The United Federation of Doll Clubs
The United Federation of Doll Clubs, Inc.
A Capital Affair
Supper, from “Christmas in Little Peopleton Manor” in Illustrated London News, Christmas 1879, Kate Greenaway / Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK / The Bridgeman Art Library
64th Annual Convention July 29th to August 1st, 2013 Washington, D.C.
A Capital Affair z 1
Laurie W. McGill
Graphic Designer Julie Denton
United Federation of Doll Clubs, Inc. 10900 N. Pomona Ave. Kansas City, MO 64153 © Copyright 2013 UFDC
Hudson Graphics, Inc. 611 S. Mobberly • PO Box 7010 Longview, TX 75607 • 903-758-1773 www.hudsonprint.com Cover: Illustration for “St. Valentine’s Day,” 1914, Kate Greenaway, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK / The Bridgeman Art Gallery
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Acknowledgements from the Editor When I accepted the honor of serving as editor for the 2013 United Federation of Doll Clubs’ souvenir journal, I discovered that the position entails many steps – fine-tuning a theme for the book to coordinate with the convention’s theme, enlisting authors, obtaining rights to copyrighted photographs, securing a printer, a graphic designer, a copy editor, monitoring a budget and meeting deadlines. It has been an exciting journey. I extend sincere and heartfelt appreciation to those who accompanied me: Janet Gula for having faith in me; The authors – without whom this book would not have been possible; Julie Denton, graphic designer, whose talent and patience were never failing; Cindy Kronman, copy editor, for her magical way of putting words into sentences and sentences into the proper order; Dorothy Drake, advertising manager, whose expertise was invaluable;
Our advertisers, who ensured the quality of this book; The dedicated office staff at UFDC Headquarters - Sheryl Sunderman, Jenny Yocklin and Kae Wieser – who met every need; Lynne Dowler, my long-time mentor, for her guidance and encouragement; Ann Leis, my dear friend, who tirelessly rallied the clubs in Region 3; And to those clubs and individuals whose caring support made all the difference...
Laurie Laurie W. McGill Editor, “A Capital Affair”
In appreciation for their support to the 2013 Souvenir Journal
Albuquerque Antique & Modern Doll Club Bluebonnet Bebes of Houston Bluebonnet Doll Collectors Club of Texas Brazoria County Doll Club Dallas Doll Club Desert Dolls of Albuquerque Doll Collectors Club of Irving Doll Collectors of Oklahoma Doll Friends of Amarillo Enchanted Dolls of New Mexico First Houston Doll Club Ft. Worth Antique Doll Club Metrocrest Doll Collectors of Dallas Metroplex Doll Club Richardson Doll Club San Antonio Doll Collectors Sandia Doll Club Sun Country Doll Folks of El Paso Treasured Doll Club of Oklahoma Waxahachie Doll Club
Lynne Logue Dowler Martha J. Logue Kae Wieser
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From the President I want to thank Laurie McGill for taking on the responsibility of editing this souvenir journal for our 64th Annual Convention. As we enjoy reading this book, let us consider our beloved Federation in the context of Washington D.C., capital of the United States. Our organization is founded upon the same set of core values providing equal representation for all who wish to research dolls of every description. This convention provides each member club with equal representation at the Annual Meeting. Let us also ponder the story of first lady, Helen (Nellie) Taft. As an individual she stepped forward through her role as first lady to support her mission, fundamental democratic rights for all citizens. The United Federation of Doll Clubs must step forward to support its mission to protect and preserve dolls for future study and enjoyment. We are the only national organization to encourage collectors from all over the world to join together to accomplish this critical undertaking. It is easy when we meet in our own clubs to lose sight of the mission of our organization in our joy of interacting with each other and sharing our dolls with our local doll family. We are reminded in this dynamic city of our obligation to support the goal of UFDC, a national program strong enough to inform all about our mission. Let us be inspired by women such as Helen Taft who, despite failing health while in the White House, willingly stepped forward to promote the critical issues of her day. Helen Taft has left us all a beautiful bouquet of cherry blossoms. Members of UFDC must leave behind a strong national organization with members committed to study, protect and preserve dolls, the unique record of the social history of our civilization.
Ada Diedrich President, UFDC
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From the Director of Convention Services “My life was filled with interests of a most unusual kind.” This quote was written by Helen Taft, wife of William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States. The beautiful portrait of Helen Taft posed in front of the White House in a diaphanous ball gown, was the inspiration for this year’s convention along with the 1909 inaugural ball. Helen’s words struck a chord with me as both a collector of dolls and a member of the UFDC. Sometimes I find myself thinking that my hobby is unusual, not so much in terms of the love of dolls, but more on reflection of the journey this love has taken me on and how the UFDC has impacted my life through friendship, learning and service. Helen Taft was a remarkable woman. She was ambitious, determined and had a vision of what she wanted to achieve. Her passion for both Washington and politics led to her marriage with Taft and she was a guiding influence and a true partner in his political life. Sadly she suffered a stroke a few months after Taft’s election but in spite of that she continued her dream of turning Washington into the cultural center of the United States. Helen reminds me of UFDC’s own founders. They combined ambition, determination and vision and started the organization that this year comes together for its 64th annual meeting. Over the years many other individuals have continued on this path and today UFDC is a remarkable organization with its own museum, archives, library, publications, on-line presence and an international membership. The journey has not always been an easy one but yet here we are, continuing to grow and evolve. It has been my great honor and pleasure to serve as Director of Convention Services for the past two years. I could not have done this job without the support of many talented and hardworking UFDC members. While I cannot mention everyone by name (that would fill a journal by itself) I must mention with appreciation for their support the other members of the Executive Committee: Linda Edward, Loretta Nardone and our retiring President, Ada Diedrich. Ada’s leadership has been an inspiration and I salute her for her dedication and hard work and showing us through her actions what teamwork is all about. To Laurie McGill, our souvenir journal editor, I offer my sincere gratitude and congratulations for the tremendous job she has done. When I approached Laurie with fingers crossed that she would accept this challenging position, it was based on my great respect for the work she has done for UFDC. Having worked with her for the past year my respect for her has only increased. I hope you have a most capital time in the capital city of Washington, D.C. May this year’s convention provide many happy memories and this year’s journal become a cherished souvenir of those delightful days. With my warmest wishes,
Janet P. Gula 2nd Vice President and Director of Convention Services
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From the Regional Director Dear Convention Attendees, On behalf of the members of Region 11, I am pleased to extend a very warm welcome to Washington. Our Region includes Maryland-The Old Line State, Virginia-The Old Dominion, West Virginia-The Mountain State, as well as the District of Columbia, our nation’s capital. Our diverse geography includes the sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, the marshlands of the Chesapeake Bay, the rolling hills of the Piedmont region and the Blue Ridge, Appalachian, and Cumberland Mountains. We are an area steeped in history. The Star Spangled Banner was written by Maryland lawyer Francis Scott Key at the battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. The United States Naval Academy, established in 1845, is located in Annapolis, Maryland, the state capital. Annapolis also once served as the capital of the United States and has the oldest state capitol building still in continuous legislative use. Virginia is called “the birthplace of a nation” because eight of our nation’s presidents were born here and Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in North America. Virginia is now home base for the United States Navy’s Atlantic Fleet and is the location of the Pentagon, the largest office building in the world. The state capital, Richmond, is the former capital of the Confederate States of America and the site of Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech in 1775. West Virginia, whose motto is “Mountaineers Are Always Free,” with its historically significant logging and coal mining industries is responsible for 15-percent of the nation’s total coal production. Coal from West Virginia fueled much of the Industrial Revolution in the United States and the steam ships of many of the world’s navies. Charleston, the state capital and largest city, lies at the intersection of three major interstates making it within a day’s drive of 60 percent of the U.S. population. Our club members, members-at-large, and junior collectors are as diverse as our region. They include women, men and juniors who live here and in other states, and even in other countries. We are diverse in geography and in the wide variety of dolls we collect - everything from the oldest antique dolls to the newest BJDs. But we are united by our common bond, the love of dolls. For these four special days, Washington will not be just the capital of the United States, but the doll capital of the world. Within a short distance of the Washington Hilton you can still find Victorian and Edwardian era buildings, and if you close your eyes you might just hear the sound of President Taft happily motoring by in his Model M Steamer. We hope you will enjoy your time at the convention.
Barbara Stone Director, Region 11
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Preface It was 1962 and the nation’s newspapers were brimming with stories of Jacqueline Kennedy and her daughter, Caroline. Caroline, who was often seen carrying a Raggedy Ann doll, caused quite a stir in my young heart. Although I was in the fourth grade, I was insistent that I wanted a Raggedy Ann doll for Christmas that year. But my friends began to tease me about still having dolls in my bedroom. Wanting to fit in with my peers and avoid their harsh judgment, I carefully packed my dolls away. By that summer, after school had ended, I missed my dolls. I didn’t so much miss playing with them. I missed seeing them. My mother had clipped an article out of our local newspaper about a woman who collected dolls, and when I read it, suddenly an idea came to me. I would bring my dolls back out and tell my friends that I was a collector. And so I did. And so I am. Several fortuitous happenstances occurred after that life-changing decision. The pivotal one, I suppose, was meeting a new friend in seventh grade whose grandmother had been a doll repair woman in our town. The grandmother, recognizing my keen interest in the stories behind the dolls, guided me to such wonders as the early doll collecting books written by Janet Johl and Clara Hallard Fawcett; the child-directed doll and dollhouse collecting books by authors Flora Gill Jacobs and Helen Young; Kimport’s Doll Talk magazine; Elizabeth Andrews Fisher’s Toy Trader magazine; and Lightner Publishing Corporation’s Hobbies: A Magazine for Collectors. Frequently articles appeared in the “Dollology” column of Hobbies: A Magazine for Collectors pertaining to the dolls of Washington, D.C. I read of Sally, the White House doll purportedly coming to the Smithsonian Institute from John Quincy Adams’ family. I saw pictures of the doll paintings in the National Gallery of Art’s Index of American Design. And it was in Flora Gill Jacob’s book A World of Doll Houses that I first learned of Fanny Hayes’ doll house. Decades later when the UFDC held one of its annual conventions in Washington, D.C., I was able to see some of the things I had read about as a young girl. However, when this year’s convention services director, Janet Gula, asked me to edit the UFDC’s 2013 Souvenir Journal for Washington, D.C., I hesitated because the theme was the Edwardian Era with an emphasis on the Taft administration, especially first lady Helen Taft. I could not remember anything I had learned in school about President Taft, so I began searching the Internet for information about him. When a result appeared relating Taft to the famous doll that traveled the world, Miss Columbia, my heart literally leaped. And when another search yielded a connection between Taft and the Billiken doll, I knew I wanted to weave together all the stories I’d read in the Hobbies magazines of my youth and the new stories I was discovering about the Tafts into a souvenir journal that would reflect both this year’s convention theme, “A Capital Affair,” and the rich history of our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. It is my sincere hope that you will enjoy traveling back to the early 1900s when our country was entering a new century filled with promise and progress. I hope, too, that you will feel a sense of patriotism and pride as you read stories of the dolls and toys that are part of our nation’s history.
Laurie W. McGill Editor, “A Capital Affair”
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Contents The Edwardian Era
An Edwardian Child of the Capital.................................................................................................... 11 By Elizabeth Ann Coleman The Edwardian Lady Doll and the Edwardian Era.......................................................................... 17 By Donelle Denery and Elizabeth Ann Coleman The Delineator and the Jenny Wren Club......................................................................................... 23 By Laurie W. McGill An Edwardian Rose.............................................................................................................................. 26 By Ann M. Leis Samantha Parkington, An Edwardian Girl for the 21st Century................................................... 28 By Ann M. Leis Lady Pingree and Her Famous Cousin.............................................................................................. 30 By Lorna Lieberman and Donelle Denery
William and Helen Taft
Miss Columbia the Philippines Ambassador of Goodwill.............................................................. 33 By Ann M. Leis A Memoir, The Heather Redfield Hitty............................................................................................. 37 By Laurie W. McGill The Tafts as Paper Dolls....................................................................................................................... 40 Reprinted with permission of Tom Tierney Billiken an American Phenomenon................................................................................................... 42 By Ursula Mertz The Teddy Bear Versus Billy Possum................................................................................................. 46 By John Paul Port and Dottie Ayers First Ladies, Their Gowns, and the Dolls They Have Inspired....................................................... 51 By Bradley Justice And a Little Child Shall Lead Them................................................................................................... 56 By Alan Scott Pate The Girl Scouts at 100.......................................................................................................................... 66 By Roberta Heintz A Thoroughly Modern Woman.......................................................................................................... 72 By Laurie W. McGill 8 y A Capital Affair
The Dolls and Toys of Washington, D.C.
The Red White and Blue....................................................................................................................... 74 By Linda Y. White Sally the White House Doll.................................................................................................................. 77 with appreciation to the Divison of Political History, National Museum of American History Fanny Hayes’ Doll Houses.................................................................................................................... 78 By Laurie W. McGill Dolls and the WPA................................................................................................................................ 80 By Linda Edward A Red Head in the White House......................................................................................................... 84 By Laurie W. McGill Christmas in the White House............................................................................................................ 86 with appreciation to the Division of Political History, National Museum of American History
The Museums of Washington D.C.
Classic American Dolls Stamps - The Back Story............................................................................. 87 By Laurie W. McGill with appreciation to John Clendenin, Carol Corson, Nancy Smith and Elizabeth Ann Coleman Doll Talk the Story of Velvalee Dickenson World War II Spy......................................................... 91 By Denise Buese Elizebeth Smith Friedman America’s First Female Cryptanalyst.................................................. 101 By Denise Buese More than a Wooden Sidekick.......................................................................................................... 102 By Julie Blewis The Doll Paintings of the Index of American Design..................................................................... 106 By Laurie W. McGill with Betty Nett, Doll Curator Wenham Museum Dolls of the National Museum of the American Indian................................................................ 110 By Loretta Nardone I Never Saw Another Butterfly........................................................................................................... 114 By Laurie W. McGill
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â€œThe study of dolls is the study of mankind.â€? - Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859)
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CHILD OF THE CAPITAL
Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery. He has not been broken in two by time. He is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life. G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)
By Elizabeth Ann Coleman
lthough her paternal grandfather had been brought in the early 1890s A to the nation’s capital city to help build its governmental buildings, she was the first in her family to be born within the city’s limits. Our child of
the capital, whose name is well recognized within the world of dolls, entered the world in 1909, and for this occasion we are only interested in her late Edwardian age childhood association with dolls. Thanks to that great tradition of baby books and my grandmother’s notations I can trace my mother’s earliest doll companion: her first “doll baby with a celluloid face and dressed like an Eskimo – we named Mary – Grandmother Robinson gave Dorothy Elizabeth her doll.” Grandmother Robinson was a noted idealistic activist in her day, and her selection of a furbodied doll was just possibly not the best choice for a chew-on-anything baby. On the other hand it was a perfect A page from Dorothy Smith Coleman’s baby book referencing her present. It acted as an introduction to first doll the family into which baby Dorothy had been born, for you see Grandmother Robinson’s husband and Dorothy’s maternal grandfather had spent more than eighteen months in the Alaskan and Siberian Arctic in the late 1860s where he encountered indigenous peoples clothed in fur apparel. Eskimo doll like the one presented to Dorothy Dorothy Elizabeth Smith was born in her parent’s home in Washington, D.C., Smith shortly after her birth, May 13, 1909 on May 13, 1909. Her ever-adoring father attended the birth, identified in the baby
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1913 advertisement (Gamages of London) featuring Christian Hacker doll house given to Dorothy Smith by her father
Doll house family with Simon and Halbig bisque heads acquired in 1914-15 to populate the dolls’ house. Dressed by Dorothy and her mother.
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book as Dr. Smith, and he nearly extinguished her new life by inadvertently sitting on her following delivery. She was one of an exceedingly rare breed, a Washingtonian from birth to death. She attended the John Eaton grade school, which has the distinction of having nurtured two of the twentieth century’s most widely recognized toy historians: Dorothy Coleman and her friend and junior, Flora Gill Jacobs of dollhouse and miniature renown. Dorothy’s own doll’s house has a story behind it (see Jacobs, Dolls’ Houses in America, pp. 266-267.) Her father, like his own, was in the construction business, and one day in either 1914 or 1915 she asked why he built houses for other people but not for her. Not wishing to deny her dream he went off to Washington’s venerable department store, Woodward and Lothrop, and found a display dolls’ house that he promptly bought. This German import dolls’ house, from the Christian Hacker firm, was soon furnished in all forms of modern conveniences and artistic décor and peopled with a bisque headed Simon and Halbig family that were bought unclad and as a set. Dressed by mother and daughter Smith they survive as a now footless father, prim mother, stern grandma, sterner grandpa and two children, who were subsequently redressed by Dorothy in Pilgrim attire for later Thanksgiving celebrations along with other doll house scale all-bisque dolls. Later a cook came on staff. As far as I know these dollhouse dolls never had names, or if they were
Later all bisque additions to the dolls’ house family. Dressed by Dorothy and her mother.
Selection of postcards consoling Dorothy while her doll Goldie was readied for Christmas
named the names were never revealed to me. And while we are on the topic of domestic doings mention should be made of young Dorothy’s culinary forays: she especially enjoyed baking dolly-size biscuits, cut out with a thimble and cooked in her play size electric stove. My grandmother, Elizabeth Webb Robinson Smith, seen in one 1918 photograph with an unforgettable corsage blasting forth from her chest, was Dorothy’s mother and shadows Dorothy’s life with dolls. Dorothy writes of the beginning: “When I was only two years old my mother gave me her own treasured china head doll. Unfortunately I was too little and promptly dropped the doll and broke it into a thousand pieces. Alas at an early age I learned that porcelain heads were fragile.” An only child, Dorothy was showered with dolls by indulgent family and friends. She recalled “vast numbers of Kewpies (some large, but most small and a few tiny), a few in celluloid but most of them in bisque and my small fingers tried to create clothes for them,” especially knitted ones. She goes on to relate that she was not skilled enough to make clothes for her larger dolls. As so many good The Edwardian Era z 13
Dorothy in her own look-alike dress,1919-20, with her mother
mothers do, hers saw to it that Dorothy’s dolls were well dressed. Year after year holiday season postcards would arrive, and surviving ones assure Dorothy that her beloved Goldie (produced by Kammer & Reinhardt with a bisque Simon and Halbig dolly face head), received in 1913, will return shortly from a very, very cold spot, high up on the planet where reindeer roam and a man named Santa Claus is in charge.
Paper doll made by Dorothy, January 1920
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Goldie, in her hey-day, apparently had quite a stylish wardrobe, many of the outfits being copies of Dorothy’s own garments. They were kept in a trunk, all now sadly gone. Dorothy remembered a gorgeous pink satin gown made for Goldie when the doll served as a maid of honor in the wedding of a close friend’s doll. The taffeta in the skirt of Goldie’s one remaining, and obviously favorite, dress is now melting, and I have temporarily replaced it with a vaguely related check. So how do I know it was a favorite dress? There are many clues. To begin with Goldie wears it in all her period photographs. But this is a remarkably important dress for other reasons. There is a photograph of Dorothy and her mother taken in their Cathedral Avenue home in about 1920, when Dorothy would have been around 10. The dress you see on Dorothy is the one childhood dress that has survived. It is of the same pattern as Goldie’s dress, Dorothy’s skirt being a brown and blue check silk and Goldie’s, a brown and white check. Both dresses have a brown velveteen bodice with grosgrain trim and were made by Dorothy’s mother. But the dress connections don’t end here. We read in Dorothy’s January 1920 diary entries a note that she did not attend school because it snowed and Mrs. Brennan came and they made paper dolls. They made two paper dolls: one a representation of my Goldie, Dorothy’s favorite doll has a Simon and Halbig head produced for Kammer and Reinhardt
hard wood of the character-face doll and resented the fact that World War I cut off access to, in her childish opinion, the much prettier German bisque dolly-face dolls. Among the survivors is baby boy Billy, bought in 1913 in Dusseldorf, Germany, by a favorite uncle. The doll has a bisque Hertel and Schwab head and seems to have been one of the lesser lights of her doll family as Dorothy does not write much about him in later recollections. Billy still wears his blue and white cotton romper suit made by Dorothy’s mother. Big baby Elaine, with her Simon and Halbig/ K*R mold 126 bisque head, arrived late in Dorothy’s girlhood, Christmas 1919. Elaine was the last play doll Dorothy received and was probably played with more by her daughters than herself. Elaine’s second play life is recorded in Dorothy’s own diary for February 13, 1949: “EA
“Billy” - Hertel and Schwab bisque-headed baby doll received by Dorothy in 1913. Because he was privately imported his markings do not include German attribution.
grandmother (remember that outrageous corsage) and the other of Goldie with her brown and white checked dress skirt, and excitingly other items from her now missing wardrobe. In addition to these two unique paper dolls, Dorothy played with paper dolls from the Lettie Lane series as printed in the Ladies Home Journal as well as more homemade paper dolls. Dorothy renamed Lettie Lane’s Gibson Girl Lady Doll “Miss Pretty”, abandoning her maid and her one lowly garment. Beyond Goldie, Dorothy’s three-dimensional doll family included a now missing, photographically documented Schoenhut and two survivors. The Schoenhut was not a favorite; Dorothy recorded that she did not like the stiff
Dorothy with her dolls
Goldie in her look-a-like dress The Edwardian Era z 15
[Elizabeth Ann] played with my big doll ‘Elaine’ while EJ [Evelyn Jane] was asleep. When Jane saw the doll she asked where her big dolly was.” In April of the following year “Elaine” would console EA through a bout of the chicken pox. But then tragedy would befall on April 15th: “EA has enjoyed Elaine so much this week but she dropped her & broke off a toe and finger. Back to the attic for Elaine.” But of all the Smith-Coleman family dolls Elaine is best known for her photographic inclusion on the dust jacket of The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Dolls, Volume One. Elaine has survived in her commercial white cotton and lace short baby dress, slip and leather booties. In a recollection Dorothy noted that her larger dolls, such as Goldie and Elaine, came from a local, unnamed, Washington, D.C., department store. The milliners in the millinery department of this store not only made hats for Mrs. Smith and her daughter Dorothy, but also for Dorothy’s dolls. Only Goldie’s black beret-style hat survives. When Dorothy went away to college her lovingly assembled Kewpie family, along with the precious trunk full of Goldie’s clothes, was passed along to younger friends. She never forgave her mother for this. While for many a year her dolls were packed away and ignored in the blazing heat or freezing cold of a Washington attic two little figures never missed a holiday season: two all bisque snow babies and their painted red tin sleds. A century on they are just as playful as they continue their seasonal role. As you now know many of Dorothy Smith Coleman’s dolls have survived not only her but second lives as play and collection dolls of her daughters, also lifelong natives of Washington, D.C., Elizabeth Ann and Evelyn Jane Coleman. Snow babies that graced holiday decorations throughout the lifetime of Dorothy Smith Coleman
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Elaine (left) appeared on the cover of The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Dolls by Dorothy S. Coleman, Elizabeth A. Coleman, Evelyn J. Coleman
The Edwardian LADY THE
An Edwardian lady in full dress was a wonder to behold, and her preparations for viewing were awesome. William Manchester (1922-2004)
By Donelle Denery and Elizabeth Ann Coleman
trictly the term female fashion with panache. From her earliest days as a Edwardian era Danish princess, Alexandra had been recognized as always a applies to the British very stylish woman, blessed with a curvaceous figure and a Empire during the reign tiny waist. of King Edward VII During her husband’s reign she personified elegance from 1901 to 1910, but and fashionability. Her figure represented the curvaceous it is often S silhouette of the early extended Edwardian era. The idealized up to the S-curve silhouette featured outbreak of moderately broad shoulders, World War low monobosom, wasp I to capture the end of an era. The Edwardian era in the United States is also King Edward and his wife, Queen Alexandra referred to as The Gilded Age, which covers the entire period from the end of Radical Reconstruction to the United States’ entry in World War I, roughly 1876 to 1917; in the United States the period is also known as the Progressive Era, which was a period of social activism and political reform that flourished from the 1890s to the 1920s. As sartorially regal as England’s King Edward always presented himself it was his wife, Queen Illustration of corseted “S” shape with moderately broad shoulders, low monobosom, wasp waist, broad Alexandra, his adult daughters, and female hips and well-rounded derriere with trumpet shaped skirt (left) and a lady doll pattern showing the “S” cousins by the dozens who followed current shape, December 1905, McCall’s Magazine (right) The Edwardian Era z 17
waist, broad hips and well-rounded derriere, sheathed in a trumpet-shaped skirt. By 1912 women’s fashion was more of the neoclassical columnar I silhouette. Later Edwardian styles called for relaxing the extremes; there was less emphasis on the shoulders, a more natural waist was allowed, hips and derriere subsided and skirt fullness was reduced, all leading to an almost linear (I) silhouette. A major source for research of Edwardian era clothing can be found in the patterns offered by major pattern companies of the period, especially those that had tie-ins with publications such as The Delineator (Butterick); Standard Fashion and later The Designer (Standard Patterns); McCall’s, and Home Patterns from periodicals with the word home in their title such as Ladies Home Journal. The magazines themselves are also lavishly The Delineator – “I” Silhouette 1912, Queen Alexandra (left) in her “S” shaped wardrobe and her daughter Princess Victoria (right) in her “I” shaped wardrobe.
illustrated with the fashions of the day. Wardrobes of still-existing dolls from that period of time are another source for research on Edwardian fashions, since the apparel of Edwardian ladies greatly influenced what the well-dressed Edwardian lady doll might wear. During the Edwardian period, many companies, primarily in Germany, produced lady dolls. The lady dolls had shapely bodies most often made of composition with molded breasts and slim waists. The porcelain for the lady dolls was made by numerous companies, but perhaps most notably by J. D. Kestner and Simon and Illustration of corseted “I” shape with less emphasis on the shoulders, a more natural waist is allowed, hips and derriere subside and skirt fullness reduced; all leading to an almost linear (“I”) silhouette(left) and a lady doll pattern Halbig. showing the “I” shape, Winter 1913, McCall’s Magazine (right)
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An example of a lady doll body with molded bosom, slim waist and rounded hips. This 16-inch Kestner 162 has elongated forearms which appeared on many lady bodies. Note her heeled shoes.
