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August 4, 2011

It's Feeling A Little Izzie Around Here(As In Izannah Walker Dolls)

I'll give you fair warning: this post is very long!

Mr. Glen Oaks and I plan to visit the New Bedford Whaling Museum when his son and mother return from Florida the end of the second week in August. Mom is staying for a week, Glen Oaks Jr., will probably go home to New York a day or so after arriving. He's been in Florida since July 4th and misses his mom and baby sister, Izzie.
So, thinking of that (see how my mind works?) prompted me to find out if there were any Izannah Walker dolls perchance in the museum since it's sort of close to Izannah Walker's hometown in Rhode Island. There is!
Isn't she beautiful?

Here is a description of this lovely doll who resides in The New Bedford Whaling Museum:
Walker, Izannah
Date:1848 - 1900
Material: leather, cotton, lace, paint
Dimensions: [H]17" [W]4" [D]
17" from head to feet, 4" across shoulders
DESCRIPTION: The doll has a painted leather head, hands, feet, and body. She is wearing a cream colored, long-sleeved floral print dress (yellow, purple, and blue flowers, green leaves), with high lace collar and cream colored knickers with lace around the bottoms. The undergarents consist of two cream colored petticoats, one plain petticoat, and one petticoat of a thicker material with a stitched border.

Another "Izzie" resides in the Little Compton Historical Society in Rhode Island. This isn't far from where Izannah Walker lived and worked in Central Falls, RI.

Here is the description of this doll as given from the Little Compton Historical Society website:

Izannah WalkerDescriptionMolded cloth doll. Figure of a girl with painted brown hair and eyes. Pink skin. Cotton dress with cream-colored background and green pattern. Cream-colored underskirt with crocheted trim. Brown leather shoes with decorative accent on top of shoes, and fasten at ankle. On metal stand with base. Housed in plastic hood.Datec1860MaterialCloth, cotton, paint, leather, metalDimensionsH-20.75 W-10 D-7.5 inchesMakers markBottom of shoes ”BRU Jne/PARIS”, ”6”Category9: Recreational ArtifactsSub-categoryToyCatalog Number2000.0129ProvenanceGrandmother Snow (see notes)

”Peggy - A little account written by Grandmother Snow” Peggy is one of the rag dolls which were made by two ladies in Providence many years ago. I was born in 1860 and Peggy was given Peggy was given to me when I was a very little girl, so young that I do not remember when I first had the doll. The clothes she then wore were old-fashioned, but long since worn out and thrown out.
I have tried to make her present warded (wardrobe) be as nearly like the original as I could from memory.
The green silk chaillie gown I make from pieces of a dress once worn by Mrs. James Arnold, who lived in the house on County Street, now owned and occupied by the Wamsutta Club. The material probably was bought in France, as such was not made in this country at that time - probably 1850-1860.
The original dress worn by Mrs. Arnold was given later to my Aunt Mary Taber, then made over and worn by my cousin Mary Kempton Tabor, and still later given, or handed down to my Mother, who make a little dress for me of the best goods remaining. This was worn at a later period by Agatha Snow, Edith Snow an Deborah Snow. This doll’s dress is fit only for the purpose of an exhibition - it is so frail and old now. Peggy was given to the LCHS by Mrs. Robert Snow of West Road Little Compton, RI 6/22/70SourceMrs Robert SnowReceived asGiftDate Received1970Image004\2000.0129.JPG

So much wonderful history of this doll. I love how the doll dress was made over and over from the girls' dresses.
Here is another Izannah Walker doll in the Little Compton Historical Society:
This Izannah is from The Wisconsin Historical Society Online Collection:

This is the description of the doll in the blue dress in Little Compton:
Label reads: ”Izannah Walker Doll made of painted cloth put into a mould to create the head, shoulder, arms and legs. Restored in 1986 by Mrs. Elizabeth McIntyre”
Doll has short brown hair and a painted face. She is dressed in a blue checked linen dress with two layers of white cotton petticoats and a pair of pantalettes. She has black painted shoes. She is stored in a clear plastic

My favorite doll is the one in the last photo. She was made between 1855 and 1860. This date is based on the type of clothing the doll is wearing. This wonderful little doll was named "Tillie" by her owner, Alice Kent Trimpey.
She was born in 1864 and lived until 1949. She resided in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Mrs.Trimpey wrote a book
entitled "The Story Of My Dolls".

The clothing on this doll is extraordinary, and looks to be hand sewn and the original clothes. She wears pantalettes that are trimmed in lace and ruffles. They even have tucks such as a little girls would have. She wears two
petticoats; one is made from white wool with hand embroidered hem trim, the second made from a cotton stripe material with a trim made from tatted lace. The dress is a soft blue green with brown and white plaid cotton. The dress is two-piece, a gathered waist and a very deep tuck at the bottom hem. There is even a HOOP at the bottom of skirt. The blouse of the dress has dropped shoulders and and long full sleeves. The neckline is trimmed in black velvet. Her little apron is made from off-white linen trimmed with bands of multi-colored florals on the pockets, the bib and the skirt of the apron.  She has black painted on lace-up boots. She is made of cloth and  oil painted on her head and face with her trademark little corkscrew curls at the back of her neck and in front of her applied ears.
She's stuffed with fiber/cloth and has a wood reinforced body construction. She has joints at the knees, elbows,
her hips and shoulders. Such detail and effort certainly went into the making of this little doll and her clothing.
Just exquisite!

I read somewhere that because there were so many variations of this doll that some might have possibly been
portrait dolls, but no definite proof on this. I'll have to ask Dixie Redmond, she knows just about all there is to know regarding Izannah Walker dolls. She teaches an online workshop for Izzies and you should see the gallery of her
student's work. Go over to to see the dolls made from her workshop.       They are all uniquely beautiful.
Tomorrow I'd like to do a post on paper mache Greiner dolls and composition dolls from Germany.
Until then, Primmies..

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