on Doris Duke and suggested that we might want to visit her Rough Point mansion as, in her opinion, it was the best mansion in Newport. She proceeded to tell us how much Doris Duke had done for Newport so, we decided to include her mansion at the end of our visit and thanked the shop owner for her suggestion.

I had been to The Breakers several years before with hubby and my mother. At that time it was lead by a tour guide. This time they had headphones and a self directed tour - which I really liked as you could go at your own pace.

The last time I was there I was struck by the richness of the mansion, but this time it really hit me as to how opulent it really was. At one point the cassette tape was saying that the Vanderbilt's had stressed to the architect and designer that they wanted the mansion and its' interior design to be simple.

Well, what I was looking at was in sharp contrast to the cassette tape that was saying that the Vanderbilt's didn't consider their mansion to be elaborately decorated and, in fact, deliberately instructed the architect and designer to make it simple. If that was "simply decorated" then I'd hate to see what they considered "elaborately decorated" to be!

This time I was also struck by how much work went into creating the mosaic room. The walls, ceiling and floor were all constructed of tiny mosaic tiles. I could only imagine at how long it took to create just that room. It was just incredible - opulent, but incredible.

I was also stuck by the fact that one of the rooms was off limits to all the women of the house (including Mrs. Vanderbilt) and one of the rooms was off limits to all the men of the house (including Mr. Vanderbilt). Can you imagine living in your own house and not being able to go into one of the rooms because you were a female?

This just reinforced my notion that while I LOVE the Victorian Era fashions I would have had a real problem with Victorian Etiquette. My feminism and the Victorian norms of the time would certainly clash.

When I was leaving I found two books in the Breakers gift shop that I thought would be interesting reference for the Victorian Etiquette series I've been writing for years on my Linda's Blog and here on my "Victorian Dolls, Victorian Traditions, The Victorian Era and Me" blog.

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/

Will You Come To My Tea Party?

Childhood tea parties with ones dolls and friends were just so delightful. Weren't they? Not only did you get to have all your dollies around you, but you also got to play dress-up, too. I can remember having tea parties as a child. Sometimes it was just my dollies and me, but that was okay. They were always great company. I'd serve my dollies tea in one of my tea sets. They would carry on about this or that. We'd have a grand old time.

As a matter of fact, I still have the three different tea sets that my Grandmother and Mother gave me as a child. One is very, very tiny china pieces. One is made of royal blue glass, and one is white and gold bone china. A couple of the bone china handles are broken, but other than that the sets are still in good shape. I take them out from time to time. They always remind me of a time of pure innocence.

In fact, when I was a child my mother started giving me a different bone china tea cup and saucer every year for about ten years or so. The trend back then was to have a bunch of beautiful and delicate cups and saucers to use when you had your friends over for tea. Of course, I couldn't use them until I was an adult. I still have them and they are still very pretty and very delicate.

No matter how hard I tried, and how much I begged I could never get my older brother (who is only 10 months older than me) to have a tea party with me. He just wouldn't. He always said "I hate dolls." In fact, he still hates dolls. How can anyone hate dolls? It boggles my mind. I can't even get him to visit my website or read my Linda's Blog. He thinks they're only about dolls. Boys! Men! Who can explain the illogical way they think! In any event, my sister, when she was old enough, was always willing to have a tea party with me. And, of course, there were always my dollies willing to so as well.

Maybe my love of little girl tea parties explains my love of tea. I love having several cups of tea in the morning and several cups of tea in the afternoon. It's always very relaxing. I've decided that I would have been well suited for the Victorian tradition of afternoon teas. I could attend a Victorian afternoon tea party and wear a beautiful Victorian dress. Why not? I love the dresses and I love tea. My problem would be when I opened my mouth to speak. I don't think they cared for feminist viewpoints back then.

Oh, well! In thinking about all this my usual curiosity got the better of me and I began to wonder "How did this all begin and what exactly were the rules for a Victorian Afternoon Tea Reception?"

Tea was introduced into Britain around 1650, was very expensive, and available only to the very wealthy (of course). Tea gradually become more and more popular and less expensive. It was viewed as a refreshing non-alcoholic alternative to ale. It was thought that tea cured headaches, fevers, colds, dropsy and scurvy. Some of the first tea brews were spread on bread and eaten. Others were brewed in a cup with butter and salt added. Yuck! What a way to kill a perfectly good cup of tea!