Kestner, who made and assembled all the components for their dolls, made lady dolls with two molds, 162 and 172, in a variety of sizes. The dolly-faced influence is readily seen in the face of Kestner’s 162. The 162 head is found on a shapely composition lady body. A 16-inch Kestner 162 lady doll with a face reminiscent of the popular By contrast, the German dolly-faced dolls. Kestner 172 has a distinctly lady-face look with her long thin nose and closed, thin mouth. The 172 mold appears to be based on the drawings of Charles Dana Gibson and is called The Gibson Girl. The head is a shoulder head and is commonly found on a leather body with a slim waist which has riveted articulation at the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. The image of the Gibson Girl began to appear in the 1890s. She personified the ideal of feminine beauty as portrayed in the prolific pen-and-ink illustrations by American artist Charles Dana Gibson. The Gibson Girl image spanned a 20-year period reaching across the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century in the United States. Gibson said that the Gibson Girl was the composite of “thousands of American girls.” The Gibson Girl was tall and slender, yet with ample bosom, hips and derriere. She had an exaggerated
Women in Charles Dana Gibson’s popular Gibson Girl drawings (above) wore upswept hair-styles as did the era’s lady dolls, as seen on this 16-inch Kestner 162 (below).
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S-curve torso shape. Her neck was thin and her hair was piled high upon her head in the popular bouffant, pompadour, and chignon (“waterfall of curls”) fashions of the day. During this period, wealthy American families often took long vacations in Europe, and the children sometimes were allowed to bring home lovely lady dolls with extensive wardrobes made in Paris. The Kestner 162 seems to have been a very popular doll with the children of this time, perhaps because of her facial similarities to the beloved dolly face, yet with the sophistication of a lady body.
A closed-mouth Kestner 172 with the classic Gibson Girl face
The profile on this closed-mouth Kestner 172 shows her slender neck.
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16-inch Kestner 162 – Nita - so named for her original owner Nita Pesant. Nita has 34 pieces of clothing and accessories. The Pesant family, as documented by the travel labels on the doll’s trunk, left Hoboken, New Jersey on August 24th, 1911, traveled to Paris and returned on June 17th, 1912.
Simon and Halbig 1159 Open Mouth Lady Doll with a Jumeau-marked body.
Simon and Halbig was another German doll manufacturer that made porcelain heads for lady dolls assembled and sold by other companies. The Simon and Halbig 1159 doll is more commonly found with an open mouth. This doll is found on composition lady bodies manufactured by Handwerck, Jumeau and others. The less common variant of mold 1159 has a closed mouth. Marketed as La Patricienne from 1905-1915, this doll is attributed to Edmund Despres, who was the successor to the Jules Steiner firm. The body seems almost hand sculpted and likely had limited production. The hands are large and resemble Steiner “banana” fingers.
Rare Closed Mouth version of Simon & Halbig 1159 marketed as La Patricienne, attributed to Edmund Despres
A close-up of the“banana fingers” of the Edmund Despres “La Patricienne” lady doll
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The First World War (1914-1918) had a pronounced effect on womenâ€™s fashion in the Western world. Several trends that had roots in the decades prior to the war were rapidly accelerated by wartime conditions. The most lasting change happened to womenâ€™s hemlines. Hems, which had risen from floor length to ankle length prior to the war, rose to mid-calf length by 1916 and have stayed that high, or higher, ever since. After the War in 1918 the suffragettes finally won the right to vote in the United Kingdom, and in America voting rights for women were won in 1920. Fashion trends toward a more casual look continued in the 1920s. American culture became very youth oriented, and fashion began to look to teenand college-age students for its inspiration. The College Man and The Flapper became the new images of all that was fashionable. The elegant yet progressive Edwardian era was looked back upon with fond sentiment and wistful nostalgia.
16-inch Kestner 162 clad in dresses with rising hemlines â€“ a style typical of the later Edwardian period
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The DELINEATOR ANDThe JENNY WREN
By Laurie W. McGill
Rule 14: Always try to have a little fun at the meetings; after the sewing is done and the room tidied is the best time. (The Jenny Wren Club)
he term Jenny Wren likely originated in England with the invention of the Spinning Jenny. The spinning wheel, T which made only one thread at a time, was displaced by the spinning jenny, on which twenty, fifty, a hundred, and even a thousand threads could be spun at once. Children between the ages of twelve and fourteen could operate the
machine. The invention of the jenny thus marked the beginning of child labor in cotton and woolen factories. Girls brought to the mills from the farms were sometimes called Wrens, and any woman who sewed for a living became known as Jenny Wren. Eventually that name was immortalized in an 1860s novel by Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend. A child in the story (alternately called the person of the house or Jenny Wren, the Dolls’ Dressmaker) was a key character in the story. Miss Jenny Wren Dolls’ Dressmaker Dolls attended at their own residence
Illustrations of Jenny Wren from Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend as seen in the January 1, 1868 issue of Harper’s Bazar.
A conversation between Jenny Wren and a customer went: “Dolls’. I’m a Dolls’ dressmaker.” “I hope it’s a good business?” The person of the house shrugged her shoulders and shook her head. “No. Poorly paid. And I’m often so pressed for time. I had a doll married last week, and was obliged to work all night. And they take no care of their clothes, and they never keep to the same fashions a month.” “Are you always as busy as you are The Dolls’ Dressmaker A Magazine for Girls was now?” printed for two years (1891-1892). “Busier. I’m slack just now. I finished a large mourning order the day before yesterday. Doll I work for lost a canary bird.” The Edwardian Era z 23
Almost 30 years after Dickens’ novel was published, a child’s magazine inspired by the character’s name, called The Dolls’ Dressmaker – A Magazine for Girls, was printed for two years (1891-1892). Published monthly by “Jennie Wren, 35 East 77th Street, New York City,” the magazine contained stories about dolls, a Mother’s page, the Doll’s Letter Box and pattern pages for making doll clothes and doll furniture. Leading authors of the day such as Louisa May Alcott wrote stories for the little publication. Then in November 1906 a popular women’s magazine, The Delineator, presented a column and an idea titled “The Dolls’ Dressmaker – The Story of a Jenny Wren Club.” The introduction instructed: This is the story of a little girls’ club of Dolls’ Dressmakers. You know who Jenny Wren was – the poor deformed little Dolls’ Dressmaker in “Our Mutual Friend”. Our girls who read this story ought to enjoy it, and they should get some real practical benefit out of it. We should like our young readers to organize Jenny Wren Clubs, such as here described. One dozen girls combining in this way, and carrying out the ideas explained in these articles, can get a great deal of pleasure out of the Winter season. Write to us what you think of this plan, and we will help you to get your club going, and send you paper patterns to work with. Write to the Jenny Wren Club Department.
Each Jenny Wren Club received a charter signed by the general directress and each member received a Jenny Wren Club pin.
The general directress of Jenny Wren Clubs was Catherine Heath. By the February 1907 issue of The Delineator over 29 Jenny Wren Clubs had been formed, and in approximately one year there were more than 3,000 members in the clubs throughout the United States, its territories and foreign countries. Clubs received a Jenny Wren Club Charter signed by Heath and a booklet of instructions detailing club by-laws, duties of officers, order of meeting and “Some Practical Hints in Dolls Dressmaking.” Members would also receive Delineator membership pins with the words “Delineator Jenny Wren Club” encircling a large D entwined with a pair of sewing scissors and a spool of thread. When the Jenny Wren Club Department was A book of instructions was sent to each Jenny Wren first organized, The Delineator was a small eight-byClub by The Delineator.
24 y The Edwardian Era
eleven-inch publication. As the years progressed, the magazine grew to be 11 inches by 16 inches, and the column was called “Our Jenny Wren Corner.” Girls would send in photographs of their clubs and club activities, and the magazine would publish them in the column. By the May 1914 issue of The Delineator the Jenny Wren column had become two small columns at the bottom of page 78, “Our Jenny Wren Corner – Washing-Day for Your Dolls,” and by the September 1914 issue the
Ebenezer Butterick founded the Butterick Publishing Company to distribute the first graded sewing patterns. By 1867, the company had released its first magazine, Ladies Quarterly of Broadway Fashions, followed by The Metropolitan in 1868. These magazines contained patterns and fashion news, as did his later creation, The Delineator. The Jenny Wren Club network was a brilliant brand development for Butterick. The company gleaned future customers for its products as club members matured and moved from doll clothes to clothes for themselves and their children.
The Jenny Wren Club column first appeared in The Delineator’s November 1906 issue.
Jenny Wren column had disappeared from the magazine’s pages. But children’s pages were still included in each issue of The Delineator. Peter Newell’s Movies page was popular, and by the 1920s, The Butterick Publishing Company, which had created The Delineator in 1873, published a series of pamphlets for children titled The Little Delineator. Designed for both boys and girls, the pamphlets featured eight pages of stories, artwork and contests. Each issue focused on a theme (often a holiday or season).
During the 1920s The Little Delineator was designed for both boys and girls.
The Edwardian Era z 25
By Ann M. Leis “The world needs to laugh or at least smile more than it does.” - Rose O’Neill
Bisque Kewpies came in various sizes
he year 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the bisque Kewpie doll. American illustrator Rose O’Neill (1874-1944) lived during the Edwardian period and first introduced Kewpies in the Ladies Home Journal magazine in 1909. These top-knotted figures with their adorable expressions and tiny blue wings were an international success in the early 1900s. The bisque dolls were produced in record amounts mostly by German dollmaking firms, including J. D. Kestner. The majority of the early bisque Kewpies were either unmarked as to manufacturer or only marked with “O’Neill” on the bottom of the foot. Some were marked “made in Germany” or bore a paper label on their chests and backs. Kewpies were later made of various materials such as composition, cloth and plastic. Cecilia Rose O’Neill was the second child of eight and had an exuberant personality and exceptional artistic ability. Rose never received formal training in drawing but honed her natural talent by sketching images from books in her 26 y The Edwardian Era
Rose O’Neill was a suffragette. During a 1914 suffrage event in Nashville, Tennessee a plane swept over the assembled crowd, and the female pilot let a shower of Kewpie dolls swathed in suffrage sashes float down on tiny yellow parachutes.
father’s library. At age fourteen, Rose won first place in a contest sponsored by the Omaha World Herald and soon Rose O’Neill with her Kewpies began selling her drawings to publications around the country. When Rose was eighteen, she went to New York to find work as an illustrator. In 1896, she became the first female staff artist at Puck magazine, specializing in romantic scenes, family life and comedic situations. Rose’s images were highly recognizable, and she produced work for such companies as Oxydol, Edison Phonograph, Kellogg’s Cornflakes and Jell-O (which was her most recognizable advertising account). Rose’s idea for Kewpies had been developing in her mind since childhood. She remembered sketching her little brother, recording his intricate expressions and gestures, which she later applied to her Kewpie design. In 1909 Kewpies were conceived during an extended visit to her Bonniebrook homestead in the Missouri Ozarks (near Branson). Edward Bok of the Ladies Home Journal
Production of bisque Kewpies started in 1912 by New York toy distributor George Borgfeldt & Company. Their demand was tremendous: twenty-one factories were producing the doll in nine different sizes. Rose and her sister Callista traveled to Germany to oversee production only to discover that the dolls did not look like her characters and the smallest ones were inferior in quality. Rose demanded that they destroy the molds and start over to make a more suitable product, or production would cease. Even the tiniest dolls improved immediately, and in 1913, Rose patented the dolls (No. 43,680) and registered the KEWPIE trademark, giving birth to a global phenomenon. Rose O’Neill became an international sensation by creating the Kewpie and caused a merchandizing boom that swept the globe and lasted for The Kewpie Kutouts, 1914, NY, Frederick A. Stokes Co. decades. One hundred years later, companies continue to make Kewpie asked Rose if she could make aseries products. The main Kewpie collector of little creatures similar to the cupids club is the International Rose O’Neill seen in her romantic stories. Rose Club Foundation (IROCF). First responded that she could and sent June 1914 Good Housekeeping magazine organized in the 1960s, they hold an him an illustrated letter of her Kewpie “The Kewpies are Here” annual gathering called “Kewpiesta” characters. She invented their name each April in Branson, Missouri. Kewpie is the symbol for by spelling Cupid with a K because she thought it seemed Kewpee Hamburgers, the mascot for Hickman High School more humorous. Rose once said, “I thought about Kewpies so much that I had a dream about them where they were all in Missouri, and famous in Japan as a popular brand of mayonnaise sold in a Kewpie doll plastic squeeze container. doing acrobatic pranks on the coverlet of my bed.” The Edwardian period was a special time of change in the Kewpies began to appear regularly in the Woman’s Home world and probably gave Rose the opportunity she needed Companion and Good Housekeeping magazines. Rose had to pursue her dreams of becoming a professional illustrator. an idea to create Kewpie paper dolls and their clothes with Her natural talent, combined with her sense of humor and printed fronts, as well as printed backs, giving them more romantic nature afforded her a life of independence, wealth play value. Her idea was launched in 1912 by the Woman’s Home Companion where the first Kewpie Kutouts appeared. and international recognition. Her work will always be an So successful were these Kutouts children clamored to have important part of American history and will forever hold a place in the hearts of thousands of adults and children a Kewpie they could hold like a doll. worldwide. The Edwardian Era z 27
SAMANTHA PARKINGTON An Edwardian GIRLFOR THE 21STCentury By Ann M. Leis
“The whole world was changing, or so it seemed to Samantha Parkington. If she listened closely, she could hear the sounds of new inventions: telephones ringing, electric lights buzzing, and automobiles rumbling… Surely progress was good.” Catherine Gouley
he beloved Samantha Parkington doll, representing the Edwardian period, was one of the first three historical characters produced by the American Girl doll company. She was released in 1986 by the Pleasant Company along with Kirsten Larson, a pioneer girl from 1854, and Molly McIntire, a postWorld War II girl from 1944. The dolls and the company Welcome to Samantha’s World – 1904 by Catherine Gouley, American Girl were the brainchild of Publishing, Inc., 1999 educator and writer Pleasant Rowland. Her concept was to interest girls in history left her occupations to while they played with dolls. In the beginning, the company pursue a career as an offered a catalog and products that were only available author and began writing by mail order. Realizing the collectability of her doll line, and publishing children’s Rowland began autographing the white canvas torsos of the textbooks. first three historical dolls shortly after production began. It Rowland also is believed that she sequentially signed a total of 2,500 Molly, loved history Kirsten and Samantha dolls during 1986 and 1987. These and after a visit early dolls were made for Pleasant Company by Goetz, a to Colonial German manufacturer. Williamsburg was Pleasant Company’s Samantha doll Pleasant Rowland was a schoolteacher and reporter inspired to create was one of the first three dolls created for many years but had a special love for writing. She the American by Pleasant Rowland in 1986. 28 y The Edwardian Era
Girl brand. Her include a faux-velvet hat, a rose clutch purse, a original idea was to white handkerchief trimmed with pink and blue interest young girls, flowers, and a gold locket with pictures of her 7 to 12 years old, mother and father in it. Samantha’s purse originally in learning about contained an authentic Indian-head penny American history used during her time, but it was replaced with through interacting a reproduction penny in 1994. In 1998 Pleasant with dolls based on Company was sold to Mattel, Inc. Samantha and that period. Rowland her friend, Nellie, were archived in 2009. developed a sixSince it began in 1986, the American Girl book series written company has dedicated itself to celebrating girls. American Girl officially archived (retired) Samantha, her friend from the perspective Nellie, and their accessories on May 31, 2009. The company’s commitment to young women has of the girl living earned them the loyalty of millions of girls, and the during that era and included significant subjects such as praise and trust of parents and teachers. child labor, poverty and racism in a manner appropriate Samantha Parkington of 1904, along with the many for young audiences. The concept was a success, gaining other American Girl dolls, stands as a role model for today’s the approval of parents and providing a way for young girls twenty-first century girls. to learn history, emulate positive behaviors and encourage self-esteem. The company offered three dolls from different historical times, period books and accessories. Their growth In 1998 Pleasant Company was sold was rapid and soon the American Girl brand added more to Mattel, Inc. dolls, furniture, girls’ clothing, and a magazine and opened several retail stores nationwide. The Samantha Parkington series takes place in 1904. Samantha was promoted, thus perceived, as living during the Victorian era. However, Queen Victoria died in 1901, and the attitudes, social issues, technology and fashions of the stories properly place Samantha in the Edwardian period. Samantha’s story is about an orphaned girl cared for by her wealthy grandmother. She is described as being curious, bold, compassionate and kind, and sometimes naive because of her sheltered life. She is a girl who likes progress, new inventions, reading and public speaking. Samantha has many interesting adventures with her less fortunate best friend, Nellie O’Malley. The Samantha doll is easily recognizable with her long, dark brown hair adorned with a large bow. She wears a checked taffeta, drop waist dress in burgundy, brown, and ivory. She sports black ribbed tights, white bloomers and black Mary Jane style slip-on shoes. Samantha’s accessories The Edwardian Era z 29
Lady PINGREE AND HER FAMOUSCousin
By Lorna Lieberman and Donelle Denery
Advice for an Edwardian Lady: It is important to keep abreast of the latest smart fashions. When motoring, it is advisable that ladies carry hairpins and a hand mirror as indispensable aids to attractive travelling.
adly over the last decade we’ve lost many wonderful S museums featuring antique dolls and toys. We are indeed fortunate to have some museums which still remain.
One such museum is the Wenham Museum in the town of Wenham, Massachusetts. From the museum’s website (www. wenhammuseum.org) we can learn its purpose and origins: The mission of the Wenham Museum is to protect, preserve and interpret the artifacts of childhood, domestic life, and the history and culture of Boston’s North Shore. In 1921, the Claflin-Richards House was purchased by the philanthropic Wenham Village Improvement Society for the purpose of preservation and exhibition. Then Elizabeth Richards Horton, a former resident of the house, donated her International Doll Collection to the WVIS in 1922, marking the beginning of the Wenham Museum as we know it today.
This museum houses, among other things, a beautiful collection of antique dolls. Two of the dolls at this museum are quite famous and are favorites of visitors. One is the cloth doll Miss Columbia who from 1900 to 1902 circumnavigated the globe to raise funds for children’s charities. Lady Betty Modish, a 17-inch Kestner 162 lady doll, is another of the favorite dolls. In 1956, Lady Betty Modish, her case and her fabulous wardrobe were donated to the museum by her original 30 y The Edwardian Era
Lady Betty Modish (left) and Lady Gwendolyn Pingree (right), ball gown of ivory netting with pink rosebuds. Lady Pingree’s gown made by Sylvia MacNeill
owner, Mrs. Sumner Pingree (Mary). The doll’s exquisite wardrobe was created between 1902 and 1911 by the owner’s mother, Hannah Weld, and her aunt Elizabeth Train. The doll was a gift to little Mary on her first birthday in 1902. Over the next nine years, other costumes were created for birthdays and Christmases. This wonderful doll needed a name, and she was called Lady Betty Modish; the Colemans suggest in their Collector’s Book of Doll Clothes (pages 442 – 445) that the doll may have been named after a fashion writer for McCall’s magazine of the time. Many of the doll’s garments are believed to be exact copies of designer dresses from Paris that Elizabeth Train owned. The wardrobe is beautifully hand-sewn and of the highest quality.
When Lorna Lieberman was a curator at the museum, one of her favorite doll displays in the museum was Lady Betty Modish, with her extravagant wardrobe. Over the years many museum visitors expressed their admiration of Lady Betty Modish and especially her luxurious couture clothing of the Edwardian period. Some have attempted to copy several of her gowns for Lady Betty Modish (left) and Lady Gwendolyn Pingree their own dolls. (right), bathing suit, hat, and slippers, red silk taffeta An idea began to with soutache braid trim. Lady Pingree’s outfit made by Cecilia Hardin develop while Lorna was in the midst of planning a major exhibition at Wenham Museum titled Lady Betty Modish, in her original case at the Wenham Museum, is one of the favorite dolls in the museum. “Dolls with Original (Photo by Coleman Connection, with permission of Wenham Museum) Wardrobes,” to open in May of 1987. Lady Betty Modish’s case would be the focal point of the exhibit and perhaps her beautiful clothing could be recreated for an authentic Kestner #162 lady doll as a fund-raiser for the museum. The seamstresses would have to possess spectacular talents for such demanding sewing. And the fabrics and trims had to be period, if possible. Lorna approached Michelle Hamilton, a talented pattern drafter, whose many visits to the museum had been spent looking longingly at Lady Betty Modish’s clothes. After only slight persuasion, Michelle offered to draft exact patterns for the doll’s replica wardrobe. Lorna then prevailed upon friends, many of whom belonged to New England-based Doll Collectors of America, Inc., to ask if they would apply their considerable sewing abilities to faithfully recreate items from the wardrobe. Ball gown of black jet and sequins. Lady Pingree’s gown No one refused. Many, many volunteer hours were spent on this magnificent made by Sally Griffin project, and most of the recreations were so faithful to the originals that it became difficult to tell which was old and which was new. Now all that was needed was the doll, and since Lorna had purchased an unclad Kestner 162 lady doll some years before, she decided to donate it to the project. The Edwardian Era z 31
Arranged behind a glass wall case at the beginning of the “Dolls with Wardrobes” exhibit, Lady Gwendolyn Pingree, as the doll was named, stood in her pink rosebud ball gown surrounded by the luxurious clothing she now possessed. Directly opposite stood Lady Betty Modish in her case. The dolls turned many a head. Raffle tickets sold readily to visitors at the museum, and when the drawing was held just before Christmas, the museum had raised $5,000 for the doll conservation fund and the children’s educational programs. The lucky winner was a doll collector from New Hampshire who specialized in dolls’ houses and miniatures. Lady Pingree had the following in her prize package. 1. 2. 3. 4.
