Sunday, June 1, 2008

Linda's Review of Cloth Dolls From Ancient To Modern by Linda Edward

If you are a reader of my Linda's Blog then you know that I just love dolls and books about dolls, especially cloth dolls.

One of the books that I bought last year was Cloth Dolls: From Ancient to Modern : A Collector's Guide (A Schiffer Book for Collectors). It is a collectors guide of cloth dolls and their values and I was especially interested in it because it contained cloth dolls, which up to this point in time were often overlooked by the doll collecting society as a whole.

I never understood this as I always thought that the category of dolls would include dolls with cloth heads as well as dolls with wood, china, bisque, clay, or cernit heads. Fortunately cloth dolls are gaining in popularity amongst collectors and especially amongst the ever growing segment of people who love "primitives." Unfortunately, cloth doesn't always survive well over time so there are not a lot of examples of really ancient dolls made solely of cloth around.

Cloth Dolls: From Ancient to Modern : A Collector's Guide (A Schiffer Book for Collectors) starts with a small chapter about cloth dolls of long ago. Unfortunately, not a lot survived.

Chapter 2 contains homemade rag dolls of the 19Th and 20Th century and has several pages of wonderful pictures of dolls and a brief history of cloth dolls during that period along with mention of the 1st doll patterns. Looking at the pictures of the dolls I couldn't help but wonder who the creator was, who the recipient was, and why the doll was made.

Chapter 3 covers the cottage industry dolls of the 19Th and 20Th century. What captured my attention was a line from the 1st paragraph that stated, "In the world of cloth dolls it is very interesting to note that most of these companies were started and run by women." My guess would be that a LOT of these women were mothers who had started out just sewing dolls for their children.

In Chapter 3 you will find information and pictures of Izannah F. Walker who started making dolls around 1840, Roxanna E. Cole, Moravian Rag Dolls, Martha L. Wellington, Presbyterian Rag Dolls , Columbian Rag Dolls, Mother's Congress Dolls, The Alabama Indestructible Doll, Kathe Kruse, Martha Jenks Chase, Missionary Rag Babies, Philadelphia Rag Babies, Anne Maxwell, Gertrude F. Robinson, Wold War I Paris, Tynietoy, Kamkins, and Regional Dress Doll.

Chapter 4 covers big business rag dolls in the 19Th and 20Th century. These are large scale factories and whole sellers including: Montanari, George Hawkins, Carl Weigand, Worsted Dolls, Steiff Dolls, Babyland Rag Dolls, Bruckner Dolls, Dean's Rag Book Co., Krueger Dolls, Jane Gray Co., Farnell-Alpha Toys, American Art Dolls, and one of my favorite sections - Raggedy Ann and Andy.

It also includes Chad Valley Dolls, Bing Art Dolls, Lenci, Messina-Vat, Madame Alexander, Norah Wellings, Liberty of London, Nelke Dolls, Georgene Novelties/Madame Hendron, Averill Manufacturing Co., Mollye Goldman, Poupees Raynal, Venus, Gre-Poir, The Blossom Doll Co., Ideal Novelty and Toy Co., and Hallmark Dolls.

Chapter 5 is a lovely chapter devoted to dolls by the yard - cut and sew dolls. It includes E.S. Peck, Arnold Printworks, Cocheco Manufacturing Company, Gutsell Dolls, Art Fabric Mills, Horsman, Dean's Rag Book Co., Saalfield Publishing Co., and The Toy Works.

Chapter 6 is devoted to 20Th century advertising and personality dolls. These include The Chase Bag Co. whose 1st advertising doll was "The Jolly Green Giant", Miscellaneous Advertising Dolls, Personality Dolls, and Knickerbocker dolls like "The Campbell's Soup Kid."

Chapter 7 is devoted to doll artists of the 20Th century such as, Grace Dayton, Celia and Charoty Smith, Dorothy Heizer, Frances and Bernard Ravca, Dewees Cochran, Annalee Mobilitee Dolls, WPA Dolls, Dianne Dengel, R. John Wright, Xavier Roberts, and Current cloth Doll Artists - of which there are many pictures.

If you are a lover of cloth dolls in particular or "primitive dolls" then Cloth Dolls: From Ancient to Modern : A Collector's Guide (A Schiffer Book for Collectors) is a fascinating read and a must have for the serious cloth doll collector. I especially loved the section on Raggedy Ann and Andy as it contained several pages of information on the history of these dolls that I was not aware of before.

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