Here is a pair of dolls from the Nadelman Folk Art Collection
at the New York Historical Society
. The collection looks lovely ~ unfortunately these were the only images from it that I could find to share, but the site does have a lot of other wonderful ephemera to browse through.Anyway, these handmade dolls are a wonderful example of mid-1800s paper dolls made by loving hands: "Jessy" and "John". There is great quality in the details: the patterns on the woman's
apron and dress, the full milk pail, the tiny shoes, the ribbon on the hat, the curl in her hair. It's interesting that both dolls are in profile, facing in the same direction. They may have been copied from images in magazines or books (or at least modeled after such).
John, has a nice book in his hand, a subtle pattern on his trousers (very fashionable in the 50s), and you gotta love the carpet and the chair.
John appears to be from the 50s because of his clothing and hairstyle (Jessy is not as easy to place in time since her simple dress could easily be from a number of decades.). But John's sideburns, lack of a mustache, broad-skirted frock coat, and patterned light-colored trousers seem to set him solidly somewhere between 1845 and 1860. The finding aid dates one of these dolls are definitely from 1855 and the other as undated. I wouldn't be surprised if John was the dated doll or if they were made at roughly the same time.
As always, you can see a little more detail if you click on the images.
Today a doll that testifies to America's unending fascination with the foreign royals: a doll of the Czarina of Russia with a veil and traditional Russian costume. Also, the inclusion of a dressing screen described as a "piece of furniture" on the back of the doll (I didn't post the verso here). This is one of many dolls produced by McLaughlin's Coffee and was found on eBay. McLaughlin produced these dolls mostly around the turn of the century. Based on the costumes, this one was likely created in the early to mid-1890s.
I've been caught up in other things and neglecting this blog horrifically. Part of it was just my annoyance at all the spam (and thinking to move to another platform), but things have quieted down lately and I want to try to recommit some effort here!So you don't care about what rabbit hole I have been down, let's look at some cool pictures! Today I have a handful of auctioned dolls found while browsing Theriault's (a great site for pictures of these sorts of things!).
The first is an unusual set of "overlay" dolls (where a cutout image is placed on top of the figure in order to "dress" it). The description on this one reads, in part: "one illustrates the 'management of pale/dark complexion' by showing judicious use of proper costume colors, and the other, a full-figure model, with die-cut face, compares 'simplicity and ornament' in costume."
A fun an interesting reminder that many of these early paper dolls were not just considered playthings, but were ascribed an educational and practical value for women navigating a society full of very particular expectations. These are American and marked as being produced by Scofield & Voorhees.
By the styles, they were made in the early 1840s.
The second image is also unsual and one that I had never seen before: The Paper Doll Family (circa 1857).
This was apparently a set in which the family members were packaged and sold individually (I love the envelopes!). Also, notice that the clothes are designed in the style of having a "ghost" back to hold them in place (and are not two-sided as was typical of the fancier models of the era). The lack of a back made these cheaper and faster to produce. Unlike the overlays above, these were definitely playthings for children. The description on the site says: "Comprising the complete seven piece family set (Father, Mother, Miss Adelaide, Clara, George, The Baby, Bridget the Nurse), each in its own envelope along with complete uncut set of double-sided colored costumes, along with matching uncolored costumes designed for child play. Sizes vary, father is largest at 6.5". Also included is advertising flyer for The Family, and envelope wrap for "Paper Dolls Furniture" with price lists and 8 small furniture accessories." Fun! These were produced by Anson Randolph.
And finally, below is a collection of German paper dolls produced by Mainz bei Josef Scholz (circa 1850s). This is a hodgepodge of mostly dolls of children. I love their tiny feet and little boots!
Click on any of the images in this post to better see some of the details on these lovely very old dolls!