17–inch German bisque Kestner #162 lady doll, c. 1900 Ball gown of ivory netting with pink rosebuds. Made by Sylvia MacNeill Ball gown with black jet and sequins. Made by Sally Griffin Ball gown of cream lace over pale blue chiffon, encrusted with bugle beads and brilliants. Made by Barbara Rowlings 5. Ball gown of green netting with gold and silver metallic designs. Made by Moa Romig Boyles 6. Bathing suit, hat, and slippers of red silk taffeta with soutache braid trim. Made by Cecilia Hardin 7. French walking suit of sheer black wool with chiffon blouse. Made by Diane Buck 8. Tennis outfit consisting of a tennis skirt of embroidered linen, made by Joanne Scott, and a tennis blouse of embroidered lawn, made by Barbara Rowlings 9. Side-saddle riding habit of brown wool with high boots, striped blouse and white stock with diamond horseshoe stick pin. Made by Estelle Johnston 10. Underclothing consisting of drawers, petticoat, camisole, stockings, nightgown. Made by Agnes Sura
Several years after winning the doll, the owner consigned the doll, her clothing and accessories to Withington Auctions of Hillsborough, New Hampshire. Coming full circle in her ownership, Lorna made the winning bid and purchased Lady Gwendolyn Pingree. Through the years, gifts have been given to Lady Gwendolyn Pingree by admirers. Lorna has added to the doll’s outfits and accessories, as well. 32 y The Edwardian Era
Side-saddle riding habit of brown wool, high boots, striped blouse and white stock with diamond horseshoe stick pin. Lady Gwendolyn Pingree’s outfit made by Estelle Johnston
References: What is the Pingree Doll Benefit? by Lorna Stewart Lieberman, 1987 Lady Betty Modish – A Turn of the Century Siren by Lorna Stewart Lieberman The Collector’s Book of Doll Clothing, Costuming in Miniature 1700 – 1929, by Dorothy S., Elizabeth A. and Evelyn J. Coleman, Crown Publishers, Inc, ISBN: 0-517-520311 Sewing Victorian Doll Clothes – Authentic Costumes from Museum Collections, by Michelle Hamilton, Lark Books, ISBN: 1-887374-06-X Very special thanks are extended to: a) Elizabeth Ann Coleman for the use of her photos b) The Wenham Museum for its permission to use the photos depicting Lady Betty Modish
PHILIPPINES AMBASSADOR OF GOODWILL THE
By Ann M. Leis
During the McKinley administration, William H. Taft headed the Philippines Commission, studying ways to implement civilian government in the recently acquired islands. In 1901, he accepted the position of governor of the Philippines. He was initially reluctant, but was persuaded by his wife, Helen, who believed the choice would aid him in becoming President of the United States.
23, 1901, a special cloth doll named Miss Columbia left the San Francisco Bay OnareaJulyMarietta to begin an overseas journey of goodwill and charity. Created by Emma and Adams of Oswego, New York, Miss Columbia was commissioned by
philanthropist Elizabeth Horton to travel the world and raise money for needy children. Then civil governor William Howard Taft and his wife, Helen, were stationed in the Philippines when Miss Columbia made her visit there. It was an unprecedented journey for the time. Miss Columbia boarded a ship headed for Manila, along with 500 American teachers answering a call by Governor Taft to help educate a nation. Helen “Nellie” Taft was a woman of great vision and ambitions. She believed in social integration, loved traveling and had an interest in people culturally different from herself. So when the United States acquired the Philippine Islands after the Spanish-American War, she was delighted with her husband’s appointment as civil governor. She urged him to accept the position and eagerly moved her family to Manila. Once there, Mrs. Taft immediately fell in love with the people and the culture. Unfortunately, the Filipino people were very angry toward the United States for Miss Columbia liberating them from Spain Wenham Museum Collection, only to assume control Wenham, Massachusetts
Taft in front of the Educational Building, Philippines
William & Helen Taft z 33
Helen Taft (far left) and U.S. Governor-General Taft (far right) with Filipino children who benefited from the health and nutrition program initiated by Mrs. Taft
themselves, instead of granting them democratic freedom to self-govern. Mrs. Taft went to great lengths to reduce some of those feelings. She made a concerted effort to learn Spanish and visited every province with her husband. She broke down social barriers by opening up the palace to everyone, followed local holiday rituals, and even wore native dresses to public events. When the threat of typhus fever came, she had cows brought in so fresh milk was available for children and started a nutritional program for infants known as Drops of Milk. While some of Mrs. Taft’s ambitions helped the Philippine children abroad, Mrs. Horton had similar ambitions for children in America. Born in Wenham, Massachusetts, in 1837, Elizabeth Richards Horton loved dolls. She collected them from all cultures around the world and used them to raise money for needy children. She created the International Doll Collection (IDC) and spent much of her time organizing and funding projects to exhibit and tour hundreds of dolls for children’s charities. One day, Mrs. Horton had an ambitious idea to send one special doll around 34 y William & Helen Taft
the world as an ambassador of goodwill and chose the Columbian doll. She commissioned doll makers Emma and Marietta Adams to make one of their unique dolls for her mission. Columbian dolls had become widely popular after receiving an honorable mention at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 as well as being re-ordered several times by Marshall Field & Company department store. The dolls were made of firm unbleached muslin, had beautifully hand-painted faces, and wore detailed clothing. The Adams sisters were honored at Mrs. Horton’s request. They made a lovely 19-inch cloth doll complete with wardrobe and sent her to Mrs. Horton as a gift. Miss Columbia arrived in in Boston on New Year’s Day, 1900, and soon began her goodwill journey throughout the country and abroad.
Miss Columbia’s diary pages while in the Philippines Wenham Museum Collection, Wenham, Massachusetts
Miss Columbia visited many couple of weeks exploring Manila cities and met hundreds of people and learning about the people. She while traveling across America. A and her friends visited all of the old journal was kept of her adventures, churches and cathedrals, spent an written by her escorts. Wherever evening at the theater and toured she went, people came to see this the Malacanang Palace. It is possible special ambassador of goodwill. They that while visiting the palace, she met performed ceremonies in her honor, Governor and Mrs. Taft, who were in gave her gifts, and tagged her clothing residence there at that time. with “travel postcards.” Cora Fay and Miss Columbia Before she embarked on her were assigned to Zamboanga, on adventures abroad, Miss Columbia the island of Mindanao, and loved arrived at the Occidental Hotel in San their experience there. The teachers Francisco on July 18, 1901, to meet lived in Nipa houses, which were her escort, Cora E. Fay, a teacher small huts made of bamboo tied from Colorado Springs. Miss Fay together with a thatched roof of had generously offered to accompany Nipa leaves. The town sat on the Miss Columbia on the beginning beach of a peninsula with beautiful of her overseas journey. Governor mountains rising up behind it. Taft had put out a call for American There were coconut and banana teachers to come to the Philippines to trees everywhere. One of the journal help teach English and Western ways entries mentioned how much Miss to the Filipino children. Teachers Columbia liked the taste of mangos, from all over the country were guavas and papayas. While in assembled and ready to board the Zamboanga, Miss Columbia met U.S. Transport many children and received gifts Thomas, including a burlap baby and a chinanicknamed head doll. During vacation days, Miss the Teachers Fay and Miss Columbia traveled to Transport, several cities and islands. Although The china head doll’s label is in Tagalog, one of the most the northern islands were prohibited headed for spoken languages in the Philippines. Manila. because of a cholera outbreak, the Wenham Museum Collection, Wenham, Massachusetts The voyage two visited many southern ports. to the South Pacific took approximately ten days and was They sailed to Isabela, Mahakun, Cebu, Davao and Kakar. very pleasant for all those on board. The ship anchored in They went horseback riding and saw pagan tribes and Mt. Manila Bay on August 3, 1901, and after several inspections, Apo. allowed its passengers to disembark. Once ashore, the Of the many unique experiences Miss Columbia teachers and Miss Columbia were put into Barrack-style had while in the Philippines, perhaps her most housing until their assignments were announced. While memorable was on Good Friday, 1902. On that day they waited for placement, Miss Columbia spent the next she lived through a strong earthquake that shook the William & Helen Taft z 35
The china head doll is wearing the traditional Filipino butterfly sleeve dress as is Mrs. Taft in this photograph.
Miss Columbia, the burlap baby and the china head doll as they appear today in Wenham Museum Wenham Museum Collection, Wenham, Massachusetts
Mindanao coast. A diary entry from her journal recorded that she was so frightened by the shaking and the sound of the ground cracking, she held on “good and tight” so that she might not fall. Miss Columbia stayed in the Philippines a little over a year until she received a letter from Mrs. Horton requesting her return. On the morning of her departure from Mindanao, many Zamboango children came to say goodbye to the doll they had come to know as “Columbo.” Before she set sail from Manila Bay, Governor Taft wrote a note to Miss Columbia: I am very glad to make Miss Columbia’s acquaintance. I wish her every good fortune in her travels. Manila, October 1, 1902. Wm H. Taft
For the time, it was an unprecedented idea to send a doll around the world for charity and was considered Elizabeth Horton’s most successful project. Her decision to choose Emma and Marietta Adams’ doll as a goodwill ambassador not only catapulted the Columbian doll onto the international scene but forever sealed her fate as one of the most celebrated dolls in American history. One hundred thirteen years later it is possible to visit the original Miss Columbia doll, read her journal and see her collection of souvenirs meticulously displayed and cared for by Wenham Museum in Wenham, Massachusetts. Elizabeth Richards Horton
Wenham Museum Collection, Wenham, Massachusetts
36 y William & Helen Taft
A Memoir, THE
By Laurie W. McGill
After her husband’s single term was completed in 1913, Helen Taft wrote her autobiography, Recollections of Full Years (1914), becoming the first president’s wife to see her memoirs published in her lifetime.
hen children’s author Rachel Field and children’s book illustrator Dorothy Lathrop discovered Hitty, a small worn, wooden doll, in an antique shop window in New York City in the late 1920s, neither woman could imagine what success their collaboration Heather Redfield & Hitty on Hitty’s creative memoir would bring. It was only the beginning when Hitty Her First Hundred Years received the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children’s literature in 1930. Not long after Hitty’s story was published doll artists began creating their interpretation of Hitty and the tradition continues today. In 2011 a very special Hitty with a compelling story of her own appeared at auction in Thomaston, Maine. Deemed the Heather Redfield Hitty, the doll and her
Hitty on William Montville’s workbench
belongings weave an interesting tale of Marblehead, Massachusetts in the 1950s. The auction lot included a detailed story of how Heather’s Hitty came to be. Written by Heather’s mother and illustrated with black and white photographs, recording the steps in creating the doll, her clothing, her furniture and her accessories, the story is a touching time capsule of childhood innocence of post-World War II America. It is the story of one child’s imagination and of a charming community of New England artists, seamstresses, carvers and writers and of a family who knew the importance of “let’s pretend.” The story of Heather’s Hitty: William & Helen Taft z 37
Heather Redfield is an imaginative little girl of six. Every time she saw a piece of driftwood on the beaches near her home in Marblehead, Massachusetts, she saw it carved into a doll. She begged her Daddy many times to carve one for her, but in spite of the fact he had carved boats for his son, he didn’t feel he could do a proper doll. It was only natural when Heather read her Mother’s book about “Hitty” that she should yearn even more for a wooden doll, and so the story of “Heather’s ‘Hitty’” began. The first problem arose in trying to find someone who could carve Hitty, and of course “Bill” Montville, who lives up on High Street, and is a carver of eagles, first came to mind. When asked if he would be willing to try carving a doll for Heather, Bill replied that he had never carved anything but eagles, but that he was willing to try. At the same time it became apparent that she would have to have clothes, and her beautiful coral necklace. Heather’s Mummy remembered she had some tiny Italian coral beads and some real pearls left from a necklace and bracelet. These she took in to Boston to Mr. Macomber at Shreve’s, and presented the problem. Mr. Macomber did not hide his delight at the thought of Shreve’s making up a doll necklace just large enough around to fit Mummy’s ring finger. A tiny gold clasp was added and with double knots between the beads, Hitty’s necklace was created. When clothes for Hitty were considered, there was only one person who could do them properly, Alice Wainwright, who lives on Tucker Street up near Washington Square. Alice is very talented in many ways, and her perfection and attention to detail were put to the test in making Hitty’s clothes. The materials selected in each case were those described in the book, and the illustrations were followed to the minutest detail.
Alice Wainwright sewing Hitty’s wardrobe Hitty’s wedding dress sewn by Alice Wainwright - inspired by illustrations from “Hitty Her First Hundred Years”
Heather Redfield and her mother admire Hitty beneath the family Christmas tree
William Montville carving Hitty
38 y William & Helen Taft
Hitty’s blue trunk made of driftwood and lined with wallpaper from Heather’s bedroom
Hitty’s coral necklace made from jewelry that belonged to Heather’s mother
Heather’s brother who gave a feather quill to Hitty so she could pen her memoirs
Hitty’s wedding dress is a masterpiece of the finest needlework, and Alice has surpassed even her most wonderful works of the past in its tiny French knots, tucks, pearl buttons, lace and flowers. Alice has even designed a small hooked rug and hooked it with Heather’s and her brother’s sweater wool leftovers, and it, too, is a true work of art. Hitty also had to have furniture, and this is where Heather’s Daddy came forward. He designed and executed all the furniture pictured in the original book, and spent many hours in the basement workshop on Franklin Street, sawing, filing, sanding, gluing and painting. The desk is made of driftwood found on Radar Beach on Marblehead Neck; the stool from old pine found in the house on Franklin Street. Hitty’s cradle is made of mahogany from the ketch Mohawk which went ashore on Fort Beach during Hurricane Carol on August 31, 1954 and was later dismantled and burned. The settle is made of wood from the ketch Miru which was wrecked off Marblehead Neck in a storm on November 7, 1953. This ship had sailed all the way to Marblehead from New Zealand. Hitty’s chest is Daddy’s chef-d’oeuvre. It is made of driftwood, too, and the brasses are hand made, corners, hinges, and clasp. It is lined with Heather’s wallpaper and painted the beautiful blue described in the book. The top is even curved, which was done by boiling the wood in Mummy’s best frying pan, and bending it when it was soft. It was not long before friends and neighbors learned about this project, and Heather’s friend, who lives next door on Franklin Street, Miss Ruth Humphreys, volunteered to braid two small rugs for Hitty. So you see, Heather’s Hitty was carved, clothed and equipped with furniture and rugs by her friends and parents. Heather’s brother has given her a feather pen for her desk, and one with which to write her memoirs, and a lovely seashell and Mummy has knit sweaters and mittens. Surely Heather’s Hitty is very happy. (December 1954)
William & Helen Taft z 39
The TAFTS AS PAPER
Reprinted with permission of Tom Tierney
In 1879 Helen Louise Herron met William Howard Taft at a bobsledding party in Cincinnati. He asked her out for the first time in February 1880, but they did not date regularly until 1882. He proposed in April 1885, and she accepted in May. Taft married Helen on June 19, 1886. They settled in Cincinnati. Helen encouraged her husband’s political career despite his oft-stated preference for the judiciary. She welcomed each step in her husband’s political career. The Tafts had two sons and a daughter ~ Robert, Helen and Charles.
ell known modern-day paper doll artist, Tom Tierney, began his career in drawing paper dolls in 1975 when he was casting about for a unique Christmas present for his mother. Remembering that she had saved her paper doll collection from when she was a girl in the early 1900s (Lettie Lane, Dolly Dingle and assorted movie star paper dolls) Tom decided to create some paper dolls of her favorite 1930s movie stars for her. Delighted, his mother showed them to a number of her friends, one of whom was a literary agent. The agent convinced Tierney that a paper doll book was possible, and as a result, his first paper doll book, Thirty from the ‘30s, came to fruition. Portrait of Helen Herron Taft by Karl Bror Albert The book was Kronstrand, 1910 published by 40 y William & Helen Taft
Helen Herron Taft A Cherry Blossom lover, she persuaded the mayor of Tokyo, Japan to make a gift of 3,000 Cherry Trees, which she planted in Potomac Park
In his inauguration, President Taft broke precedent by allowing his wife to ride beside him in the carriage back to the White house. This suit follows the Empire revival of the period. The decoration on the bosom is fabric folded and stitched to form the design.
Copyright 2012 www.tomtierney.com All Rights Reserved
Worn to the Inaugural Ball of 1909, this gown of sheer white silk chiffon stresses the Empire waistline which was revived that year. It is heavily embroidered with silk flora in a golden rod spray pattern which is outlined with silk thread and crystal beads. The square neckline edged with lace, plunges to a deep V in back and the full train for the gown falls from the waist at the base of the V neckline.
Straight front corset, back laced, with ribbon and lace trim. Worn over “French’ drawers” with fitted hip band and closed crotch. Garters
fasten at front and sides
Prentice-Hall in 1976. Today Tierney works from his studio in Smithville, Texas where he and his family run a mail order business selling paper dolls to collectors, schools, libraries and gift shops around the world.
Tierney is often asked about his method of research. Each paper doll book carries an extensive bibliography and fashion details that make every paper doll book a history lesson within itself. “Just like anyone else with a research project, I roll up my sleeves and go to work,” said Tierney. “I’ve acquired a sizable collection of reference books over the years, so there are shelves and shelves of books. And I frequent the public library. When looking into historical fashions, I have gone to the library at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan or I have studied the costume
William Howard Taft
1909 - 1913 After his presidency he was to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. A position he preferred over that of President
A Walking coat suit (or business frock suit) of Oxford grey vicuna, worn with a white waist coat and a soft nutris fedora Red knitted cotton and wool “union suit” with re-enforced waist band and drop seat Velvet collared Chesterfield top coat worn over formal day suit with grey trousers and high silk hat, grey kid dress gloves
Portrait of William Howard Taft by Anders Zorn, 1911
collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When I’m working on a movie star book, I often get copies of the movies to view at home. Sometimes I freeze a frame so I can do a sketch of a particular dress or outfit.” Paper dolls of William and Helen Taft were created by Tierney following publication of an in-depth look at
Copyright 2012 www.tomtierney.com All Rights Reserved
Edwardian fashion – Edwardian Costumes from his History of Costume Series (Dover Publications, 2001). The historical information with the Taft paper dolls included: “In America the ‘Edwardian’ figure of Taft’s presidency followed the British Edwardian mode, but was in general more sedate and conservative in line with an emphasis on fine detailing, primarily via elaborately embroidered detail. Men’s fashions were rather conservative with the emphasis on fine tailoring and fine fabrics such as vicuna wool. The ‘solid figure’ for men was in style.”
William & Helen Taft z 41
PHENOMENON By Ursula Mertz
The United States presidential election of 1908 was held on Tuesday, November 3. Popular incumbent President Theodore Roosevelt, honoring a promise not to seek a third term, persuaded the Republication Party to nominate William (Bill) Howard Taft, his close friend and Secretary of War, to become his successor. Taft’s opponent in the race was Democrat William (Bill) Jennings Bryan.
or the first three years F of his life, he was a phenomenon, a fad the likes of
which no one had seen before or has seen since. The E. I. Horsman Company of New York City sold 200,000 Billiken dolls in the first six months of introduction. To this day, Alaskan carvers create Billiken souvenirs, and a baseball team bears his name. In 1908 the Billiken image even influenced material for the presidential election campaign. Actually, when the doll was born, the Billiken craze was already one year old. This sounds confusing. And, at this point, some of you will ask, Who is Billiken? Why Billiken? In 1908 a young woman by the name of Florence Pretz had applied and been granted a 12-inch and 15-inch Billiken. The 12-inch Billiken retains his original cloth design patent for an orientallabel: “The Billiken Company Chicago.” Ink hand printing on his foot soles: looking little statue with a big Billiken in The Lucky Billiken N. Y. 7/12/09 smile, big ears and a pointed head. original box She referred to the little plaster statue as “The God of Laughter, Merrymaking and Good Luck.” Pretz sold exclusive rights to her invention to the Craftsman’s Guild in Highland Park, Illinois, 42 y William & Helen Taft
for $60, and in addition she received monthly royalties. Later on, licensing agreements were entered into with the Billiken Sales Company of Chicago. Within a very short time, the little plaster statue with the benevolently smiling face had become a huge success, and all kinds of novelties featuring the Billiken image in some form appeared on the market, from penny postcards to metal banks, paperweights, pocket mirrors, souvenir plates, even silver tableware and jewelry. This was also the time of the teddy bear craze. All this activity had not gone unnoticed by Mr. Horsman of E. I. Horsman of New York City. He reasoned that if the Billiken image and teddy bears were so popular, maybe a doll with a Billiken head made of his new Can’t Break ‘Em composition on a teddy bear body might please the public as well. As we now know, he was absolutely correct in that assumption. Various pieces of jewelry incorporating the Billiken image and one pin back
Porcelain plate and vase
Various sized Billiken bookends made of plaster or bisque
William & Helen Taft z 43
Playthings half-page ad dated August 1909, placed by Hahn and Amberg, advertising among other things Lucky Bill, their Billiken look alike. Lucky Bill was available in sizes 8.5, 10 and 11 inches and in white, pink, blue or red plush (The 11-inch size came only in white)
It usually does not take long before success invites imitation. With their half-page ad of August 1909 in the trade magazine Playthings, the Hahn & Amberg firm was offering their Lucky Bill, a similar looking toy with composition head and plush body, as well as another toy named Sunny Jim. “The cheapest best looking BIGGEST Bear ever offered,” the ad proclaimed. There was a reason why the company called their creations Bill and Jim. During the presidential contest of 1908 between William Jennings Bryan and William Howard Taft, (whose running mate was James S. Sherman), the 44 y William & Helen Taft
candidates’ shared first name of William gave rise to the nicknames of Billy or Bill (and Sherman’s nickname was Jim or Jimmy). Soon penny postcards appeared on the market that looked very similar to the Billiken postcards with the following inscriptions: “The Billitaftikin The Sunny Idol Brings Good Luck!” and “Off Again - On Again Billibryanikin The People’s Idol.”
Half-page ad as it appeared in Playthings in March of 1909, advertising the Prosperity Bill statue and the Bill Prosperity Club
The Horsman Company did not want to let the competition get away with anything and joined the fray by coming out with a little statue in the image of President Taft, sitting in a similar chair as seen for one of the Billiken souvenirs. The chair was inscribed “Bill.” Here is how Playthings introduced this new item in their March 1909 issue: One of the cleverest and most attractive of the many good luck emblems which have made their appearance since the introduction of Billiken is “Bill,” whose picture we show herewith. Different from some of the others, this statuette stands for something in particular, and because it portrays the chief magistrate of our great and glorious country, it is destined to attain national fame. The presence of “Bill” in any home will add perpetual sunshine to the entire household, and will be the cause of much mirth and laughter. One glance at “Bill” and you find yourself laughing, not because the face is funny, but because it is intended to make you laugh, and you cannot resist its power. To purchase ‘Bill’ for one dollar means securing a life membership in the ‘Bill Prosperity Club,’ and the figure would be cheap at double the price. In ‘Bill’ the manufacturers have a very attractive as well as salable article. The statuette measures 3¼ by 7 inches and is extremely well finished. ‘Bill’ can come down from his chair if necessary, but he looks better seated in it. Here is to ‘Bill,’ and we wish him all the gook luck and prosperity that will visit our country during the next four years.
All the novelties mentioned in this article are rare items in today’s collector market since campaign advertising pieces and merchandise generated to cash in on political events soon loose their relevancy, as people turn their attention back to their everyday lives. All these activites definitely prove beyond any doubt the instant, extensive and continuing influence Billiken had on his time.
