Antique dolls

I shared some of my antique rag dolls from my father’s side of the family before, and so here are some from my mother’s side.

The first is a bit of a mystery. It is a mammy doll with a rag body and walnut head. The baby on her arm is painted bisque. It is always difficult to date handmade dolls very closely when the history is unknown. The clothing doesn’t help much because the mammy dolls all looked about the same. My grandmother was an indulged only child and you wouldn’t think she herself would have had a doll with a walnut head, so it may have belonged to another family member. Her mother was a marvelous seamstress but much of the stitching, especially in the hidden portions, is very crude. The only definite association with my grandmother is that it was found in her attic.

The second is much less mysterious. This is an Effanbee Mary Lee doll, made in 1932. The Mary Lee dolls were made between 1930 and 1935 with composition head/shoulders and limbs and a cloth body. This doll has a jointed body entirely of composition, which was only made that one year. I need to take her to the doll hospital to have new elastic put in her body to hold her arms and legs on. Originally she had lovely hair, but she has obviously had a haircut. Her weighted eyes still work.

2 thoughts on “Antique dolls

    • I’m pretty sure she didn’t because she always said the sum total of her sewing abilities involved resewing a button and hemming curtains. Parts of this are done beautifully. The hemstitching on the apron is perfect. It’s an odd combination. It is almost like some of the cruder work consists of repairs made by a later person.


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