My ongoing study of these early dolls has led to an article about them. I appreciate the information so many people have shared and I am attempting to gather and organize it all and share it back with the doll collecting community.
About half of the dolls I have studied seem to have come from Massachusetts. This is a strong indication they were made there. The ones I have measurements for range from 18 to 24 inches. They were formed over German china heads in what was likely a small cottage operation. The time period looks to be 1850 to 1860.
My friend Lou has sent very detailed pictures of the hands and feet on her treasured doll. These construction details match the ones on a number of other dolls in my study indicating to me that this body was original on many of them and sold with them rather than made at home for just a purchased head. When the bodies are different from these, I think the bodies were changed out at some point in the doll’s existence. I am tempted to say, “life” because they are little characters to me and seem to have a life story.
I have files on over 30 of them, and it is slowly growing as I learn of more. Sometimes a doll shows up more than once, as when pictured in an older book or magazine and then again at auction or in a private collection, and so duplication has to be constantly watched for. Each bit of information adds to the story of that doll. I invite everyone who wishes to, to add whatever they may know and want to share about these mystery linen head dolls.
The article I have written on Molded Linen Head Dolls is expected to be published in Doll News for their next issue, mailed Jan 2nd 2014. I never know for sure what will be published if and when, until I hold it in my hand finished but this one looks pretty sure. A lot of people have helped with information for the article. I am honored to have a little part in the club magazine of UFDC. I have been an off and on member for more than 55 years.
The UFDC convention for 2014 will be held near me in San Antonio Texas. I am looking forward to attending many of the events there, and on at least one day plan to have my daughter, granddaughter and 16 year old great granddaughter in tow. I expect we will be the only 4 generations there! My mother loved dolls before me, I wish she could know how much I have enjoyed this road she pointed out for me. Edyth