Playthings ad dated October 1909. Billiken was available in 12-, 15-, and 25-inch sizes. All three sizes were available dressed in kimonos. A 25-inch tall Billiken has never been seen
He truly was and is a phenomenon.
Campaign postcards depicting William (Bill) Taft and his opponent William (Bill) Bryan as Billikens
William & Helen Taft z 45
By John Paul Port And Dottie Ayers
William Howard Taft and his running mate, James S. Sherman, a congressman from New York campaigned effectively against Democratic opponent, William Jennings Bryan, winning the contest with an electoral vote of 321 to Bryan’s 162. Taft was nicknamed Billy Possum, and Sherman was called, Jimmy Possum.
ur beloved Teddy bear was the offspring of a famous political cartoon by Clifford Berryman, depicting then president Theodore Roosevelt’s refusal to shoot a small bear cub in Mississippi. Toy companies in America and Germany, most notably Steiff, started producing Teddies by the millions. In 1907 alone, Steiff produced almost one million bears. American Steiff Teddy Bear, 16 inches tall, dating from 1905-06. He has a blank button and companies like Aetna, is a rare cone-nose pattern Horsman, Ideal, Harman, and so many smaller unknown factories were making Teddies of every shape and size. Many novelties, such as mohair Teddy bear coats for children, with beautiful Teddyembossed brass buttons were available in many different styles. The Teddy bear was the “King of the Toys,” and toy companies flourished 46 y William & Helen Taft
Rare 16-inch tall Ideal Teddy Bear from 1906
According to legend, since no original letter has been found, Teddy said “yes” but could not understand how it would sell this new little creation. Throughout the Roosevelt administration, the president was closely associated with this new bruin. Many companies were using the Teddy bear to advertise various different products. The Teddy bear was a phenomenon. The end of the Roosevelt administration proved troublesome for the many toy companies making their fortunes from the ever popular Teddy bear.
Early American Ideal Teddy with original photo dates from 1907
with the influx of orders from stores all over the country. We do not know for sure how Teddy got his name, but it is said that Morris Michtom, inspired by Berryman’s famous cartoon, had his wife create a small plush bear to sell in his candy shop in Brooklyn. He is said to have written to President Roosevelt, to ask permission to name the bear after the beloved president.
This ten-inch tall American Aetna Bear is from 1907
William & Helen Taft z 47
“For possum first, last, and all the time.” – William H. Taft
In 1909 William Howard Taft was elected president of the United States, and his attendance at a dinner in Atlanta, Georgia proved fortuitous for the toy industry. The main course was possum and taters, and President-elect Taft made the comment, “For possum first, last, and all the time.” Soon, the press picked up the story and Billy Possum was born. Toy companies quickly created a soft plush possum named Billy Possum, which they hoped would rival the enormous success and popularity of the Teddy bear. Advertisements in toy trade journals proclaimed that Billy Possum reigned as the new “must have” toy. Almost every toy company that produced Teddy bears now also came up with their version of Billy Possum. Even Billy Possum coats, with their bright brass 48 y William & Helen Taft
buttons, depicting a possum instead of a bear, were available for the most fashionable child. Unfortunately, Billy Possum never received the adulation that the beloved Teddy bear enjoyed. Whereas Teddy was advertised as “all the rage,” Billy Possum was touted as the craze “that was here to stay.” Billy Possum, however, was not here to stay, and never succeeded in stealing Teddy bear’s crown. He soon faded from toydom as just a memory.
Selection of postcards featuring Billy Possum & Teddy Bear
William & Helen Taft zâ€…49
Today, Billy Possums are extremely hard to find, and extremely sought after by, not only Teddy bear and toy collectors, but political collectors as well. The prime examples by Steiff and premier American companies fetch thousands of dollars. Far easier for the collector to find are the political postcards, buttons and souvenir spoons. It’s time to go and
“hunt some Billy Possum!”
Wonderful group of Billy Possums by various American companies such as H. Fisher, Harman, Hahn and Amberg and Aetna
Two great examples of Billy Possum
With appreciation to Kelly Harper for sharing her Billy Possum collection.
Group of Billy Possums with a rare cloth “Yukon’s Best” advertising example
50 y William & Helen Taft
First Ladies,THEIR GOWNS, AND THE DOLLSThey have INSPIRED By Bradley Justice
William Taft’s inauguration took place in the Senate chamber because of a blizzard. Strong winds toppled trees and telephone poles; trains were stalled and city streets impassable. City workers shoveled sand and snow through half the night. It took 6,000 men and 500 wagons to clear 58,000 tons of snow and slush from the parade route. Delivery of Helen Taft’s inaugural gown was delayed due to the storm but it arrived in time for the ball.
oll makers often turn to historical D figures as inspiration for their creations, so it is not surprising that many
have been inspired by the women who have served as the first lady of the United States. Although generally the wife of the president, in several situations in our past, the role of first lady has been filled by daughters, friends and spouses of other officials. According to legend, the term first lady was first used by incumbent president Zachary Taylor in eulogizing Dolley Madison at her funeral in 1849 and it was for the Madison inauguration that the first ball took place, when Dolley agreed to sponsor a dance and dinner on Inauguration Day, March 9, 1809 at the request of the commandant of the Washington Navy Yard. A little over a hundred years later, Cassie Mason Myers Julian-James, a leader of Washington Society, and Rose Gouverneur Hoes, a descendent of President James Monroe, were interested in highlighting historically important women from the U.S. They joined forces to create an exhibit of clothing worn by women of the White House. Mrs. Julian-James, with the purpose of
Dolley Madison Portrait Dolley Madison by Suzanne Gibson
establishing a collection of historic costumes, had already loaned to the Smithsonian several items of historical clothing from her family, including jewelry, as well as a dress belonging to Mary Todd Lincoln. (The costumes were bequethed to the Smithsonian upon her death in 1922.) The two women volunteered as curators of the exhibit and began contacting potential donors. Among the initial donors was the first lady, Helen Herron Taft, wife of President William Howard Taft. On March 11, 1912, she chose as her donation, her inaugural gown, and in doing so began a lasting tradition of first ladies passing their inaugural gowns into the Smithsonian collection. William & Helen Taft z 51
The description of Mrs. Taft’s gown in the Catalogue of American Historical Costumes, including those of the Mistresses of the White House as Shown, edited by Mrs. Rose Gouveneur Hoes and printed in 1915, reads:
Case 14-1 White chiffon dress embroidered in white floss, Rhinestones and pearls, worn by Mrs. William H. Taft at the inaugural ball of the Taft administration, March 4, 1909. This dress was especially embroidered for Mrs. Taft in the Philippine Islands… Gift of Mrs. William H. Taft
The exhibit opened with 15 costumes on display in 1914 in the United States National Museum building, and according to the Smithsonian website “quickly gained in popularity and became a visitor favorite.” The costumes were displayed on plaster mannequins. Each mannequin was scaled to mirror the figure of its counterpart; each one had a sculpted hairstyle that reflected its human
the First Ladies Hall opened as a separate exhibit of only first ladies’ gowns, which were presented against a backdrop of rooms recreated from rooms in the White House. Over the years the collection has moved to new locations—it currently resides in the National Museum of American History—and expanded to become a tremendous archive of White House items, from personal accessories to china and furnishings. Yet the first ladies’ gowns remain the primary attraction. The first representations of the first ladies and their gowns as items for play were, perhaps, in paper. A 1937 paper doll book, Dresses Worn by the “First Ladies” of the White House, by Maybelle Mercer, and published by Saalfield, offered a childhood glimpse into being the first lady. A book of similar style, White House Party Dresses, was created in 1961 by Merrill Company Publishers, and the historic dresses were given a more contemporary feel. During the Kennedy era, paper dolls appeared of Jacqueline and Caroline Kennedy by Magic Wand. Paper dolls of Tricia Nixon and Pat Nixon followed during the Nixon years by Saalfield and Artcraft.
Gowns on display in the First Ladies Hall – set in period rooms modeled after rooms found in the White House
counterpart, but each mannequin bore the same face, that of Cordelia, a classical bust sculpted by Pierce Francis Connelly in the collection of the Smithsonian. By 1931 the collection contained a costume from each of the past administrations, and in 1955 52 y William & Helen Taft
Dresses Worn by the “First Ladies” of the White House Paper Doll Cut-Outs by Maybelle Mercer, Saalfield Publishing Co., 1937
Starting in the 1950s, NIADA artist Fawn Zeller created many presidents and first ladies for her Portraits in Miniature series in her Florida museum. Fawn was invited to New York in October 1962 as part of the “All Florida Showcase” at Rockefeller Center, sponsored by the State of Florida. They replicated a portion of her museum in the lobby, and each day she worked on the sculpture of a bust. After the first day of her sculpting, it was apparent that she was creating a likeness of Jacqueline Kennedy. At the week’s end she appeared as a guest on the Today Show to talk about creating dolls. The Jacqueline Kennedy doll was one of the more popular dolls created by Fawn Zeller. The doll, about 16 inches tall, was sold in a kit, with cloth body and porcelain arms and legs.
White House Party Dresses Paper Dolls, Merrill Company Publishers, No.1550, 1961
Indeed, Jackie Kennedy was, and remains, a popular inspiration for dolls. She was not only beautiful, but, at only 31, she was also the thirdyoungest first lady. Her popularity was reflected in fashion trends and in the doll market. Before Fawn Zeller’s likeness in doll form, Ideal created a fashion doll named Jackie, and Madame Alexander produced a 21inch brunette fashion doll Jacqueline Kennedy by NIADA artst, Fawn Zeller named Jacqueline. The Madame Alexander Jacqueline could be purchased in a variety of fashions, including a replica of Mrs. Kennedy’s Bergdorf Goodman inaugural gown. Additional fashions were made available that included her classic soft tailored suits and her riding habit. The Jacqueline doll appeared on the cover of the 1962 Madame Alexander Doll catalog. The company also produced a 14-inch doll named after the Kennedys’ daughter, Caroline, which could be purchased in a variety of clothes, including party dresses and a riding habit. A 10-inch Cissette doll named Jacqueline was also offered to the market by Alexander. The Alexander dolls were only made for two years. The Kennedys’ press secretary, J. D. Salinger, is believed to have demanded that the Alexander company cease production of the Jacqueline and Caroline dolls. The Kennedys did, however, authorize a children’s book William & Helen Taft z 53
The Caroline Kennedy First Lady Dress-Up Book, Alene Dalton, Rolton House Publishers, 1963
called The Caroline Kennedy First Lady Dress Up Book which was scheduled to launch in November 1963. President Kennedy’s assassination brought an immediate halt to production and distribution. It is believed that fewer than 1,000 test copies were printed. The book showcased Caroline wearing various historical dresses of the former United States Presidential First Ladies, as drawn by Charlotte Jetter. The 1990s ushered in a resurgence of Jackie Kennedy dolls. Upon her death in 1994, Franklin Mint created several dolls in her image, including a 16-inch vinyl doll with accurate recreations of several of her famous garments from her 1000 days as first lady. The Madame Alexander Doll Company returned to the theme of first ladies in the mid-1970s, perhaps inspired by America’s bicentennial celebration. They introduced their First Ladies Series in 1976. The 14-inch dolls with the Martha and Mary Ann face molds were each dressed in a costume inspired by a first lady’s gown in the Smithsonian: Series One, 1976, Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Martha Randolph, Dolley Madison, Elizabeth Monroe and 54 y William & Helen Taft
Louisa Adams; Series Two, 1979, Sarah Jackson, Angelica Van Buren, Jane Findlay, Julia Tyler, Sarah Polk, and Betty Taylor Bliss; Series Three, 1982, Abigail Fillmore, Jane Pierce, Harriet Lane, Mary Todd Lincoln, Martha Johnson Patterson and Julia Grant; Series Four, 1983, Lucy Webb Hayes, Lucretia Garfield, Mary McElroy, Frances Cleveland, Caroline Harrison and Mary McKee; Series Five, 1985, Ida McKinley, Edith Roosevelt, Helen Taft, Ellen Wilson, Edith Wilson and Florence Harding; Series Six, 1989, Grace Coolidge, Lou Hoover, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Truman, Mamie Eisenhower and Jacqueline Kennedy.
Jacqueline by Madame Alexander Doll Co. dressed in a replica of Mrs. Kennedy’s Bergdorf Goodman inaugural gown
several portrait dolls, offered by such companies as the Franklin Mint, the Danbury Mint, and Ashton Drake, as well as paper dolls from Dover Publications. Dover also publishes a new set of first lady paper dolls, by Tom Tierney, highlighting the presidential spouses since Mamie Eisenhower to include Mrs. Obama, as well as a new paper doll of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (covering her first lady and postfirst-lady years). Undoubtedly, as they continue to expand their role and become more Helen Taft in her inaugural gown, 1909 prominent figures than they once were in our culture, first ladies will continue to be a source of inspiration for the collectible doll market as well.
Madame Alexanderâ€™s Helen Taft doll wearing her inaugural gown, 1985
During the 1980s when the collector doll market was at its peak, many doll artists and manufacturers created first lady dolls. Among the companies were the Effanbee Doll Company, the Franklin Mint and the Danbury Mint. The Smithsonian commissioned artist Suzanne Gibson to create a collection of dolls to represent the first ladies. Whereas other companies took historical license, Gibson was inspired to be accurate and provide similar fabrics and hairstyles; the 12-inch vinyl doll possessed a face that was said to have been inspired by the original bust of Cordelia. Even today, the charisma and popularity of our current first lady, Michelle Obama, have led to the creation of
Fashions of the First Ladies Paper Dolls by Tom Tierney; Copyright 2006; Updated in 2009 to include Michelle Obama
William & Helen Taft zâ€…55
“And a LITTLE CHILD SHALL
The Decade of the Doll: Japanese Doll Exchanges of the 1930s. By Alan Scott Pate
On March 27, 1912, first lady Helen Herron Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador, planted the first two Yoshino cherry trees on the northern bank of the Washington Tidal Basin. The People of Japan sent 3,020 cherry trees as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States. These two original trees still stand today. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a new cherry tree variety named for the former first lady to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Japanese gift in 2012.
his year’s convention theme, connecting dolls with the Taft T Administration, poses a serious challenge for the Japanese doll researcher. Taft’s administration, dating from 1909 to1913,
really doesn’t overlap much with seminal events in Japanese doll history, particularly as it connects to the U.S. The earliest recorded U.S. auction of Japanese dolls, for example, did not occur until 1916 when Yamanaka of New York auctioned off a significant collection of Japanese dolls from the Wakabayashi Collection of Kyotoi. This catalogued sale, elements of which ultimately found their way into the Boston Museum of Fine Art and the Cleveland Art Museum, was the first to put Japanese dolls on the American art radar, though not on the political one. Fortunately, however, the theme of Japanese dolls and politics is a rich one, a mine full of buried treasures and delicious nuggets of trivia, blasts of beauty and veins of pathos. And if we move our dateline forward a bit, of course we run into the spectacular Friendship Doll Exchange of 1927, which was the subject of my contribution to last year’s UFDC Convention Souvenir Journal. But this exchange, in which the U.S. sent 12,739 “blue-eyed” dolls to Japan and, in return, the Japanese sent fifty-eight exquisitely rendered large-scale ichimatsu dolls to the children of the U.S., was just the opening salvo in a decade which witnessed the vigorous use of dolls to promote peace and good will and to further mutual understanding. Some of 56 y William & Helen Taft
Late 18th century Mitsuore Male, Yamanaka Sale, lot # 201
these exchanges are well chronicled; others are more obscure. Some were quite successful, some less so. But all represent a beautiful application of dolls toward the noble goal of peace and good will among all mankind. It seems to be a little known fact that May 18 is International Good-Will Day, a celebration established in 1899 in Europe. This day was dedicated with the hopeful pronouncement that “when children’s friendships are world wide, New Ages will be glorified.”ii As a theme, International GoodWill Day was picked up in 1901 by the American Peace Society, but did not get much traction until 1923 when American teachers began to rally around the concept of instructing children in the ways of peace, rather than the so-called “glories of war.” In 1922, however, the little children of Wales sent out a radio broadcast on Good-Will Day exhorting the children of the world to strive towards peace so that “there will be no need for any of us when we grow older to show our pride for the country in which we were born by going out to hate and kill one another.” This message was rebroadcast yearly on May 18, and initially met with no response. In 1928, however, Japanese children responded with a broadcast all their own: “We, the children of the land of cherry blossoms, wish to join on this International Good-Will Day, the children of Wales, and of all other lands in the cheer and prayer for a better and more peaceful world… we prefer to build more schools and less battleships by getting rid of hate and prejudice.”iii Of course, this broadcast came during the heyday of the Friendship Doll Exchange, when the Japanese Doll Ambassadors Miss Fukushima, Friendship Doll, of Goodwill Kansas City Toy and Miniature Museum were touring the United States from coast to coast and attracting a large number of visitors, who were responding to the pleas of these silent envoys for peace and understanding. On the political front, the Kellogg Peace Treaty was being hotly debated in international circles; its professed goal was to Archival image of a reception for seventeen Friendship Dolls held at the Mission Inn in banish war as a method of conflict resolution. With the Riverside, California, in December, 1927. Funk Collection William & Helen Taft z 57
ghastly memories of World War I still vivid, but war drums sounding on the horizon on many fronts, peace was a theme of great moment; peace, especially for the sake of future generations, was the clarion call of the day. And what greater way to speak of peace and children than through the beautiful medium of dolls? Here I would like to briefly discuss a number of different Japanese doll exchanges that took place between the years 1927 and 1936. One might call it “the decade of the doll.”
Koka-Ningyo - Exchange Dolls
of 12,739 Doll Messengers of Goodwill, at this particular time in Japanese history, resonated deeply with the people and the reception accorded these simple manufactured dolls, many with homespun outfits, was tremendous, a spontaneous outpouring of genuine affection and gratitude. Although the Japanese government would ultimately send the fifty-eight tôrei-ningyô Friendship Dolls as an official gesture of gratitude, many other “return gestures” (tôrei) were initiated as a response to the heart-warming overture by American children. For example, in July of 1927 we read of Tokyo-area school children putting
It is difficult to overestimate the initial impact the American doll messengers had on the Japanese public, children and adults alike. Japan, in 1927, was in a deep economic and cultural slump. The after-effects of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 were still being felt. This disaster, considered one of the most Archival image of Osaka-area school girls belonging to the Japanese Junior Red Cross preparing devastating natural ten koka-ningyô for distribution in the United States in February 1927. Author’s Collection events in Japanese history, leveled together packets of Japanese gourd and morning glory many parts of Tokyo and vine seeds to be sent to the children of the U.S. This story, Newspaper article noting the mayoral recall Yokohama and resulted initially reported by the United Press Dispatch and picked of Kinjiro Matsudaira, a Japanese American in over 140,000 deaths. up by many American newspapers, read in part: “With citizen whose election was invalidated by the The Taishô emperor had Immigration Act of 1924, Linton Daily Citizen, passed on in December the seeds will go a message of hope that when the flowers July 13, 1927, p. 6 bloom it will remind American children of the thanks of of 1926, and the country the boys and girls of Japan and of the friendship that exists was still in mourning. Relations with America were at a on the other side of the Pacific.”iv low following the Immigration Act of 1924. The arrival 58 y William & Helen Taft
It is no small irony, Although this story was also carried in however, that immediately American papers, it is unclear to which parts flanking this article in of the country these ten particular dolls were one particular newspaper ultimately sent, and, unfortunately, their was another article noting fates are likewise completely unknown. the mayoral recall in Edmonston, Maryland of Kinjiro Matsudaira, an American citizen Not all exchanges consisted of large born of Japanese parents, numbers of dolls. In 1929, the Tokiwamatsu Matsudaira was the first Girl’s High School of Tokyo decided to send Japanese-American to hold a doll straight to the top and prepared a small public office, but because girl ichimatsu doll as a gift to Lou Henry of the Immigration Act Hoover, wife of President Herbert Hoover. of 1924, his citizenship First announced in American newspapers was revoked, making him in March of 1929, the little ichimatsu girl ineligible to be mayor. doll was presented by a visiting Japanese In February of 1927, student at Columbia University, Miss Ayako even before the arrival of Archival newspaper image of Miss Ayako Tsuchiya presenting a doll Tsuchiya, to representatives of the American all the doll messengers, the to the American Junior Red Cross as a gift to Lou Henry Hoover, wife Junior Red Cross in October of 1929 for final Junior Red Cross in Japan of President Hoover. Washington Post, October 27, 1929 presentation to Mrs. Hoover. Along with decided to create their own the doll was a large photo album containing images of the doll program, called koka-ningyo, or “exchange dolls.” The Japanese hinaidea was to send ten dolls each to ten different countries matsuri Girl’s Day around the world to promote cultural exchanges between Festival of the Japanese children and the children of other countries. Dolls and images A series of articles published in the Osaka newspapers documenting the focused on a group of girls from an area school who were doll exchange creating kimonos and dressing ten ichimatsu-style dolls v of 1927. The destined specifically for America. Images show the girls presentation of gathered around a table in an especially dedicated room this little doll to at the local Red Cross. The dolls are shown splayed out Mrs. Hoover was on the table in various states of dress, their cardboard covered widely in boxes stacked behind them. This program, so strongly the national press. reminiscent of the blue-eyed dolls, shows that long before vii Unfortunately, the arrival of the Friendship Dolls on American shores, the ultimate fate other more locally based gifts of gratitude were being of this doll and contemplated and executed. These particular dolls were the accompanying generic ichimatsu play dolls, with homemade costumes, Archival newspaper image of Miss Osaka and her album is also less flashy and with a less elevated pedigree than their travelling box, Osaka Asahi Shinbun, October 20, 1935 unknown. larger counterparts which were to follow later in the year. William & Helen Taft z 59
A Doll For Mrs. Hoover
The Manchurian Dolls
The Japanese government of the late 1920s and early 1930s also initiated a number of Friendship Doll exchanges with other countries. Perhaps the most controversial exchange was the sixty large-scale ichimatsuningyô sent to Manchuria in 1933, closely mimicking the 1927 exchange with the U.S. Japan’s occupation of Manchuria began in 1895 when the Kwangtung Peninsula (Kantoshû) in southern Manchuria was largely ceded to Japan by China following her defeat in the Sino-Japanese War. Recognizing this area as part of the Japanese empire, Miss Osaka-fu, 1927 Japanese Friendship Doll, Hirata the 1927 Friendship Doll Gôyô II, Ohio Historical Society exchange included a Miss Kantoshû along with a Miss Korea, Miss Karafuto (Sakhalin) and a Miss Taiwan, representing Japan’s The Japanese Junior Red Cross declared overseas territorial was a particularly active proponent of holdings. Under the original these early doll exchanges. In October exchange of the “blue-eyed of 1935, an Osaka-area girl’s school dolls” in 1927, a total of ten decided to send a special doll gift to dolls were sent to Kantoshû students at the Burton Middle School in June of that year. The Miss Kantoshû, 1927 Japanese Friendship Doll, Koryûsai II, Herring Collection in Grand Rapids, Michigan, presumably Japanese colonists there, following up on connections with this school first made noted for their aggressive nationalism, received the dolls during the 1927 Doll Messengers of Good Will program. with a certain amount of disdain, seeing it as a point of Enlisting the help of the Japanese Junior Red Cross, they weakness, Japanese effectively kowtowing to America.viii The whole of Manchuria fell under Japanese suzerainty ultimately sent a very fine ichimatsu girl doll standing following the 1931 Manchurian Incident when Japanese nearly 30 inches in height. She was housed in a specially soldiers on the Kwangtung Peninsula attacked Chinese crafted hinged white kiri (paulownia) wood box that also troops. By 1933, Japan had effectively annexed all of contained lacquer furnishings, a koto zither, a samisen, and a hagoita battledore. This very special lady was named Manchuria, controlling it as a puppet state under the name of Manchukuo. The last Chinese emperor, Pu Yi (1906Miss Osaka and was dispatched on October 20, 1935.