In the town houses and country homes of the rich it was fashionable to take tea after meals. Women would retire to the Drawing Room after dinner and would enjoy tea and coffee. The men stayed at the table and drank port wine (probably discussing the important issues of the day. No wait. That was done by the women in the Drawing Room!). As the tea trade increased and the prices went down tea became a popular drink for both the rich and the poor. By the mid 1800's the coffee houses of London were centers of tea and conversation attracting all the notable men. You notice I said "men." Women weren't allowed to frequent such establishments (gosh, they might get corrupted) and as a result began to invite each other over to each others homes.

Afternoon tea became fashionable during the early part of the 19Th century and was usually served around 4 o'clock. At first it was kind of "risque" for the ladies to "take afternoon tea" in their private sitting rooms or boudoirs. After all, the men were in their "coffee houses." Then, around 1850 as afternoon tea receptions grew in popularity, they were moved to the Drawing Room. Both ladies and gentlemen were invited to attend then, but it was usually ladies in attendance. At least the ladies had the good manners to invite the men to their afternoon teas. The "afternoon teas" soon became the focus of social visits and an "afternoon tea etiquette" was established which involved a complex set of rules. Of course there were rules of etiquette! We're talking about the Victorians here.

The lady of the house would hold an "at home" party on a set day of the month. Visiting cards were sent out and included details as to what to expect and prepare for. Ladies usually dressed formally and wore hats and gloves. Sometimes the Victorian women would bring their own tea cups wrapped in special boxes. Whatever was required of the guests was clearly communicated in the visiting card so as not to embarrass the guest.

The creation of the cup & saucer occurred at this time, as did cream & milk jugs, sugar bowls, tea caddies, tea kettles, dishes, plates, teaspoons, and teapots. China was used for intimate teas. Silver tea pots were used for formal teas.

There were two distinct forms of tea service: "high" and "low" tea. "Low" tea or "Afternoon Tea" was served in the aristocratic homes of the wealthy in mid-afternoon. It featured gourmet appetizers to eat while engaging in polite conversation. "High" tea was a main or "meat" meal of the day. It was a family evening meal in the homes of the middle classes and working families and consisted mostly of dinner or supper items such as meat pies, vegetables, bread and butter, cakes, and a pot of tea.

According to the rules of etiquette, only simple refreshments should be served at an afternoon tea. Thin slices of bread and butter, sandwiches, fancy biscuits or cake, tea, coffee, or chocolate, ice-cream and bouillon. Punch and lemonade could also be served, but no wine or alcoholic beverages.

As the afternoon tea was considered an "informal" event the hostess would shake hands with her guests. If the number of guests was small the hostess would walk around the room and talk with her visitors. She would also, pour the tea and make sure every one's cup was always full. If the number of guests was large the hostess would remain at the door and other ladies would help entertain the guests. She would also ask some of her friends if they would serve as a "pourer" of the tea at their table.

When drinking a cup of tea, the rules of etiquette say "keep your pinkie down" for to extend one's pinkie was an indication of arrogance, an inflated self-importance and was considered very rude. Also, you should always lift both the cup and saucer to your mouth. And, do not let the saucer sit on the table alone (god forbid, if you do you might cut struck by lightning). If you add milk to your tea it should be added first, then the tea should be poured in. A lemon slice or sugar should always be added last. When stirring your tea, you shouldn't make noises by clinging the sides of the cup while stirring. Remember, in Victorian times "ladies" did not bring attention to themselves. Never leave your spoon in the cup and do not sip your tea from the spoon either. That would be scandalous! After stirring, the spoon should be placed quietly on the saucer next to the cup, on the right hand side under the handle.

Afternoon tea parties usually lasted for two hours or so. When leaving the tea party guests were always expected to thank the hostess and a proper thank you note was always sent afterwards. To not thank the hostess was considered rude and would probably exclude you from attending tea parties in the future.

Now that you know the rules of etiquette for an afternoon tea party I have a question for you. "Will you come to my tea party?" I promise my dollies won't criticize you for having your pinkie up!


We Could Use Some Etiquette Today!

In case you've never heard the word "etiquette" it means "The body of prescribed social usages" and "Any special code of behavior or courtesy." In a polite society it is the way in which individuals deal with each other socially. It is a set of rules of good manners and behavior that changes with the times. Etiquette contains rules for the simplest actions ( such as, "Hello" or "How are you?") to rules for the most elaborate social event.