Miss Osaka Goes To Michigan
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“Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere” announced in 1940, both of which envisioned an East Asia free from Western powers, and one largely dominated by Japan for the greater benefit of all. With certain farewell ceremonies harkening back to the 1927 exchange with America, the dolls were photographed with Matsudaira Masako (19131998), second daughter of Matsudaira Tsuneo, who had served as Ambassador to the United States at the time of the 1927 Friendship Doll exchange. The official reception in Manchuria featured a photo session with Japanese colonists, members of the Japanese army and Pu Yi, the future emperor of Manchukuo.xii The ultimate fate of these sixty dolls is unknown.
The Paris Dolls
In 1935 the City of Tokyo also decided to send dolls as a gesture of goodwill, this time to the citizens of Paris, from one great international city to another. Initially, the 1967), was installed as the putative emperor of Manchukuo dolls were to be musha-ningyô (warrior dolls) popular in the Boy’s Day display. However, in September of that year, from 1934 to 1945 and re-imagined as the half-brother to before the dolls could be sent, Tokyo and Paris became the Japanese emperor Hirohito.ix involved in a dispute over interest payments owed on It is against this backdrop Tokyo City bonds. and at this moment in history The row over these that the Japanese government payments delayed chose to send its sixty dolls of the dispatch friendship to Manchuria, with the of the dolls, intention of distributing them to and American schools and military hospitals. newspapers Underneath their kimono, written followed the story in calligraphy and bearing the with an unusual seal of Hatoyama Ichirô (1883level of interest. 1959), then head of the Japanese The headlines Ministry of Education and future themselves made prime minister of Japan, were for interesting the words “Kyoson Kyoei” (“Live reading. The Together/Prosper Together”). Montana Standard xi This particular verbiage is very of September interesting and clearly a precursor 17, 1935, for to the “New Order in East Asia” Archival newspaper image of the Paris doll sent by the City of Tokyo in 1936, Manichi shinbun, example, boasted March 13, 1936] promulgated in 1938 and the Archival image of Matsudaira Masako (r) and some of the sixty Kyoson-kyoei (Live TogetherProsper Together) dolls sent to Manchuria by the Japanese government in 1933, Author’s Collection
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this banner: “Squabble Over Money Matters Kicks Sawdust Out of Good-Will Dolls Tokio Made for Parisians.” By the time the payment fracas was resolved in March of 1936, the City of Tokyo had decided to enlarge the number of dolls sent by also including a pair of ichimatsu dolls, one male and one female, each in its own glass display case. The boy was dressed in formal hakama trousers and haori coat, the girl in a yuzen-dyed kimono similar to that of the Friendship and Manchurian dolls, representing The boy doll sent to Paris would have been very similar children dressed to this 1930s ichimatsu boy, Author’s Collection in their formal best. This boy/girl pairing became the pattern that would soon be repeated elsewhere. Rather than sending a large number of dolls, a single male and female pair became the envoys of choice.
Mayor Fiorello Laguardia (1882-1947) of New York City, prompted by the Japan Travel Bureau, decided to send “doll envoys” of his own to Japan in May of 1935. Rather than miniature play dolls, or even largish creations, Mayor Laguardia upped the ante, so to speak, and sent Mr. & Mrs. America, two life-sized dolls: he a tall, dapper mustachioed man and she a prim lady with tight dark curls. Strongly resembling traditional store mannequins, they could be positioned standing or seated as the occasion required. This diplomatic couple was sent via the S. S. Asama Maru to Yokohama, arriving in June, where they were then transferred to Tokyo and feted in the “Bridal Suite” of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Imperial Hotel. In the lobby of the Imperial they were photographed with another visiting American celebrity, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.xiii They were assigned an interpreter and subsequently made the diplomatic rounds, visiting Premier Okada Keisuke (18681952), members of the Japanese cabinet, and the American ambassador, Joseph Clark Grew (1880-1965).xiv They carried with them business cards that read, “Mr. & Mrs. America: America’s Goodwill Envoys.” They were dressed in the latest New York fashions and travelled with several sets of clothes, allowing them to dress appropriately, for example, in black tie at an afternoon tea held at the Imperial Hotel and smart business attire while on board ship.xv
Mr. & Mrs. America
It is tempting to see the use of dolls in these political theatrics as something that “only the Japanese might do.” However, at the height of pre-war tensions with Japan, 62 y William & Helen Taft
Archival Image of Mr. & Mrs. America at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, June 22, 1935
the same year, a 28,000-mile round-trip journey, attired now in Japanese garb. Their return was celebrated in City Hall with Mayor Laguardia and Consul General Inoue in attendance.xviii
A Doll Exchange In Rochester
Part of the beauty of the 1927 Friendship Doll Exchange was that it helped to form very personal and intimate bonds between specific children in specific locations, though separated by vast distances. Among the 12,739 “blue-eyed” dolls were two little examples sent by the children of Roosevelt Elementary School in Rochester, New York. These two dolls ultimately found a home at the Tokyo Girl’s School. In 1936, amidst the growing clamor for war, the children of this school decided to send a special gift of thanks to Rochester’s children, to
Archival newspaper image of Mr. Fuji Nippon and Miss Sakurako, doll escorts for Mr. & Mrs. America during their stay in Japan, Tokyo Mainichi Shinbun, June 11, 1935
Upon their arrival they were also met by a pair of Japanese-doll counterparts, Mr. Fuji Nippon and Miss Sakurako, who were dressed in traditional kimono and accompanied them throughout their stay.xvi These very large Tokyo-style ichimatsu ningyô were given tabi socks and zori sandals. Rather than the painted hair associated closely with boy ichimatsu, Mr. Fuji Nippon was given a short-cropped style fashioned of real hair. Japanese newspapers gave much focus to the Japanese pair. A June 6, 1935 article profiled Mr. Fuji Nippon and Miss Sakurako, outlining their important upcoming responsibilities; the two became celebrities in their own right. Although they travelled to Japan by sea, Mr. & Mrs. America benefited from advances in technology and were able to travel to various stops in Japan by airplane. A reported 2,500 people showed up to honor them as they disembarked at the airport in Nagoya.xvii After their tour, the diplomatic couple returned to the U.S. in October of
Image of Yamato Hideo and Sakuragi Haruko and the two smaller nakayoshiningyô gifted to the Roosevelt Elementary School in Rochester, New York in 1936, Yoshitoku Annual Catalogue, 1937
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dolls,” which the children could hug and embrace. Yoshitoku Doll Company commemorated their role in this by featuring an image of the four dolls in their 1937 catalog. Newspapers in the Rochester area generously covered the arrival of these doll emissaries with headlines such as “Children Get Tokyo Dolls” and “An Oriental Visitor.” One article featured an image of two young girls from Roosevelt Elementary School enthusiastically greeting Miss Sakuragi Haruko. The actual presentation took place on October 27, the anniversary of the birth of Theodore Roosevelt. The dolls were presented by Kenichi Moriwake from the Japanese Consulate in New York.xx Inspired by these gifts, the children of Roosevelt Elementary School teamed up with other local schools to send four return dolls in June of the following year, closely marking the ten-year anniversary of the Doll Messengers.
A pair of ichimatsu-ningyô, by Toko, similar to the large ichimatsu dolls sent to Rochester, 32-1/4” high. Courtesy of Kansas City Toy & Miniature Museum
reinvigorate the theme of peace that was becoming lost once again. Through the auspices of the Yoshitoku Doll Company, which oversaw the creation of fifty-one of the original fifty-eight total Friendship Dolls, four ichimatsu dolls were sent to Roosevelt Elementary School along with a picture of the Tokyo school and hand-made gifts from the children studying there. Two of the dolls were the same size as the Friendship Dolls, approximately 33 inches. There was a boy named Yamato Hideo and a girl named Sakuragi Haruko. Since these dolls were too large to play with and too expensive to be treated like regular dolls, the Tokyo school thoughtfully sent along two smaller companion dolls called nakayoshi-ningyô or “play-with-me 64 y William & Helen Taft
Kenichi Moriwake from the Japanese Consulate in New York presents the boy doll, Yamato Hideo, to five year-old Mary Jane Mastrella from Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School
Reverting to the pattern set up by Gulick in the 1927 exchange, three of these four dolls were simple play dolls, with their costumes made by the children themselves. This included a baby doll named Rose Marie Fitzhugh dressed in white with a pink blanket, a girl doll dressed all in yellow named Sherry Ann Monroe, and a boy doll with brown hair, a brown hat, a double breasted coat and shorts named Thomas Jefferson. The fourth doll was a commercial Shirley Temple doll dressed in a red top and a blue-checkered skirt.xxi Of course, all of these exchanges are now viewed with historical hindsight and with the tragic punctuation mark of the Second World War. Consideration of the hostilities which erupted in December of 1941 between Japan and the U.S. has a tendency to render mute any thoughts on the effectiveness of the doll exchanges outlined here. A cynical turn of thought also might view the Manchurian dolls, the Paris dolls, and even the Laguardia dolls as cheap, dollbased political theater. And well they might have been. However, the on-going exchanges between children as illustrated in the koka-ningyô, the Grand Rapids and the Rochester exchanges speak of a higher motivation. Who knows which hearts were softened and what friendships cherished, even if secretly, in the hearts and minds of the children who participated in or witnessed the flurry of doll envoys during this decade of the doll. In closing I am reminded of an editorial that appeared in an Arkansas newspaper on the occasion of the original 1927 exchange. It read, in part: [the exchange of dolls] “as a token of our friendship” may seem a little thing in the eyes of some people, but students of psychology will see much significance in the Japanese doll festival. Everything that can bind the people of one country to another helps that much towards “a will to peace” between two countries, and war is a state of mind before it becomes a military affair. It seems not untimely, in a study of international relations and how to make them more friendly, to quote that famous line: “And a little child shall lead them.”xxii
The Yamanaka Collection of Chinese and Japanese Treasures of Rare Artistic Distinction, Yamanaka Company, New York, February 3, 1916. ii “For International Good-Will Day,” The English Journal, vol. 16 no. 3 March 1927, p. 225 iii Quoted in the Denton Journal, May 4, 1929 iv Linton Daily Citizen, Linton, Indiana, July 13, 1927, p. 6 v “Koka-ningyô no kimono chasei,” Osaka Asahi Shinbun, February 22, 1927 vi San Mateo Times and Daily News Leader, May 20, 1927, p. 4 vii “Japan Gifts for Mrs. Hoover,” The Washington Post, October 27, 1929 viii Koresawa Hiraoki, “Aoime no ningyô—Chosenhan to Kantoshû chûshintoshite,” Ningyô gangû Kenkyo, Vol 1, p. 88 ix Herbert P. Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, Perennial, New York, 2000, p. 261. x Koresawa, “Aoime no ningyô,” p.87 xi Koresawa, “Aoime no ningyô,” p. 88 xii Yamada Tokubei and Kobayashi Sumie, Zusetsu nihon no ningyôshi (Illustrated History of Japanese Dolls), Tokyôdô Shuppan, Tokyo, 1991, p. 202 xiii “U.S. Dolls Fly in Japan,” New York Times, June 22, 1935 xiv “Doll Tourists Go To Japan,” The Lethbridge Herald, September 5, 1935, p. 8 xv Tokubei, Nihon ningyôshi, p. 204 xvi Tokubei, Nihon ningyôshi, p. 203; Le Grande Reporter, September 8, 1935, p. 4. xvii “U.S. Dolls Fly in Japan,” New York Times, June 22, 1935. xviii North Adams Transcript, October 23, 1925, p. 6. xix Okuda Tamaki, “Tôkyô joshi kôtôshihan gako ni okeru nichibei ningyô koryû,” in Ningyô gangû kenkyû, vol. 22, pp. 28-38. xx “Dolls from Japan Delight Roosevelt School Children,” Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Wednesday, October 28, 1936. xxi Okuda, “Tôkyô joshi,” p. 32. xxii “Dolls Do Their Bit,” Fayetteville Daily Democrat, March 3, 1927 p. 2. i
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The GIRLSCOUTS AT
By Roberta Heintz
avannah, Georgia native Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts of the United States of America in 1912 as the Edwardian era was drawing to a close. The Victorians had considered little girls to be miniature adults, but the Edwardians saw children as we do today, with amusement and educational needs of their own. Juliette Low was a visionary with a bold and daring spirit. When she decided to begin a scouting movement in the United States, she created a uniform for the girls with bloomers, and then she encouraged young ladies to go outside and play sports in their bloomers. This was unheard of at the time.
Paper dolls created by young Juliette Gordon depicting characters from Louisa May Alcott’s book, Eight Cousins
Not only born, but raised in Savannah, Juliette began drawing as a little girl. She and her cousin, Caroline Couper Styles, made paper dolls to act out plays. Particularly endearing was a series of watercolor paper dolls painted 66 y William & Helen Taft
Girl Scout founder, Juliette Gordon Low and her family were friends with William and Helen Taft. On one visit to Savannah, President Taft wrote in the Gordon’s guest book: “With delightful recollections of Savannah hospitality…” (November 5, 1909) The breakfast menu included fresh fruit, shrimp and hominy, cereals (which he declined), grilled partridge, potted partridge, broiled venison, waffles and rolls.
on old letters, newspapers and receipts portraying the characters from Louisa May Alcott’s book Eight Cousins, which at the time was running serially in St. Nicholas magazine. But it was to another cousin, Nina Pape, that she placed a historic phone call on March 9, 1912 insisting, “Come right over! I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight.” Three years earlier in November 1909, President William Howard Taft (Term: March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913) set out on a political tour of the South. When he reached Savannah he stayed with Nellie and Willie Gordon, Juliette’s parents, in their Regency Taft in front of the Gordon’s Savannah home home on Bull Street. Juliette lived in Europe. The first lady, Helen H. Taft, was recovering from a stroke and did not accompany her husband. The Gordons were staunch Southern Democrats. Taft was a Republican. Sons Willie Gordon and Will Taft were both Yale men, though, so the families were friends. During President Taft’s term of office, Juliette tried to persuade Mrs. Taft to become a patron of the scouting
movement, but the first daughter, Helen, led a Camp Fire group, and Mrs. Taft politely resisted Juliette’s persistence. On one of President Taft’s visits to her family home in Savannah, Juliette returned from Europe to try to convince him that his daughter, Helen, should become a Girl Guide patron. Eventually former first lady Helen Herron Taft became an honorary vice-president of the Girl Scouts. This occurred after her husband’s term in office had ended. Mrs. Taft was given the title of honorary vice-president by her friend and future first lady Lou Henry Hoover in 1924. Always supportive of the scouting movement, Lou Hoover had been named a Girl Scout commissioner in 1917; in 1921 she became the organization’s national vice-president. From 1922 to 1925, she served as its president and remained active in the Girl Scouts for the rest of her life. Mrs. William H. Taft’s name appeared as one of four honorary vice-presidents in the 1924 Scouting for Girls, an official publication of the organization. The then first lady Grace Coolidge was named honorary president of the Girl Scouts. Still today, all first ladies are given the title of honorary president of the Girl Scouts. In 1912, the new scouting program appealed to mothers and daughters of many different backgrounds, so it prospered. Girl Scouts have different membership levels and uniforms depending on the age of the girl. Initially the
A group of Girl Scouts from the 1940s with their Georgene Novelties scout dolls
Doll dressed in a uniform of 1919 – Collection of the Girl Scout Historical Preservation Center, Girl Scout Headquarters, New York City
United States Girl Scout program had one level for girls ages ten through seventeen, but it soon added two more levels. Brownies for younger girls was officially recognized in the mid-1920s, though it had existed earlier. At the same time older girls (over eighteen or over sixteen, if First Class Scouts) became known as Senior Scouts. The age divisions have changed over the years: in 1938, 1963, the 1970s, and in 2008. Outside the age level programs, there have been somewhat separate programs for Mariner Scouts (1934– present) and Wing Scouts (1941–1970s). Girl Scout dolls existed almost as soon as the program began. A doll’s label in the Girl Scout National Historic Preservation Center, a department at Girl Scout Headquarters in New York City, reads: “This 1919 girl’s uniform was meticulously hand-crafted for the doll. It was felt that when a girl was seen in uniform, people recognized her as a girl who is courteous and obliging, for her duty is at all times to help others.” Scouting uniforms have changed often over the years, and sometimes this helps to date a scout doll. Girl Scout dolls can be grouped three ways. There are the “official” dolls, which were sold through the Girl Scout catalogues. There are the commercially made dolls/outfits that were not licensed by the Girl Scouts and do not have the official Girl Scout logo. And there are the home-made outfits and dolls, produced with or without purchased patterns. William & Helen Taft z 67
The 9” wooden Flexy Doll designed by Helen Sargent Hitchcock and made by Converse of Winchendon, Massachusetts is an official doll which was pictured in the 1929 Girl Scout National Equipment catalog.
One of the earliest known Girl Scout dolls is a small, unmarked composition doll in the early brown scout uniform, 1917.
16” Official early cloth Georgene Novelties Brownie doll 16” Terri Lee, dressed in original Girl Scout uniform. The doll’s tag reads “Uniforms approved by the Girl Scouts of the United States of America”.
EffanBee Patsy is in a costume sold by Dolly To Girl Scout in the 1930’s. Note that the Girl Scout uniform has become green.
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13” Georgene Novelties official black Brownie, official Mariner, official black Girl Scout. The Mariner is considered rare as Georgene Novelties made only 500 of them from 1951 to 1955.
Artists such as NIADA’s Bernard Ravca (left) created unofficial scout dolls, as did Schoenhut with Clo Pin of the Pinn Family of dolls (center). New Hampshire doll artist, Annalee Thorndike, created a Girl Scout which was thought to have been used in the shop windows of Meredith (right).
Georgene Novelties official Girl Scout, 1942 The eyes are now painted with a side-glancing look.
14” All-Cloth Georgene Novelties official Girl Scout and official Brownie, 1940. The Brownie wears the pointed elf-type hat. Both dolls’ eyes are painted forward.
8” Brownie by Beehler Arts, Ltd. These dolls came with brown boxes that have the Brownie logo and read: “Official 8” Brownie Scout Doll”. The doll and the case are official.
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Paper dolls were popular for several years and some were official yet some – like McCall’s magazine’s Betsy McCall – were not.
In the 1990s Madame Alexander released an 8” doll dressed in a Girl Scout uniform wearing a hat that inadvertently bore the Boy Scout insignia on it. The dolls’ production was halted by the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. due to license infringement.
8” dolls were popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Various companies manufactured 8” dolls that could wear the 8”-sized scout uniforms – among them Cosmopolitan Ginger dolls, Nancy Ann Storybook dolls, Vogue, Uneeda, Beehler Arts, Ltd. and Effanbee. Pictured is an 8” Madame Alexander doll wearing a Girl Scout uniform.
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Another doll that was pulled from production due to license infringement was the 1979 Hallmark Cards, Inc.’s Juliette Gordon Low from its Famous Americans cloth doll series. The doll was never put into the stores so therefore it never had a box. One collector relates the story that a friend in Kansas City, Missouri (Hallmark’s headquarter base) heard that Hallmark had to destroy the dolls. She went to the “doll dumping” site, rescuing many of the Low dolls from oblivion.
Long time United Federation of Doll Clubs’ member Dr. Pidd Miller was a member of the very first Brownie troop organized in Houston, Texas, in 1929. She created a patch that is still used by the Girl Scouts today called the Doll Collector Patch. A girl must complete five of the eight suggested categories in order to successfully earn this patch. Dr. Miller left her extensive collection of scout dolls to the San Jacinto Girl Scout Council. Scout dolls and doll clothes have been manufactured by countless companies over the years, as well as at home using patterns or kits, both commercially made or designed by mother and daughter. Scout dolls as well as Scout teddy
bears are still manufactured today. One 2012 Girl Scout anniversary doll comes with a blank face enabling the girl to give the doll a face of her choice. Steiff offers a Girl Scout Centenary Teddy Bear wearing a Troop 312 badge sash. The number, 312, pays tribute to the date Girl Scouting began in the United States, March 12, 1912. During the year-long 100th Anniversary Celebration of Girl Scouts in 2012, a large special, interactive exhibit was held in Dallas, Texas, during the annual State Fair of Texas. Vintage scout uniforms were shown on dress forms, bearing the face of the Betsy McCall paper doll, “Betsy McCall Finds a Place in The Woods,” which appeared in the September 1973 issue of McCall’s magazine. A small case of Girl Scout dolls through the years was on display, and in it was a doll honoring the current first lady and honorary president of the Girls Scouts of the U.S.A., Michelle Obama.
100th Anniversary Girl Scout Experience – State Fair of Texas 2012. Dress forms with Betsy McCall’s face displayed scout uniforms through the years (left) and a collection of Girl Scout dolls included a doll representing Honorary Girl Scout President first lady Michelle Obama (right)
Dolls from the Collections of Lynne Armstrong & Laurie McGill William & Helen Taft z 71
Helen Taft made a permanent mark in American history by choosing to ride in the Inaugural Parade with her husband, following the swearing-in ceremony. Many newspapers at the time considered it a symbol of what they assumed to be her support of full suffrage for women.
By Laurie W. McGill
elen Herron Taft was H a memorable first lady for several reasons. She
was the first, first lady to own and drive a car, ride in her husband’s inaugural parade and smoke cigarettes. Just after she became first lady she declared herself a “qualified suffragist,” suggesting the right to vote should be awarded only to women (and Participants in Washington D.C. suffrage procession on also to men) who could prove March 3, 1913. a degree of knowledge on the issues and the candidates about which and for whom they were voting. She was, however, a charter member of Bryn Mawr’s Suffrage Club. She made her feelings on women’s suffrage known publicly, though, on the last day of her husband’s presidency. Suffragettes rallied in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day to try to convince the soonto-be president Woodrow Wilson to support their cause. President Taft had not been in favor of women’s right to vote. Mrs. Taft took a prominent place on the grandstand to review the suffragist parade being held on March 3, 1913. It was a symbolic move which demonstrated that she supported the Women’s Suffrage Movement. At the same time the United States was experiencing the Women’s Suffrage Movement, so was the United Kingdom. Popular British children’s author Kathleen Ainslie
Washington D.C. suffragist procession
Official Program Woman Suffrage Procession March 3, 1913
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wrote several books during the Edwardian era. Inspired by Golliwogg author Florence Upton’s use of the then popular peg (or penny) wooden dolls, Ainslie proceeded to publish book after book and calendar after calendar featuring a staunch little peg doll named Catharine Susan and her friend, simply known as “me.” Votes for Catherine Susan and Me was published in London in 1910, during the most fraught period of the suffrage movement. Suffragettes faced police brutality. They were force fed when they tried to participate in hunger strikes while in prison. The small book is a time capsule reflecting that period in history. Ainslie’s Votes for Catherine Susan and Me is the only known children’s book to touch on the Suffrage Movement.
Kathleen Ainslie’s Votes for Catherine Susan and Me (Published: London, Castell Brothers Ltd; New York, Frederick Stokes Company, 1910) is the only known children’s book to touch on the Suffrage Movement.
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The Red WHITE AND
By Linda Y. White
atriotism was the motto in our typical Midwest midtwentieth century family when I was growing up. Like many post-World War II Americans raising children during that time, my parents emphasized the importance of God, country, and family. I don’t remember a time when I was not interested in what was happening in America. Therefore, it stood to reason, that having been a born collector, I would have a passion for all things pertaining to American history--American antiques, flags, dolls and holiday items. Fascinated with politics at a young age, I often wondered how our two political party symbols came about. Who first used the symbols of the elephant for the Republican Party and the donkey for the Democratic Party and why? Thomas Nast, a German-born American editorial cartoonist/caricaturist (1840-1910), considered to be the Father of the American Cartoon, deserves the credit. Although the elephant had been used by an Illinois newspaper during Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 presidential campaign, it was Nast, a staunch Republican, who deliberately chose the elephant as a symbol for his own political party. He believed the elephant implied great size, intelligence, Merry Old Santa, Thomas Nast illustration from strength and dignity. He 1881 Harper’s Weekly 74 y The Dolls and Toys of Washington, D.C.
With big tin trumpet and little red drum, Marching like soldiers, the children come! It’s this way and that way they circle and file ~ My! But that music of theirs is fine! This way and that way, and after a while They march straight into this heart of mine! Eugene Field (1850-1895)
first used the elephant in his November 7, 1874, editorial cartoon for Harper’s Weekly, and it gradually became the Republican symbol as it was embraced by the public and adopted by other cartoonists. Although Nast was not the first to use the symbol of the donkey (which was supposed to represent an antiCivil War faction) for the Democratic Party, in 1870 he popularized the symbol in his editorial artworks also for Harper’s Weekly. With his editorial influence and crusades, Nast was Printed cloth Santa Claus doll by considered a celebrity. Edward S. Peck, 1886 In 1862 Nast created the popular image we recognize as Santa Claus today. The inspiration for Nast’s Santa came from Clement Moore’s poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” In one of Nast’s earliest published illustrations of Santa Claus in an 1863 edition of Harper’s Weekly, Santa Claus is visiting a Civil War camp handing out gifts to soldiers and their children. This is also the first time Santa had been depicted with an
American flag flying proudly to celebrate our country’s 150th birthday. above him. The dolls were made and sold as mementos The multi-framed illustration of the sesquicentennial (1776-1926). The “Santa Claus and His Works” was Annin Company is still in business today Nast’s first major depiction of manufacturing American flags. The American Santa Claus in Harper’s Weekly flag was less than fifty years old when Alexander (appearing in the December 29, Annin began making United States flags for 1866 issue). Nast contributed 33 merchant ships in his sail-making shop on the Christmas drawings to Harper’s New York City waterfront in the 1820s. Weekly from 1863 through 1886, Decades later, in 1974, The Toy Works of and Santa is seen or referenced Middle Falls, New York, faithfully reproduced in all but one. Nast’s full-page Peck’s Santa Claus, introducing it to a new illustration of Santa Claus in 1881 generation. And in 1975, just in time for our swiftly attained status akin to an nation’s bicentennial celebration, The Toy Works official portrait. reproduced Liberty Belle (1776-1976). It was this 1881 image of Santa Edward S. Peck Santa Claus cloth, Oriental Print Works In 1892 Arnold Print Works in Massachusetts Claus by Nast that influenced created a Palmer Cox “Uncle Sam” Brownie and Edward S. Peck of Brooklyn, New York, to take out Patent in 1901 Art Fabric Mills produced and sold printed cloth Number 17,042 on December 28, 1886. The patent was for cut-and-sew dolls of George and Martha Washington and the first commercially produced printed their children. cloth doll in the United States, a Nastinspired Santa Claus holding toys and carrying an American flag. The assignee was The New York Stationery and Envelope Company, New York, New York. Prior to this 1886 patent, the same image of Santa Claus had been used on a sizable piece of cloth, designed by Peck, for the Oriental Print Works of Rhode Island. Peck also designed a cutand-sew Baby’s First Christmas Stocking, using a Nast-inspired Santa Claus image. Over the years other printed cloth patriotic dolls followed Peck’s Santa Claus. A 13-inch Liberty Belle, produced by the Annin Company Sesquicentennial Liberty Belle, of New York in 1926, was designed Annin Co., NY, 1926
Palmer Cox Brownie, Uncle Sam, Arnold Print Works, 1892
The Dolls and Toys of Washington, D.C. z 75
Uncle Sam dolls appear in many different forms. Not long ago I found a carnival boy from the early 1900s dressed in patriotic garb. At 31 inches tall, he was likely made by one of several companies such as Elektra Toys, Butler Brothers, or Central Doll Mfg. Company. I feel blessed to have these dolls that represent in some form the patriotism I feel for our country.
God Bless America!
George Washington family printed cloth, Art Fabric Mills, 1901
In 1896 German doll manufacturer Cuno & Otto Dressel presented its Portrait Doll Series, which included an Uncle Sam. The name Uncle Sam (initials U.S.) is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York. Wilson supplied barrels of beef to the United States Army during the War of 1812. He stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States; however, the soldiers began referring to the food as “Uncle Sam’s”. A local newspaper picked up the story, and Uncle Sam eventually gained a large acceptance as a nickname for the United States government. Thomas Nast began to use the image of Uncle Sam in his drawings for Harper’s Weekly. Nast continued to evolve the image, eventually giving Sam the white beard and the stars-and-stripes suit, similar to the suit seen on the Cuno & Otto Dressel dolls. 76 y The Dolls and Toys of Washington, D.C.
Uncle Sam, Cuno & Otto Dressel, Germany, c. 1900, bisque socket head made by Simon & Halbig
Patriotic carnival doll
Sally the WHITE HOUSE
with appreciation to the Division of Political History, National Museum of American History
here is a doll named Sally in the Political History Collection of the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of American History. It is part of a small number of items passed down through the distinguished Adams family. John Adams served as the second president of the United States and his son, John Quincy Adams served as the sixth president. Family lore maintained that the doll belonged to Mary Louisa Adams, granddaughter of John Quincy Adams, but Mary was born in 1828 and the doll is circa 1850. Perhaps in actuality Sally belonged to Mary Louisa Adams’ daughters: Mary Adams Johnson (b 1854) and Louisa Catherine Johnson (b 1856). Family lore found in the museum’s files, further indicated that the doll was made by Mary Louisa’s aunt, Mrs. Thomas Boylston (Ann Harrod) Adams, but the cloth-bodied doll has a manufactured head. Mrs. Thomas Boylston Adams passed away in 1846. Regardless of the doll’s full provenance, it cannot be disputed that the Adams family left an indelible mark on the history of the United States Sally the White House Doll
“I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this House, and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.” (from a letter by John Adams to Abigail written after he moved into the White House in 1800)
Portrait of Mary Louisa Adams by Asher B. Durand (1835) Smithsonian American Art Museum
of America. John Adams and his wife, Abigail, were the first to reside in the newly constructed President’s House (the White House) in 1800. Their son, John Quincy Adams, took office in 1824. His son, John Adams II, married in the White House during his father’s term and his daughter, Mary Louisa Adams (the doll’s purported owner), was the first baby girl born inside the White House quarters in 1828. The artist, Asher B. Durand, who painted Mary Louisa’s portrait wrote, “I am painting one of John Quincy Adams’ little granddaughters…as a compliment to the old gentleman. She is a beautiful subject and by three sittings I have already got a good likeness…” Mary Louisa died in 1859. A biography of the family indicates “Mary Louisa went through life in the same happy strain with which her birth was welcomed”. Sally the White House Doll remains an important - and endearing - part of the collection of the National Museum of American History. The Dolls and Toys of Washington, D.C. z 77
By Laurie W. McGill
In 1878 Helen Herron visited the White House at the age of 17 as a guest of President and Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes. The Hayes were close friends of Helen’s parents. It was because of this visit, young Helen decided that if she were to marry one day it would be to a man who could be President.
resident Rutherford B. Hayes served as the 19th President of the United States from March 4, 1877 to March 4, 1881. Hayes and his wife, Lucy, had eight children, but only one daughter, Fanny, who was born in 1867. Shortly after the Hayes family moved into the President Hayes with Fanny White House in 1877, Mrs. Hayes commissioned a Washington carpentercontractor who had worked at the White House, to build a doll house for Fanny for Christmas. Madison Magruder’s bill of sale read: “For one play house, $15.00.” 78 y The Dolls and Toys of Washington, D.C.
Fanny’s doll house, 1878, made for her in Baltimore, Maryland
The 1/8-inch-to-1-foot-scale house had two chimneys and stood 48” high, 50” wide and 21-1/2” deep. It was a three-story structure with attic and staircase and with well-designed bays on each side of the entrance. The house had double front doors and a green mansard roof. The following year, in February 1878, President and Mrs. Hayes visited the Methodist Fair held at the Masonic Temple in Baltimore, Maryland for the benefit of the Emory Grove Camp-Meeting Association. The Cincinnati Commercial reported that “Mrs. Hayes was presented by the lady managers of the Fair with a handsome doll playhouse for her daughter, Miss Fanny Hayes.”
This second dolls’ house was rich in architectural detail, a piece of high Victoriana with three bays and towering belvedere. The maker’s name was inscribed inside the belvedere: “Made by George C. Brown, Baltimore, Md.” (February 13, 1878). Mr. Brown was a carpenter and builder in Baltimore. The house stood 57” tall, 30-3/4” wide and 28-3/4” deep. It had a staircase hall, attic rooms and four chimneys with a skylight. A family member’s diary faithfully recorded the acquisition of this doll house: “Little Fan received an elegant present Monday - a large doll-house finished as carefully as a real dwelling. It is two stories high with attic and has been furnished throughout. Fan is delighted with it! It was sent from somebody in Baltimore & must have cost a large sum.” (Lucy Scott West, Mrs. Hayes’ cousin)
After touring the White House living quarters in March 1878 a female Washington correspondent, Austine Snead (known to her readers as Miss Grundy), wrote an article called “How Presidents Live – Description of the White House at Washington”. “Most agreeable reminders of the presence of children are the two large ‘baby houses’ standing in the hall, in which the president’s only daughter, little Fannie (sic), between ten and eleven years of age, and the youngest child, Scott, some three or four years younger, take great delight…” During the White House’s first century, a large staircase was located in the west sitting hall of the family quarters, just outside the presidential bedroom. It was an odd space but this is where Fanny Hayes played with her doll houses. The Hayes family brought the two houses with them to Spiegel Grove after Hayes’ term as president ended in 1881. The only piece of Fanny’s doll house furniture which survived her youth is a tin bathtub, which is the proper scale for the 1877 doll house. Betty Hayes, wife of Webb Cook Hayes III, great-grandson of Rutherford B. Hayes, spent two years (mid-twentieth century) refurnishing the 1878 doll house in period miniatures. Mrs. Hayes purchased many of the antique pieces from a New York antique dealer. When she passed away, her obituary mentioned Fanny Hayes’ doll house: “Betty Hayes was most proud of Fanny Hayes’ doll house furnishings.” Fanny Hayes’ two doll houses are in the collection of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio.
Fanny’s doll house, 1877, made for her in Washington, D.C.
The Dolls and Toys of Washington, D.C. z 79
DOLLS AND the WPA
By Linda Edward
he fifth century BC T Greek philosopher Aeschylus once stated,
19-inch girl with embroidered features, designed for the project by Helen Clarke.
“Necessity is far stronger than art.” In the United States of America during the 1930s necessity and art came together for a period of creativity and productivity under the projects of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The necessity was born out of the turmoil of the Great Depression caused by the stock market crash of 1929. The widespread unemployment left in the wake of the crash reduced much of the nation’s population to economic disaster conditions. In 1935 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt set aside 4.9 billion dollars
80 y The Dolls and Toys of Washington, D.C.
“I have just come back from one of the most interesting mornings I have ever spent,” wrote Eleanor Roosevelt in her column My Day, dated November 12, 1936. “Milwaukee has a handicraft project for unskilled women which gives one a perfect thrill… They are making dolls as attractive as any I have seen…” When presented with two of the Project’s dolls, Mrs. Roosevelt remarked, “I simply love dolls.”
in appropriations for the purpose of putting millions of Americans back to work through the WPA. The concept of the WPA was to provide temporary employment to heads of households as a means of providing subsistence wages to families in a difficult time while also maintaining the infrastructure of the country through the numerous projects of the WPA. Many a bridge, park, road,
Plaques of this type denoting the work of the WPA can be found in cities and towns across the U.S.A. These projects provided work for unskilled laborers while maintaining the county’s roads, parks and other public works.
and other public works were built or repaired under the WPA. The eventual goal of these initiatives was to train workers in new skills that would enable them to find work in the private sector. Most of the first WPA projects were heavy labor projects which gave employment to unskilled men; however, it was soon realized that many households in the nation were supported by women who were unmarried, widowed, or divorced, or whose husbands were disabled. Further, the country had numerous professionals and artists who also now found themselves out of work. From these necessities WPA arts and handicraft projects began to take shape. WPA projects within the arts had to adhere to strict government guidelines. In addition to federal and state money, projects had to find at least 25% of their financial support from private sponsors. Products made by such projects could not compete with established industries and had to be used for the public good. The fingers of the dolls were stitched and the dolls Bearing these stipulations had sewn joints at the shoulder and an unusual fabric in mind it is easy to see hinge joint at the hip which allowed the dolls to sit why doll making projects and walk. became a part of the WPA programming in states throughout the U.S., providing dolls for use as teaching aids in classrooms and playthings for nursery schools, hospitals, and needy children. The 22-inch tall dolls made by the Milwaukee Handicraft Project had heads One of the best documented examples of the doll and made from stockinette fabric which was stiffened with cornstarch and pressed toy making projects of the WPA is that of the Milwaukee in a mold. The interior of the head was given a layer of a water-glass* and Handicraft Project. This project embodied in its aims and sawdust mixture which resulted in a solidly formed, hollow doll head. These results a perfect example of the underlying precepts of the dolls had painted features and hair made from cotton rug warp. They came as WPA. girls or boys in both white and black versions.
The Dolls and Toys of Washington, D.C. zâ€…81
Smaller, flat-faced dolls designed by Elizabeth Pasler were introduced in 1938. These dolls had embroidered features and were made as 11-inch girls and boys, 16-inch sets of twins as seen here, and 19-inch (48 cm) girls
In 1935 Harriet Pettibone Clinton, serving as the district director of the Women’s Division of the WPA in Milwaukee County, approached her friend Elsa Ulbricht about an idea for a project to put unskilled women to work. Ulbricht, an artist and teacher, suggested a project to make handicraft items. But she aimed higher than simply providing employment for the project’s workers; she wished to design projects that would be both useful and artful so that participants not only learned marketable skills but also came away from the project with a better developed appreciation and understanding of art and design.
The project outlined by Ulbricht led to programs which included weaving, block printing, sewing, and book binding, and resulted in the production of numerous useful objects. Ulbricht was appointed as the project coordinator and secured sponsorship from the Milwaukee Teacher’s State College where she taught. The project was officially recognized as the WPA HANDICRAFT PROJECT #1170. Ulbricht turned to former students Mary June Kellogg and Anne Feldman to help make the project a reality. Kellogg became the art director for the project, and Feldman took over the day-to-day administrative tasks. Many of the items made by the Milwaukee project found their way into use by area children’s homes, hospitals and nursery schools. When one of these nursery schools asked for an unbreakable doll for their children to play with, a play doll project was begun. Kellogg called upon local artist Dick Wiken to sculpt a doll’s head. Wiken was a young painter and sculptor who was already actively involved in a wooden toy WPA project. He sculpted a head and produced a suitable mold from it. The resulting head was used with a cotton percale body designed by doll maker Helen Clarke. By the end of 1937 forty women were working to make 120 dolls per month. This workforce employed workers of various ethnic ancestry, all of whom worked side by side and earned equal The 19-inch girl with embroidered features retains her original wardrobe pay, which was not a which was designed for the project by Helen Clarke. The clothing of these WPA dolls was simple but well made and was intended to be used to help common practice at teach young children how to dress themselves. that time. Eventually
82 y The Dolls and Toys of Washington, D.C.
the project made several different types of dolls and soft toys and even continued on after the end of the WPA’s involvement in 1942. The Milwaukee Handicraft Project was successful in every sense of the word. The project helped to break down color and gender barriers in business, brought income to struggling families, taught its workers new skills while developing their sense of self-worth, created previously unavailable products for the benefit of relief families, hospitals, children’s homes and schools, and made the wonderful dolls that are treasured by today’s collectors. All of this was born out of the merging of art and necessity within the WPA. *Water-glass is a water soluble solution of sodium silicate which is often used in adhesives.
Dolls were also costumed in international garb such as this Dutch girl. Photo courtesy of Morphy Auctions. This image of a publically funded nursery school includes decorative items made by the Milwaukee WPA as well as the pair of dolls sitting on the shelf.
The Dolls and Toys of Washington, D.C. z 83
A RED HEAD IN THE
- Christine Sadler
By Laurie W. McGill
Jackie Kennedy – Hyannis Port – admiring a C.H. White pedlar doll
hen President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy moved W into the White House in 1961, they had two small children, Caroline (almost 4) and John Jr. (a baby).
Kennedy’s wife, Jackie, and his daughter, Caroline, had been true assets to his campaign leading up to the election. Photographs appeared of Jackie shopping in Hyannis Port or of Caroline with an oversized Georgene Novelties Raggedy Ann doll, fondly named Mother Annie, bidding her father farewell as he boarded an airplane for the campaign trail. Mother Annie was not the only Raggedy Ann doll 84 y The Dolls and Toys of Washington, D.C.
Only a handful of Presidents have had little children of their own while in the White House. These merry sons and daughters have left a trail of minor damage and an echo of bubbling laughter in the executive mansion. On her first day in the White House, Caroline Kennedy announced to the staff: “Daddy’s upstairs with his shoes and socks off, doing nothing!”
in Caroline’s extended doll family. She also had a smaller Georgene doll with which she often slept or pushed in a doll buggy as she and her father strolled outside their Georgetown home. Just prior to Christmas 1960 a news story (“Renewed Interest in Raggedy Ann Doll, Thanks Caroline and “Mother Annie” with John F. Kennedy, 1960 to Caroline Kennedy”) by reporter Gay Pauley was picked up by the United Press International where David Carton, then president of Georgene Novelties Company, Inc. was
Caroline pushing Raggedy Ann with Kennedy outside their Georgetown home, 1960
quoted, “Maybe not a big boom [in Raggedy Ann dolls] this year; it’s too close to Christmas and most stores long since have stocked up. But wait’ll next year.” Carton was right. Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls did grow in popularity. Their resurgence caused by Caroline Kennedy led to the doll licensing rights being transferred from Georgene (a small company) to Knickerbocker Toy Company (which had the capacity to better keep up with the demand). The images of Caroline with her Raggedy Ann doll appeared on political trade cards and bubble gum cards, as well as on First Day Issue Covers of the U.S. postage stamp honoring President Kennedy following his assassination in 1963. A photograph of Caroline and John Jr. in Caroline’s bedroom in the White House shows Mother Annie keeping a watchful eye from a corner of the room, and Mother Annie appeared in a short-run comic book by Charlton Publications called America’s First Young Lady! Caroline Kennedy. Magic Wand produced a paper doll called “Jackie and Caroline” and one of Caroline’s outfits included a Raggedy Ann doll. All of these things are considered collector’s items today and are sought after by both Raggedy Ann collectors and collectors of political memorabilia.
“Mother Annie” keeps a watchful eye on Caroline and John Jr.
The Dolls and Toys of Washington, D.C. z 85
CHRISTMAS White HOUSE
uring the D nineteenth century Christmases in
“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” - Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
with appreciation to the Division of Political History, National Museum of American History
the White House were not grand state affairs. They were usually simple family events. The first Christmas tree documented in the White House was President and Mrs. Cleveland, Ruth, Esther and Marion during the Benjamin Harrison administration (1889-1893), but the first electric lights on a White House Christmas tree were used when Grover Cleveland was in his second term in office (1893-1897). A miniature of the White House created by a White House gardener, ca. 1895 He and his wife, Frances, had a doll house and a miniature White House. The 3 daughters: Ruth, who was born miniature White House was made by a White House between Cleveland’s two separate gardener for the Cleveland children. The hinged front administrations (b 1891); Esther, of the dollhouse swung open to reveal two floors of the first and – to date – only baby five rooms, all with electricity. born in the White House to a When Grover Cleveland was in the White seated president (b 1893) and House, America was not quite ready for electrical Marion (b 1895). illumination. Electricity had been installed in the Cleveland family Christmas tree in the family Christmas in the Cleveland White House in 1891 but there was a great mistrust room and library of the White House (today White House focused on the by the general public of electricity. Cleveland’s use the Yellow Oval Room), ca. 1895 president’s daughters. Mrs. of indoor electric lights in the White House, on his Cleveland made the Christmas tree, stylishly laden with Christmas trees and in his children’s doll houses did much toys, the center of the White House holiday decorations. to spur the nation’s acceptance. One of the Cleveland’s trees was described as having The Cleveland children’s miniature White House is in the decorations of gold angels, gold and silver sleds, lots of collection of the National Museum of American History, tinsel, and multicolored lights. Beneath the tree were dolls, Washington, D.C. 86 y The Dolls and Toys of Washington, D.C.
The back story
USPS Classic American Dolls stamps, issued July 28, 1997
hen past UFDC president John Clendenin stepped into office in 1987, he began a campaign for a United States postage stamp bearing the image of a doll. Other countries such as Denmark, Russia, Australia and Canada had already acknowledged the importance of dolls on their postage stamps, and in 1970 toys had made their first appearance on a U.S. holiday postage stamp pane. One of them depicted an antique doll in a toy carriage. Clendenin’s project spanned almost ten years and ultimately resulted in a red, white and blue-toned sheet of fifteen 32-cent stamps featuring seventeen different American-made dolls. The forthcoming issuance of the
Laurie W. McGill with appreciation to John Clendenin, Carol Corson, Nancy Smith and Ann Coleman
The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum opened in1993. The National Postal Museum is dedicated to the preservation, study and presentation of postal history and philately. The National Philatelic Collection was established at the Smithsonian in 1886 with the donation of a sheet of 10-cent Confederate postage stamps.
stamps was announced at UFDC’s Region 13 conference in Philadelphia in October 1996. One hundred five million stamps were to be printed, and the First Day Issue Ceremony was scheduled to take place at the United Federation of Doll Clubs’ 1997 convention in Anaheim, California, in July. Originally graphic designer Derry Noyes of Washington, D.C., was asked by the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee to find an illustrator to draw or paint four dolls for a block of four stamps. Up to this point only one set of U.S. postage stamps had been photographic: the Endangered Species stamps. When the committee did not approve the hand-illustrated doll stamps, Noyes asked if she could explore the possibility of a photographic set of doll stamps. Noyes contacted Sally Andersen-Bruce, a New Milford, Connecticut, photographer, who seized the project enthusiastically. AndersenBruce visited libraries and did extensive research on the topic to determine which dolls were America’s “classic” dolls. She traveled around the East Coast visiting doll collections, Alabama Baby & Martha Chase The Museums of Washington D.C. z 87
and when she found a potential stamp candidate, she took a Polaroid photograph of the doll and filed it in a book with pertinent information about the doll. A member of the U.S. Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee put her in touch with collectors in the Philadelphia area, one of whom was Carol Corson. The original photo shoot took place in 1987 in the basement of Pennsylvania folk art dealer, Caroline Edleman’s home. While not a doll collector, Edleman had a solid knowledge of early American dolls. Corson took a few of her dolls (and an Izannah Walker belonging to collector Frances Walker) to Edleman’s home where Andersen-Bruce built a make-shift photo studio in Edleman’s basement. Andersen-Bruce used tungsten lights and needed a space that would not allow daylight. The dolls chosen for this first shoot were all antique American-made dolls which included two Schoenhut boy dolls, a 34” short-haired Greiner, a Columbian, a Volland Raggedy Ann and four Izannah Walker dolls. (Frances Walker’s Izannah was part of the
photo shoot. “The other Izannahs were only present for the party”, indicated Corson.) Andersen-Bruce submitted the photos to Derry Noyes, but the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee rejected the photos because they felt the dolls were not universally appealing except for perhaps Raggedy Ann. It was thought that more dolls were needed, perhaps adding more recently made dolls to complement the range of older dolls. The suggested graphic design was to be groupings of photographed dolls which could be spread cohesively over the quadrants of the proposed four-stamp block. Clendenin, sensing a need for internal guidance, enlisted the assistance of LeGree S. Daniels, a member of the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors at the time. Daniels believed the idea for a doll stamp merged well with then postmaster general Marvin Runyon’s goal of attracting children to stamp collecting. Runyon felt stamps could–and should—teach American history. “These delightful, charming stamps illustrate the joys of collecting,
88 y The Museums of Washington D.C.
appreciating and cherishing classic dolls,” said Daniels. “I believe these images will recall memories of many sweet, tender moments of our youth.” Andersen-Bruce continued to travel to doll collectors’ homes, museums and historical societies in search of the perfect American dolls to appear on the stamps. She was referred to a nearby doll club and attended a meeting in Stamford, Connecticut, where members brought potential doll stamp candidates. A member mentioned to AndersenBruce that she should contact Nancy Smith, a Massachusetts collector/dealer, who specialized in early American dolls. Smith approved all the dolls on Andersen-Bruce’s list and added a few suggestions. Smith contacted other doll collectors to submit photographs of dolls that had been
The Columbian Doll
determined to be the “classic” American dolls. These new photos, along with the Polaroids Andersen-Bruce had taken on her excursions along the East Coast, were submitted to Noyes, and Noyes chose those dolls she felt best fit into her stamp design. The list was sent to Smith, who sent it to Clendenin and two other knowledgeable doll collectors. The second photo shoot was held at Andersen-Bruce’s studio in New Milford. Smith and her husband, Dick,
gathered numerous dolls from Smith’s collection and from other collectors (Susanne Abbott, Carol Corson, Pat Dorbandt, Gilda Dreher, Dee and Wally Domroe) and transported them to the studio. Noyes and Andersen-Bruce began to pose the dolls in groupings. As they did so Noyes realized that making each quadrant a successful stamp when separated from the whole was going to be too difficult. A decision was made therefore to opt for a sheet of 15 to 20 single doll stamps instead, and as a result, Noyes thought portrait shots of the dolls versus full-length photos would work better. The photo shoot took two days. Noyes returned to her design studio in Washington, D.C., to prepare the final design of the stamps. Many different variables beyond the photographs go into a stamp design.