Why am I telling you this? Because I think a lot of young people today are growing up in a society that is, in many ways, lacking in social etiquette. In some cases, manners have been thrown out the window entirely. What ever happened to "Please!" and "Thank-You!" What has happened to table manners, thank-you cards for gifts received, common courtesy, polite telephone manners, polite rules of the road, treating others as you wish to be treated, lending a hand without worrying about "what's in it for me (or, my personal favorite, why should I?)" and, last but not least, respect for your elders?

Etiquette is a French word meaning "ticket" that came to mean a prescribed routine that is passed down. In France, this began with court behavior and quickly spread to requirements of good behavior in court circles and among aristocrats. Eventually, etiquette became the responsibility of the parents to impart some degree of good manners and behavior down to their children, and so on and so on. So, do we blame the parents, the grandparents, or the youth of today? Do we then hold the youth of today blameless. I don't think so.

Etiquette became the norm for all social behavior and there wasn't a society more in tune with etiquette then that of the Victorian Era (surprise, surprise, one of my favorites.) So, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the Victorian Rules of Etiquette (and there were many of them) to see if, perhaps, it could be applied to today. The Victorians had so many rules that it would impossible in a short posting to capture them all. Some of their rules were appropriate, others down right foolish. So, I thought I'd take a look at the Victorian Rules of Etiquette a little at a time and post different articles to my Linda's Blog from time to time. Something for all my Blog readers to look forward to.

First of all, you need to understand that ninety percent of everything you might find in a Victorian Rules of Etiquette manual is nothing more than "common courtesy." So, the first Victorian Rule of Etiquette is "If it would be rude now, it was rude then." The ultimate Victorian Rule of Etiquette was in always trying to follow the "Golden Rule", and that is "To Do Unto Others As You Would Have Then Do Unto You." I don't believe that the Golden Rule has changed, do you?

For this article, let's take a look at "Victorian Visiting Etiquette" and see if any of their rules could be applied to today.

Some rules while visiting:

1) Do not enter a room without knocking first and receiving an invitation to come in - That definitely applies to today. In fact, any brother or sister could tell you that you NEVER enter some one's room (especially a sibling) without their permission. What do you think all those KEEP OUT - AND THIS MEANS YOU signs on the door are for?

2) Always Be On Time - This definitely applies to today. In fact, it's one rule that I'm sure is broken more today then it was in the Victorian era. Definitely, a pet peeve of all company managers.

3) Do not toss over cards in the card receiver - Calling cards were used during the Victorian Era to announce intentions to visit, etc. and they were usually kept in some sort of calling card box or receiver. In other words, DO NOT SNOOP! This definitely applies to today.

4) When friends come to call on you, don't look at your watch, lest they think you desire them to leave. Conversely, if you are the caller, do not look at your watch. - AM I BORING YOU!!! It's really kind of boorish to convey to your guest, or for your guest to convey to you that they find you boring and have better places to be. Definitely applies to today.

5) Don't walk around the room when waiting for the hostess. - Kind of goes hand and hand with #3. Don't be a snoop.

6) Don't open or shut a door, raise or lower a window curtain, or in any other way alter the arrangement of a room when visiting. - Definitely applies to today, especially to mother's or mother's-in-law.

7) Turn you chair so your back faces another guest. - Really, that's just plain rude. Definitely applies to today.

8) To remove one's gloves when making a formal call. - Probably one of the rules that Jack-the-Ripper followed. Can't you see all the CSI detectives, today, hearing this and thinking DNA. This is not a good rule. Nor should it apply to today.

9) To make remarks about another caller who has just left the room. - In other words, NO DISSING!!! Oh, yeah! Definitely needs to be learned by the youth of today.

10) Do not laugh at your own wit, allow others to do it. - Today, this is called being "full of yourself" and certainly applies to the "me, me, me" ego.

11) NEVER pick you teeth, scratch your head, use a toothpick, comb your hair, blow your nose, pass gas, or clean your nails in company. Use a handkerchief when necessary, but without glancing at it afterwards. - Gross!!!! Definitely applies to today. Can't you hear all the kids giggling at these rules!

12) Do not place your arm on the back of a chair occupied by a woman. - Okay, everyone, picture all the teenage boys on their first movie date. Stretch, hands over head, cough, stretch, arm lands on the back of the chair of your date. Phew! Harmless rule. Need not apply to today.

13) Do not go into public smelling of onions or garlic. - I think you should add "unless you're in the presence of Dracula or traveling through Transylvania" to this rule. I don't even want to know how or why this rule came about. Suffice to say, I don't think it's a problem for today.

Wasn't that fun? Stay tuned for more of my Linda's Blog articles on Victorian Etiquette and whether or not they should be applied to today.

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!

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.