Albert Schoenhut Girl
For example the typography is very important. Originally, the names of each doll were to be printed on the stamps, but in practice, Noyes found the design too cluttered. A lace border around each photo was also tried, but the design was difficult to print and appeared too “busy.” The size of the Classic American Dolls stamp sheet was different from other stamp sheets at the time. It was almost square with quite a bit of white space for the title at the top The Museums of Washington D.C. z 89
Albert Schoenhut Boy
of the sheet. The white space was left on purpose as part of the design. The dolls’ identifications, including doll makers, designers, trade names and common names, were printed along the bottom of the sheet. Settling upon a final design, Noyes presented the stamps to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, and this time the stamps were approved. Carol Corson, Evelyn Jane Coleman and Dorothy S. Coleman contributed to the factual information about the dolls on the stamps, as well as on the hobby of doll collecting. Their information was used for the July 7, 1997, release “Dolled Up Postage Stamps Commemorate Precious Collectibles,” in the U.S. Postal Service’s Postal News, as well as for other related published materials. In conjunction with the issuance of the Classic American Dolls stamps a number of manufacturers (including Lee Middleton, Applause, Effanbee, and Madame Alexander) introduced replicas of the dolls Johnny Gruelle’s Raggedy Ann 90 y The Museums of Washington D.C.
depicted on the stamps as well as related products such as tea sets with images of the stamps by Designer’s Guild™. It took almost ten years and more than 67,000 signatures on petitions across the country to bring the Classic American Dolls stamps to fruition. As planned, the First Day of Issue took place in Anaheim, California, on July 28, 1997, at the opening ceremony of the United Federation of Doll Clubs’ Annual Meeting. The event was attended by 2,000 stamp and doll collectors. The stamps were dedicated by The Honorable LeGree S. Daniels, Board of Governors, USPS. Honored guests were then president of the UFDC Patricia Gosh, and past-president John Clendenin, who was presented with a large poster-sized rendering of the Classic American Dolls stamp sheet. The framed poster hangs today in the UFDC Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, a lasting tribute to one man’s vision.
Percy Crosby’s Skippy
Doll Talk THESTORY
VELVALEE DICKINSON World War II SPY OF
By Denise Buese
The J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C., is the headquarters of the FBI. Purportedly, FBI tours began in the mid-1930s after a group of curious Boy Scouts requested one. Since 1937, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has conducted organized tours to the public. The International Spy Museum, also in Washington D.C., is the only public museum in the United States solely dedicated to espionage. Velvalee Dickinson, The Doll Lady: http://www.fbi.gov/libref/historic/ famcases/ dickinson/dickinson.htm
elvalee Dickinson V seemed to have it all. She was a prodigious doll
collector, a well-respected authority on dolls, a renowned doll dealer, owner of a high quality doll shop with a prestigious address, and an early member of two of America’s first doll clubs. Why then did she become a notorious World War II spy? She was a nondescript woman, small and birdlike, mediocre in accomplishments, but just the sort of person the Japanese government could use to their advantage without being obvious. Velvalee, for reasons unknown, thought it a good idea to provide an enemy of the United States with information that would be detrimental to her own country, and beneficial to theirs. During this time, the JapaneseAmericans living in the United States were gathered up and interned to concentration camps within our own borders. Whole families were displaced, leaving homes, friends, and belongings, behind because it was feared that there may be enemies working from within our own country. Did Velvalee see photos and newsreels depicting the
plight of fellow Americans? Did she think of the irony of her own situation, that as a middleclass, Caucasian woman she would prove to be more dangerous than any JapaneseAmerican ever was? Velvalee Malvena Blucher was born in Sacramento, California, on A small report of Dickinson’s crime along with an early studio photo appeared in Front Page Detective, April 1944. October 12, 1893, to wellto-do parents Otto Blucher of West Virginia and Elizabeth Bottoms of Kentucky, both of German descent. Petite and barely five feet tall, she graduated from Sacramento High School in June, 1911, and from a private seminary in Berkeley two years later. In 1917 Velvalee had earned enough credits to qualify for a bachelor of arts degree, but The Museums of Washington D.C. z 91
did not formally receive her diploma until 1937. It’s thought that the reason for the delay was because she had not returned books belonging to the University. Velvalee found employment as a file clerk in a San Francisco bank and two years later, became a bookkeeper with a brokerage firm in the same city. The firm handled many Japanese accounts, especially in produce brokerage, and here she met her purported third husband, Lee T. Dickinson, who was the owner. In the early 1930s Lee Dickinson extended his business to the Imperial Valley where many Japanese farmers had settled, and both he and his wife became well known to Japanese consular and military attachés on the West Coast. An internment camp detainee holds her doll for comfort. Perhaps at first for business reasons, the Dickinsons became members of the Japanese-American Society and were frequent attendees at the group’s social functions and events. The The window of Velvalee’s doll shop at 718 Madison Avenue Japanese-American Society was entrenched with visiting members of the Japanese military and government, and Velvalee hosted numerous soirees for was neatly decorated with dolls and toys. them in her home. The Dickinsons were so popular with the Japanese colony that, when they were dropped from the Society for non-payment of dues, they were reinstated thanks to a benefactor from the Japanese consulate, attaché Kaoru Nakashima. The Dickinsons’ popularity with Japanese customers didn’t save Lee’s brokerage company in 1935; in fact, it may have contributed to its downfall. Friendliness with the Japanese community was carrying increased stigma, which made it difficult for Lee to work with his Japanese customers. In 1937 the couple borrowed $100, relocated to New York City and settled in an apartment near Washington Square. By the end of the year, Velvalee had accepted a position as a doll saleswoman at Bloomingdale’s Department Store at a salary of $18 a week. Her interest in dolls had begun a year earlier when a friend brought her a pair of native dolls from the Philippines, and when other friends also brought her dolls, her interest grew. Around this time Velvalee joined two of the first clubs concerning doll collecting, Boston-based Doll Collectors of America, formed in 1935, and the National Doll and Toy The pattern for this life-size cloth doll named Merrie Marie Collectors of New York (founded in 1937), the parent organization of the was offered by Velvalee for $1.00. 92 y The Museums of Washington D.C.
ponderous subtitle, A Monthly Discourse on the Fine Arts for the Contemplative Man’s Recreation. Velvalee advertised in newspapers, antiques and collectors magazines and in “Doll News,” the official newsletter of the National Doll and Toy Collectors of New York. Her clientele included movie and Broadway stars, assorted social celebrities, as well as affluent men and women of the carriage trade. Letters were written coast-to-coast to customers on customized blue stationery embellished with scarlet letterhead advertising her business in “Dolls – Antique – Foreign – Regional – Playthings.”
A letter hand written by Velvalee to a customer, Miss Hooper. Velvalee is all business until she inserts a bit of personal news in a postscript.
United Federation of Doll Clubs. (In September 1944, National Doll Club insisted that club members be “a true, 100% American,” and in October they dropped Velvalee from their membership roster.) Not content with taking orders from others, on April 28, 1938, Velvalee opened her own doll shop at 714 Madison Avenue. (She later moved to 718 Madison Avenue.) A wellappointed and international clientele soon developed as Velvalee offered dolls ranging from Queen Annes to tourist dolls from around the world. Velvalee was aggressive in the advertising of her business, and numerous newspaper and magazine articles were written about her, her dolls, and her shop. She wrote several articles for the Compleat Collector, a specialized journal for antique collectors, which boasted the
This typed letter to a Miss Clay of West Virginia is Velvalee’s reply to a query about dolls for sale, and Velvalee goes on to notify the collector of the dolls she had for sale from the Jopp collection. The letter was evidently dictated by Velvalee and typed and signed for her by her brother, Oswald Blucher.
The Museums of Washington D.C. z 93
Relentless in pursuit of rare and special dolls for her wealthier customers, Velvalee also worked hard to procure dolls at lower price points. In 1940 for example, her shop advertised 7-inch cloth dolls from Palestine at $5 for a group of three; Japanese ichimatsu dolls from 10-14 inches at $10 - $18; Chad Valley royal children dolls, 15 to 18 inches for $10 to $15; and a preprinted cloth doll pattern for $1. What was Velvalee, the well-regarded doll authority like as a person? Some of her customers remembered her as grasping, but also as a dealer who sold no junk. In her shop she was cantankerous to stray customers and arrogant to private secretaries on the telephone, but pleasant
Velvalee advertised in the National Doll & Toy Club of New York’s newsletter, Doll News.
A respected authority on dolls, Dickinson wrote this article in the Jan.-Feb., 1941 issue of The Compleat Collector: A Monthly Discourse on the Fine Arts for the Contemplative Man’s Recreation.
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to the faces of rich collectors if a big sale seemed imminent. Neighbors remembered her drab, brown clothes and shrill, strident voice. A New England collector recalled that he didn’t trust her. When he delivered his collection to Velvalee to be sold, he took a policeman with him just to make sure that he would be paid in full. Once again, the Dickinsons enjoyed the company of Japanese nationals, among them Kaname Wakasugi, the Japanese consul general, and Ichira Yokoyama, the naval attaché at the embassy in Washington. They were elected to membership in the Japanese Institute of New York and frequently visited the Nippon Club. Diminutive in stature and weighing around 100 pounds, Velvalee was often seen dressed in traditional Japanese attire, including headgear and footwear, thereby showing her growing affinity for all things involved with Japanese culture. Eleven days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese naval officer engaged in espionage came to see Velvalee at her Madison Avenue shop and gave her $25,000.
Velvalee’s 1939 Christmas card featured a sweet drawing of early dolls arrayed on a sofa.
The St. Louis, Sunday Morning Newspaper in 1944 reported that the naval officer admitted to Velvalee that he might not be able to see her again. When she insisted that surely they would see each other, perhaps in Honolulu, the officer replied, “No, no. Not Honolulu.” After the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, Velvalee’s circle of friends naturally shrank dramatically. Japanese diplomatic staffs were sent home, and sympathizers were placed under surveillance. During the first half of 1942, the Dickinsons traveled to Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland and Portland, Oregon. Travel at this time was expensive, and the couple was known to have paid bills and debts with $100 bills. Eventually, peculiar letters were brought to the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Each had been addressed to Señora Inez Lopez de Molinali, 2563 O’Higgins Street, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and each had been sent back to the return
address on the envelope because Señora de Molinali could not be found at the O’Higgins Street address. In February 1942, Mary Wallace of Springfield, Ohio, was baffled by a letter returned to her which she had clearly not written. The letter was addressed to a Señora de Molinali and signed with a facsimile of Mary’s own signature. It rambled on about dolls and alluded to a nephew who was ill. Mary did have a nephew who had a brain ailment, but had no idea what the letter really meant. Suspicious, she turned the letter over to the FBI. Soon more letters were returned to women in Portland, Spokane, and Colorado Springs with references to dolls, copies of their signatures, and laced with facts about their personal lives. The women knew nothing about the letters and had not sent them. Wartime censors had intercepted one letter postmarked Portland, puzzled over its strange contents, and referred it to cryptographers at the FBI laboratory. The woman from Seattle turned the crucial second letter over to the FBI also, and in short order, the agency turned up the other three. Proof of Velvalee’s avarice and seditiousness could be found in the coded letters sent to her contact in Argentina. The letter sent to Mary Wallace made reference to a Mr. Shaw who had been ill but would be back soon and was written a short time after it became known that the
An example of Velvalee’s prolific advertising is shown in Antiques magazine, December 1940.
The Museums of Washington D.C. z 95
Destroyer Shaw, injured at Pearl Harbor, was being repaired complained to a neighbor that she was now all alone in the in a West Coast shipyard and would soon rejoin the fleet. world and that she missed him, at home and in the business. The letter sent to the FBI by the doll collector in Velvalee still had one family member left, however, and that Colorado Springs referred to “seven real Chinese dolls.” was her younger brother, Oswald, who had come to live The FBI learned that several warships had come into San with the Dickinsons in 1942. He had worked for Western Francisco Bay for repairs and that certain details about these Electric in Brooklyn, had been a labor analyst in San ships, if known to the enemy, would Francisco, and had worked have been of great value to them. for the Labor Relations The woman in Portland, Oregon, Board in Washington. To submitted to the FBI the letter some extent, Oswald helped purportedly written by her and in the running of his sister’s which was returned to her by the doll business. Post Office in August, 1942. It spoke of a damaged Siamese Temple Dancer, which FBI cryptographers interpreted as information about an aircraft carrier warship. The letter carrying a Spokane postmark referred to a “German bisque doll” dressed in a hula skirt reported to be in Seattle for repairs. This referred to a warship that had been damaged at Pearl Harbor and that was in Puget Sound Navy Yard for repairs at the time the letter was written. The FBI laboratory confirmed that all five letters were forgeries and that each of the women involved had one thing in common: all had had business dealings with doll dealer Velvalee Dickinson and had The brochure for Velvalee’s doll shop was printed on her signature blue paper corresponded with her. At least two with scarlet accents, and boasts “we have dolls from nearly every country in of the four women claimed that the world and state in the United States.” they had had differences with the doll dealer over prices or something pertaining to their The FBI investigated the order. Had she decided to use these women’s names in her Dickinsons, learning of their nefarious dealings out of spite? travels to the West Coast, This eighteenth century wooden doll is Meanwhile, Lee Dickinson, who had suffered from of their affiliations with indicative of the high quality of the dolls chronic cardiac disease, died in March 1943. Velvalee Japanese organizations, and Velvalee offered from her shop. 96 y The Museums of Washington D.C.
In this bit of shop promotion Velvalee had the nerve to lecture to her customers that the war was causing hardships and she was having a hard time procuring dolls from overseas. In 1943 Velvalee remarked to a neighbor that she wished the war were over because it interfered with her lucratively importing her foreign costume dolls.
the fact that four of the $100 bills known to have been in Velvalee’s possession in 1943 were traced to Japanese official sources, which had received the money before the war. Not only was Velvalee watched by the FBI, but anyone associated with her in business dealings was also watched for months and “followed everywhere.” On January 21, 1944, two FBI agents followed a mousy, middle-aged Velvalee into the safety deposit vault of a New York bank. Wearing a blue hat and plain brown coat, the surprised doll dealer made a spectacle of herself “fighting bitterly” against the agents, kicking scratching and smashing them with her pocketbook. When they were finally able to handcuff her, they found $15,940 in cash in her deposit box, $10,000 of which was in $100 Federal Reserve notes. Many of them were subsequently traced to the Japanese consulate prior to the Pearl Harbor attack. Incredibly, when asked
In February, 1940, Velvalee bought the Charles Jopp doll collection and an article in The Christian Science Monitor, Boston in March 4, 1940 publicized that the dolls were for sale.
Velvalee Dickinson’s mugshot, January 21, 1944. She was fifty years old.
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An excerpt from the letter to Señora de Molinali which was forged with Mary Wallace’s name. Note the reference to Mr. Shaw, code for the U.S. Destroyer Shaw.
why she hadn’t placed some of her funds in U.S. War Bonds, she declared that she didn’t know how to buy them. To add insult to injury, but in the spirit of the ultimate payoff, the Internal Revenue Service swooped down and charged her for not paying income tax on the almost $16,000. Velvalee couldn’t raise the $25,000 bond and remained in jail pending her trial on charges of espionage and of violating the censorship laws. If found guilty on the former charge, Velvalee faced the death penalty and could become the first woman to be executed in the United States as a spy. (Ethel Rosenberg, along with her husband, Julius, was convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage during a time of war when they passed information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. She was executed in 1953.) She pleaded not guilty. Velvalee told the arresting agents that the money in the safety deposit box had come from insurance companies, a savings account, and her doll business. She later stated that the money had actually come from her husband and that she had discovered it hidden under his bed at the time of his death. Oswald Blucher visited Velvalee in jail, but was not allowed physical contact with his sister. The United States Attorney James B. McNally declared, “She is a woman who sold her country to the Japanese for money. What she did was unspeakably foul…borders on treason!” He noted that she had finally been betrayed by 98 y The Museums of Washington D.C.
her own dolls, dolls which in effect had “talked.” She was, as well, betrayed by her beloved Japanese contacts, who had switched agents in Buenos Aires without telling her. On July 28, 1944, Velvalee copped a plea, and the espionage charges were dropped. She pleaded guilty of the censorship violation and promised to supply information in her possession concerning Japanese intelligence activities. Velvalee admitted to FBI agents that she had typed the five incriminating letters addressed to Señora de Molinali in Argentina, and that she had used correspondence from her doll business customers to forge their signatures. She continued to maintain her innocence to espionage and contend that it was her deceased husband, and not she, who was the traitor to her country. But the FBI found that, although Velvalee had known the Japanese Naval Attaché well, Lee hadn’t known him at all. It was also learned that Lee’s mental faculties, at the time of the supposed payment to him, were impaired. Additionally, both the nurse and the maid employed by the Dickinsons at the time stated emphatically that there was no money concealed under Lee’s bed.
An excerpt from the letter referring to a Siamese Temple Dancer, which was postmarked from Portland, Oregon, and referred to an aircraft carrier warship.
On August 14, 1944, Judge Shackelford Miller Jr. sentenced Velvalee to the maximum of ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Judge Miller declared, “It’s hard to believe that some people do not realize that our country
On April 23, 1951, Velvalee was mandatorily paroled and returned to her former address on West 11th Street, in New York. She reported to her probation officer until February 13, 1954, at which time the erstwhile spy and doll dealer had seemingly paid her debt to society and disappeared into obscurity. It is significant to note that, for all the fears about Japanese espionage in the United States during World War II–the paranoia that caused the creation of JapaneseAmerican internment camps across the country– only one person was known to have passed military information to the Japanese government after Pearl Harbor, and that was Velvalee Dickinson.
Velvalee made headlines when she was found guilty for violation of censorship laws although she was commonly seen as a treasonous spy, as evidenced by this copy of the St. Louis, Sunday Morning, September 3, 1944.
is engaged in a life and death struggle. Any help given to the enemy means the death of American Boys who are fighting for our national security. You, as a natural-born citizen, having a University education, and selling out to the Japanese, were certainly engaged in espionage. I think that you have been given every consideration by the government. The indictment of which you have pleaded guilty is a serious matter. It borders close to treason. I, therefore, sentence you to the maximum penalty provided by the law, which is ten years and $10,000 fine.” Velvalee was sent to the Reformatory for Women, in Alderson, West Virginia, now known as Alderson Federal Prison Camp, a federal prison for minimum-security female inmates. Sometimes referred to as “Camp Cupcake,” Alderson was established by Eleanor Roosevelt and is located about 270 miles from Washington, D.C. If this institution sounds familiar, this is the facility that has, in recent years, housed Martha Stewart, as well as other notable inmates such as Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, Billie Holiday, and one of the women known as Tokyo Rose.
Velvalee’s dramatic story was fodder for newspaper detective stories.
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Americans couldn’t get enough of the story of the “Doll Woman” spy, and a large article appeared in The American Weekly, March 19, 1944, two months after Velvalee’s arrest in the bank vault. People were fascinated by the “Doll Woman” spy, and imagined that the dolls turned on Velvalee and were her ultimate downfall.
The only clue to the whereabouts of the doll world’s most infamous member was the sighting, from time to time, of a bent, white-haired, sparrow-like old woman, sometimes clad in Japanese clothing and sipping tea alone in a Japanese tearoom in Washington Square. It is believed that Velvalee Dickinson died sometime in 1961.
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Elizebeth Smith Friedman
AMERICA’S FIRST FEMALE CRYPTANALYST
orn in Huntington, Indiana, in 1892 to John M. Smith, a Quaker dairyman, banker, and politician, and Sophia Strock Smith, Elizebeth was the youngest of nine children. After briefly attending The College of Wooster in Ohio, Elizebeth graduated from Hillsdale College in Michigan with a major in English literature. She also studied Latin, Greek, and German and minored “in a great many other things.” Elizebeth worked as a high school principal for at least a year before employment at Riverbank Laboratories, a think tank located in Geneva, Illinois, and the only cryptologic laboratory in the country, solving messages that government agencies sent from Washington, D.C. It was here that she met her husband, William F. Friedman, the man who revolutionized the science of cryptology, a word he coined. In 1921 the Friedmans moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the War Department. In 1923 Elizebeth worked as a cryptanalyst for the United States Navy, which led to positions with the United States Treasury Department’s Bureau of Prohibition and the Bureau of Customs. “Our office doesn’t make ‘em, we only break ‘em,” she once stated, and “break ‘em” she did many times over for many years against many targets. Astonishingly, she did it without the aid of calculators or computers and with only a basic background in mathematics. Her successes led to the conviction of many violators of the Volstead Act during Prohibition years. Elizebeth’s work led her to cross paths with one of espionage’s most notorious spies, “Doll Woman” Velvalee Dickinson. Velvalee’s encoded correspondence with Japanese agents was analyzed and solved by Elizebeth, which resulted in a guilty verdict against the doll dealer. This wasn’t the hardest code Elizebeth had ever cracked, however. For example, “new dolls” were new warships, “fisherman with a net” referred to aircraft carriers with anti-torpedo nets,
By Denise Buese
“little boy” meant destroyer and the “old woman with wood” referred to a renovated battleship. Following William’s death in 1969, Elizebeth devoted much of her retirement to the compilation of a library and bibliography of his work. America’s first female cryptanalyst died on October 31, 1980, in Plainfield, New Jersey at the age of 88. The Friedmans were buried side-by-side at Arlington National Cemetery and have the phrase “Knowledge is Power” engraved on their shared tombstone. The Museums of Washington D.C. z 101
WOODEN SIDEKICK By Julie Blewis The National Museum of American History opened in 1964. Known then as the Museum of History and Technology, it was the sixth Smithsonian building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. From Dorothy’s red shoes in MGM’s “Wizard of Oz” to Julia Child’s kitchen; from Jim Henson’s Kermit the Frog to Edgar Bergen’s Charlie McCarthy, the museum holds the greatest single collection of American history.
harlie McCarthy came to life over ninety years ago in C Decatur, Michigan, out of a large block of basswood. Nobody could have foreseen at the time that the most
famous ventriloquist dummy to ever speak a word was about to be born. Certainly not the young Edgar John Berggren (later changed to the simpler Bergen for show business), who commissioned the carving as just a teenage boy. The price of Charlie’s head was a staggering $35, certainly a small fortune to a young boy, but what an investment it turned out to be. There is some dispute as to the carver who should be credited with creating Charlie’s head, but it appears the carver was an apprentice named Frank Marshall, working in a shop owned by Theodore Mack. When Edgar, a Lake View high school student, came into the shop, he worked with Mack on the design, and Marshall did the actual chiseling. This explains why reports are found in which each man is individually credited with Charlie’s creation, when it was most likely a collaborative effort by both men. The story is that a newspaper boy with 102 y The Museums of Washington D.C.
15-inch Effanbee Charlie McCarthy, circa 1940, wearing brown suit with overcoat and beret
Irish roots was the inspiration for the carved features, so it goes without saying that this newspaper boy was exceptionally handsome and debonair. Edgar and his new friend Charlie began to appear at small parties, one night engagements and other less than glamorous arenas. Legend has it that Charlie, originally dressed as the common street urchin that he was modeled after, and Edgar Bergen were hardly a runaway success until Bergen started having Charlie throw insults at his hapless straight man partner. This turned out to be a winning
formula that propelled the duo into fame and fortune. Charlie traded his common threads for the now famous tuxedo, top hat and monocle and was able to “say” wisecracking remarks as a ventriloquist dummy that Edgar Bergen would never utter in his own persona. A wooden dummy could fire off witty insults and flirt with all the ladies yet still be loveable and funny. Charlie’s screen career began even before his radio stint, in low budget onereel movies put out by Edgar Bergen’s Charlie McCarthy as he appears in the Vitaphone, a division National Museum of American History – Smithsonian December 1993 of Warner Brothers expressly for the making of very short productions. His first appearance was in The Operator, a ten-minute Vitaphone film, followed by others of similar length and budget. It was not until 1936 when the duo were discovered by Rudy Vallee that the radio career began with the highly rated Chase and Sanborn Hour. Not surprisingly, “Charlie” later demanded that the name be changed to the far more catchy title The Charlie McCarthy Show. One cannot help but wonder how the idea of a ventriloquist on radio could have possibly been pitched as a winning notion, but not only did it get done but it was also a huge success. Certainly there was no concern whether Edgar Bergen moved his lips. Even more shocking, a number of listeners thought Charlie was a real person. The first feature film appearance was in the 1938 movie The Goldwyn Follies; many more appearances followed in
which he shared the spotlight with stars like WC Fields and Lucille Ball. Of course Charlie was not the only dummy in Edgar’s life; there was also Mortimer Snerd and Effie Klinker. The now extended family of man and dummies moved into the television genre as well. The very last film role by Charlie was a memorable cameo appearance in The Muppet Movie, released in 1979. It should be noted that Charlie’s immediate family also included one human sister now famous in her own right, Candice Bergen. Growing up, as the “sister” of the wisecracking and popular Charlie McCarthy certainly
15-inch Effanbee Charlie McCarthy, circa 1940, wearing white summer suit
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presented its challenges for Candice. For one thing, she had to contend with being introduced as Charlie’s little sister, and even having a smaller bedroom than her wooden brother. Charlie’s personal domain in the home included his own desk next to Edgar’s in “their” office. I guess they needed to consult on their upcoming comic routines. In a much later televised interview, Candice Bergen did confess to harboring some resentment toward Charlie growing up and felt he got the greater share of her famous dad’s attention. It certainly had to be a very entertaining childhood. Charlie and Edgar’s last show business appearance was a highly successful comeback in Las Vegas following
Charlie McCarthy doll dressed as Confucius
the taping of the cameo in The Muppet Movie. Tragically, this was cut short by Edgar’s fatal heart attack at the age of 75 on September 30, 1978. Many have noted that Charlie has refused to utter a single word after losing his best friend and mentor. Where does Charlie silently reside today? Three wooden versions of Charlie had been made. I suspect it is the original one that resides in the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of American History. That Charlie is not always available for viewing because the museum rotates its 104 y The Museums of Washington D.C.
20-inch Effanbee Charlie McCarthy, circa 1935, wearing top hat and tails
collection, and Charlie has even been spotted there sans top hat. Another Charlie is on more permanent display at The Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. At that location, he is permanently ensconced in the new National Radio Hall of Fame Gallery where he sits between Mortimer Snerd on his right and Effie Klinker on his left. The third Charlie still lives with his sister, Candice, so one imagines that she came to terms a long time ago with her famous sibling and has learned to share the spotlight.
In addition to these three Charlies, other copies, never used by Edgar, were made as stand-ins for publicity photos. Those Charlies can be seen at the Las Vegas Movie & Magic Hall of Fame, the
Ventriloquist Haven Museum, and in the private collection of David Copperfield. An 18-inch one-of-a-kind handcarved prototype was also made as the model for the highly successful Effanbee doll. The Charlie doll prototype has an old hand-typed note written by famed doll collector Billie Nelson Tyrrell that states, “one-of-a-kind, handmade by Edgar Bergan (sic) for the Effanbee doll company as a sample. It was from this doll that they designed the one that was on the market. In Edgar Bergen’s personal collection until 1975 when he gave it to its present owner. Personally autographed on the back of the head.” The autograph reads “To Billie from Edgar Bergen. ” Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen provided countless hours of entertainment for their legion of fans over the years and, in doing so, forever elevated the art of ventriloquism. Dolls from the collections of Julie Blewis and Laurie McGill
18-inch one-of-a-kind carved wooden prototype Charlie McCarthy made by Edgar Bergen for the Effanbee Doll Company to use in manufacturing its composition line of McCarthy dolls
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The DOLLPAINTINGS OF the Index OF AMERICANDesign
By Laurie W. McGill with Betty Nett, Doll Curator – Wenham Museum
he Index of American Design is a collection of nearly 18,000 watercolor renderings depicting traditional American arts and crafts. The renderings are of weather vanes, quilts, toys, tavern signs, figureheads, stoneware and many other pieces of Americana. Most of the items were made by anonymous crafts persons from the early years of European settlement in America to around 1900. The Index of American Design was one of several Fine Arts Divisions in the Federal Art Project (FAP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The first steps leading to its creation began when the head of the New York Public Library’s Picture Collection and a New York textile designer and artist developed the idea for a project to create a broad visual record of traditional American design. A pilot Index of the American Design project began in New York City. The Index was 106 y The Museums of Washington D.C.
The National Gallery of Art, located on the National Mall, was conceived and given to the people of the United States by Andrew W. Mellon, a financier and art collector from Pittsburgh who came to Washington in 1921. In 1936 Mellon wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt offering to donate his art collection for a new museum and to use his own funds to construct a building for its use. With the president’s support, Congress accepted Mellon’s gift and established the National Gallery of Art in March 1937.
Rendered by Carmel Wilson (artist), c. 1939 watercolor and graphite on paper overall: 35.6 x 27.8 cm (14 x 10 15/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 15” high Index of American Design 1943.8.16660
organized as a nationwide project in December 1935. A number of the Index’s renderings are of dolls and several can be seen on the Index of American Design’s website: http://www.nga.gov/ collection/gallery/iad.htm. Artists traveled to museums, to private collections, or to antique shops to find their subjects. One artist, Jane Iverson of Beverly, Massachusetts, completed close to 40 paintings for the Index. Several of these were of dolls. Iverson painted dolls in the collection of Wenham Museum in Wenham, Massachusetts, as well as dolls in the collection of Essex Institute in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1992 Iverson contacted then Doll Curator Diane Buck at Wenham Museum upon seeing a newspaper article about a doll exhibit the museum was presenting. In part her letter stated:
I read with great interest the article in the September 17 North Shore newspaper about the new doll exhibit. It evoked some nostalgic memories of the short period during the 1930s when I did watercolor paintings of the dolls that comprised the small collection in the Richard Claflin House. My connection came about because of the WPA attempt to put people back to work to recover from the Depression. Here in Massachusetts one section of the WPA was developed to help artists, poets, writers, photographers, actors, etc. The branch which I became associated with was known as the Index of American Design. It had been developed at New York City and the concept spread to other states. The idea was to record native crafts, skills, etc. In 1934 I was trying to become a professional portrait painter with a studio in Hamilton Hall, Salem. It was meager going. I could not command big prices for my portraits, being quite unknown as an artist, so when I was approached by a Mr. Smith, and his secretary Miss Brown, from Boston as to whether I would like to be on the payroll of the Index of American Design, I was all too glad to do so and earned $21 a week doing whatever was decided I should do. My first assignments were in the Essex Institute doing watercolor plates of Samuel McIntyre’s famous wooden panels. There was a certain technique to learn and do, and I went on to do dolls in Essex Institute. From there it was decided to have me go to Wenham and do the dolls there. Why painting? Well, photography color was not so good and details could not be well rendered, but an artist could bring out a better description so I began to go back and forth from Beverly to Wenham. I found the dolls in a small closet-like room in a large cabinet. Now I didn’t know anything really about dolls. I never had any as a child, but I was soon fascinated with them. There was a small electric light bulb to help me [decide] what I should do for interesting plates, and I had no information to help me decide as to what doll was really unique or unusual or worth depicting. But I selected, and in the bitter cold of the next spring, I made 14 plates in all. Then the project was abandoned. When it was decided to abandon the dolls and I went to Boston to work there on other material, I was given as a souvenir eleven plates – photographs (black and white) of the dolls that were there in the Richard Claflin House in 1937. Now I am curious to know whether any of these have survived and are still in the collection.
“A lovely all-stuffed cloth doll, beautifully made, sewn details. She was a very special creation. Rag doll, 1898.” - Iverson (Doll made by Roxanna Cole) Wenham Museum Collection, Wenham, Massachusetts
Doll Rendered by Jane Iverson (artist), c. 1936 watercolor and graphite on paper overall: 53.9 x 41 cm (21 1/4 x 16 1/8 in.) Index of American Design 1943.8.15542 Here is a handmade cloth doll representing a grandmother knitting a red wool sock. The doll was made by a southern gentlewoman who supported herself after the Civil War by making fine cloth dolls. This was the one-thousandth doll made by this woman.
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“Apache Dolls. Very colorful, different color banded skirts and Indian-type jewelry.” - Iverson Wenham Museum Collection, Wenham, Massachusetts
Here Iverson listed eleven dolls or figures with brief descriptions. Wenham Museum still has several of the dolls on Iverson’s list, which include (in Iverson’s words): • A lovely all-stuffed cloth doll, beautifully made, sewn details. She was a very special creation. Rag doll, 1898. • Apache Dolls. Very colorful, different color banded skirts and Indian-type jewelry. • Two Cree Indian Dolls. Male and female in white doeskin. Fringed moccasins, wooden carved heads. Feather headdress. These when I saw them were quite new looking and exquisitely white which contrasted with rich dark brown heads - splendid. I hope they survived, but no doubt not in the same condition.
Her letter continued: But I write because I nostalgically would like to know if any of the dolls I painted survived…I would appreciate it to round out my memories. Signed: Mary Jane Hemenway (married name) (Jane Iverson 1936-1939)
Then Iverson added a postscript: Dolls (Apache Women) Rendered by Jane Iverson (artist), 1935/1942 watercolor and graphite on paper overall: 40.3 x 39.4 cm (15 7/8 x 15 1/2 in.) Original IAD Object: 11 3/4” high Index of American Design 1943.8.15544 Hundreds of dolls made by American Indians have survived in public and private collections. These two Apache women in voluminous, bright cotton dresses were made in Arizona around 1900. They were passed along from Anna Kittare of San Carlos, Arizona, the original owner, until they found a permanent home in Massachusetts at the Wenham Historical Society. The dolls have cloth bodies and yarn hair.
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You might wonder what was done with the original paintings. They are part of the Archives in Washington and available for research. [At the time] the dolls were a very minor item considering the next decades where it became very important to save the [Richard Claflin] House for historical purposes and all money [was] needed for that. I have no idea of when it became necessary to take care of growing [the] doll collection into the splendid museum it is now…. But I like to think I had been there in the very beginning.
With this Iverson closed her letter. When she wrote the letter to Wenham Museum in 1992, Iverson was 82 years old and almost totally blind. Iverson passed away in 1997. Her obituary did not mention her years as an artist for the WPA. It merely stated “She was a graduate of Beverly High School and the School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Mrs. Hemenway was a well-known portrait artist on the North Shore and for many years had an art studio at Hamilton Hall in Salem.” Yet Jane Iverson also left behind a lasting legacy through her Index of American Design renderings. These renderings, as well as all the renderings in the Index, are in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Cree Indian Dolls Rendered by Jane Iverson (artist), c. 1936 watercolor and graphite on paper overall: 38.3 x 46.4 cm (15 1/16 x 18 1/4 in.) Original IAD Object: 10 3/4” high Index of American Design 1943.8.15529 “Two Cree Indian Dolls. Male and female in white doeskin. Fringed moccasins, wooden carved heads. Feather headdress. These when I saw them were quite new looking and exquisitely white which contrasted with rich dark brown heads - splendid. I hope they survived, but no doubt not in the same condition.” - Iverson Wenham Museum Collection, Wenham, Massachusetts
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Dolls of the NATIONAL MUSEUM of the
The National Museum of the American Indian opened in 2004 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It is one of three facilities that house the Smithsonian Institution’s extensive Native American collections.
By Loretta Nardone
fter fifteen years of planning, A the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American
Indian (NMAI) opened on September 21, 2004, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Initially designed by Native American architect Douglas Cardinal, the building’s distinctive curvilinear form, evoking a wind-sculpted rock Thea Heye, George G. Heye and Harmon W. Hicks - MAI Heye Foundation, New York, 1918 formation, grew out of his early work and formed the basis for the overall design. The museum is dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. It is one of three facilities that house the Smithsonian Institution’s extensive Native American collections. The George Gustav Heye Center is a museum in New York City and the Cultural Resources Center, a research and collection facility, is located in Suitland, Maryland. George Gustav Heye was a renowned collector of Native American artifacts who acquired his first artifact, a Navajo deerskin shirt, in 1897 while working as a supervisor of railroad construction in Kingman, Arizona. Continuing to collect and research his finds, Heye eventually amassed the largest private collection of over one million Native American artifacts in the world. Initially, the collection was kept Small Spirits by Mary Jane Lenz, Clara Sue Kidwell; University of Washington Press, 2004 in Heye’s Madison Avenue apartment in New York City and later in a 110 y The Museums of Washington D.C.
Seminole Male, 1960s. Palmetto fiber, cloth, thread, 11 inches tall
rented room. In 1908, “The Heye Museum” was lending materials for exhibit at what later became the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia. In May 1916, ground was broken at 155th Street and Broadway for the Heye Foundation’s Museum of the American Indian. The museum opened to the public in 1922 and closed in 1994. Heye remained its director for 45 years from 1916 to 1956. In 1989 the collection was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution, and about a third of the collection was repatriated. The Smithsonian moved the remaining collection to its present New York City site, the Heye Center of the National Museum of the American Indian, in the former Custom House in lower Manhattan, adjacent to Battery Park. The National Museum of the American Indian’s extensive collection of dolls, toys and playthings is currently housed in the Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Maryland, and may be viewed by appointment only. The collection is also available for study on the NMAI’s website: http://nmai. si.edu/searchcollections/ Small Spirits, a book by NMAI retired curator Mary Jane Lenz, offers an in-depth study of Native American Cornhusk Pair (Iroquois), mid-twentieth century. Cornhusks, cloth, dolls from the museum’s leather, glass beads, 8.5 inches & 8 inches tall collection. It was written as a companion to the 1986 traveling exhibit of dolls from the museum. Her extensive knowledge and interest in dolls provided collectors and researchers with a wealth of information on the purpose and roles of these objects in Native culture. Lenz expanded and updated the book in 2004. Lenz based doll displays on the concept that “dolls are life in miniature--more than simple playthings but ways of teaching.” Dolls were usually made of perishable materials such as cornhusk, palmetto fiber, wood and leather. Seminole Pair, 1930s. Palmetto fiber, cloth, thread Some were beautifully Seminole woman using a sewing machine
beads: Mother & Child, 12 inches tall; Male, 9 inches tall
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Plains Girl (Sioux), early twentieth century. Buckskin, leather, glass beads, human hair, 6.5 inches tall
Plains Woman (Sioux) on Horseback, twentieth century. Buckskin, thread leather, glass beads, 10 inches tall
adorned with intricate beading or painting. Some might have real hair. The patterns of the adornments are distinctive to individual tribes, making identification of the craftsman also distinctive. The northeastern tribes of North America are best known for their cornhusk dolls. The Iroquois, in particular, are noted for their dolls that were originally used for ritual but by the nineteenth century were used by children as playthings. The cornhusk pair is typical Cheyenne Woman, twentieth century. Flannel, leather, wood, shell, horse of the style of dolls made hair, glass beads, feather, 12 inches tall 112 y The Museums of Washington D.C.
by the Seneca/Iroquois. The absence of a doll face is an indication that the doll was used in medicine rituals, but it is also true that the childâ€™s toy was faceless. One explanation is that the child owner was encouraged to use her imagination, while another explanation is that it taught children a moral lesson against being too vain about oneâ€™s appearance. The Seminoles of the southeastern section of America were noted for making dolls from palmetto fiber which was easily available in their Everglades home. The dolls were dressed in traditional Seminole patchwork clothing. By the 1880s, Seminole women began to use the hand-operated sewing machine
to assemble clothing with the intricately designed geometric patterns. Seminole dolls were marketed for the tourist trade since the early part of the twentieth century and are still being made today. Seminole male dolls are much harder to find as they are more difficult to make. The clothing on the man pictured represents the typical costume worn with a loose big-sleeved, blousy-type shirt to protect from the Everglade mosquitoes and provide Horn doll, 1990s. Reindeer antler, seal skin, calf skin, felt, coolness. The older 6 inches tall Seminole dolls were made in the early twentieth century and can be dated by the style and patterns of their clothing. The mother and child are especially interesting. The dolls of the Plains Indians wore clothing made from buckskin and leather. These dolls were often adorned with beads, ribbons, shells and cloth acquired in trade. Plains children played with dolls much like other children. The Kiowa woman represents what a woman would wear at a Chevak Style Eskimo Women by Rose Kanrilak, 1990s. Sealskin, caribou, Victory dance to honor the warriors returning from battle. fish skin, glass beads, cloth, 13 inches tall Her hair is human hair. reindeer or caribou antlers resemble these early artifacts. The art of doll making by Alaskan Eskimos has been Inspired by the unique figures of Eskimo (Chevak) doll practiced for centuries. Buried in frozen lands, figures artist Rosalie Paniyak, Rose Kanrilak also uses seal skin for carved from wood or ivory were discovered in the 1930s. These figurines represent the Okvik culture (300 BC). These the faces with appliquĂŠd nose, glass marble eyes and seed bead teeth. Her dolls are whimsical with a touch of the people once lived along the St. Lawrence Island, the Punuk macabre. They depict traditional everyday activities Islands and other northern locations. The dolls are thought The study of Native American dolls offers an insight to be childrenâ€™s playthings but may also have been used by into the lifestyles and beliefs of the first Americans. For the medicine men in their rituals. These figures were carved Native American a doll was not merely a plaything but also from walrus ivory. Their heads are larger than their bodies, held a significant role in ceremonial traditions and was used and they have no arms or legs. Horn dolls made from in trade as well. The Museums of Washington D.C. zâ€…113
I Never Saw ANOTHER
By Laurie W. McGill
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened in 1993. Located among the national monuments to freedom on the National Mall, the Museum promotes the importance of human dignity. It serves as a reminder of the fragility of freedom.
have a friend whom I call my I spotter. She is an antiques dealer and knows what appeals to
my quirky tastes. A few years ago she called to say that she had found a box of Holocaust dolls. “They were made by prisoners from their own clothes to pass the time,” she said. “They came from an immigrant who went back to buy wartime souvenirs following World War II.” Curious, I asked her to send me a photograph, and upon seeing it, I
Small cloth dolls with hand-inked features
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decided to purchase the group of dolls. Indeed, they were clearly Butterflies - by Margit Koretzova - deported to Terezin 1942 made by hand; most of them stuffed with straw. Indeed, they were clad in remnants of fabrics dating from the 1930s-1940s. And each had an endearing hand-inked face. Most of the dolls represented women or young girls with scarves securely tied beneath their chin lines. Some, though, were clowns – a sad contradiction. Most of the dolls were less than 5 inches in height, but some rose to 8 inches, and a few reached 12 inches. The 12-inch dolls had heads of composition. Wanting to learn more about the dolls, I went to the Dallas Holocaust Museum to ask their opinion. Coincidentally someone who had patronized the same estate sale had bought a few of the dolls and donated them to the museum, stating that he felt they belonged there. With no substantial provenance, though, the curator could not stand firm behind the fact that the dolls were fashioned in concentration camps during World War II. The museum did, however, accession the dolls into its permanent collection. Larger dolls with composition heads
A few years later, my spotter friend was in a nearby town searching for antiques for resale. There in a shop in this small Texas town was another group of the same type of dolls. The antiques shop owner had a sign above the basket of dolls: These dolls are from the warehouse estate sale of an old Dallas, Texas antique importer/collector who spent six months of each year in his home in Austria. During his time there, he traveled through the surrounding countries and regions and purchased antiques, collectibles and folk art which he brought back to the United States and sold to selected dealers
pencils, crayons, ink and paints. At night and in secret, they recorded their own impression of Terezin. A substantial amount of this work survived because it was hidden in walls, buried in the ground or smuggled out by sympathetic guards, which made this the largest surviving collection of art from the camps. The children of Terezin left a remarkable legacy of poetry and art as well. They were taught by teachers who defied camp rules to offer the children art therapy in the guise of art lessons. They organized poetry contests. In two and a half years, the children of Terezín created around five thousand drawings and collages. The title for the special exhibit at the Dallas Holocaust Museum came from a line in a poem written by Pavel Friedman who was deported to Terezin in 1942. For seven weeks I’ve lived in here, Penned up inside this ghetto. But I have found what I love here. The dandelions call to me And the white chestnut branches in the court. Only I never saw another butterfly
A toy butterfly - Dallas Holocaust Museum
Whatever the dolls’ true story may be, there is no doubt that they have a certain poignant appeal. Not long ago the Dallas Holocaust Museum held a special exhibition called “I Never Saw another Butterfly.” It was a touching tribute to the children of the camp called Terezin, which was located northwest of Prague, Czechoslovakia. Terezin was created by the Germans to contain renowned artists, film stars, composers, musicians and actors. They established a drafting studio in Terezin and put the artists to work creating propaganda. This gave the artists access to paper, canvas,
Dolls in Dallas Holocaust Museum
A postcard with a little girl playing with a doll similar to the Holocaust dolls
The walls of the special exhibit in the Dallas Holocaust Museum were covered with oversized black and white photographs of the small prisoners who resided in Terezin, some clutching their beloved dolls. In the corner of the exhibit was a glass case containing the dolls found in the estate sale of the antiques dealer and donated to the museum. A label read: These dolls are a selection from a collection consisting of twenty dolls donated…in 2008. Their dresses are made from scraps of repurposed fabrics, and their faces have been hand painted on. Each is a representation of the dolls played with by girls during the Holocaust. If only the dolls could tell us their story… “I live as long as I create.” - Motto of the artists in Terezín -
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Ashley’s Dolls & Antiquities Welcomes You To Convention 2013!
Billye Harris. 723 NC Hwy 61 South, Whitsett, NC 27377. (336)266.2608 AshleysDolls.com . AshleysDolls@gmail.com . Member UFDC, NADDA
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The United Federation of Doll Clubs Souvenir Journal