Antique doll with blue crystal eyes, porcelain face and white dress

MATTAPOISETT'S
HISTORICAL
DOLLS

Throughout history girls and boys have played with dolls. For some children, the dolls were alive with personalities and provided companionship. However, children grow up, the dolls get pushed aside, and the dolls become lifeless. We are fortunate that some of these historical, well loved, and innocent looking dolls were saved and donated to us.

Did we say inncocent looking? Maybe you think they are more sinister looking.....we will let you decide.

This online exhibit showcases several of the dolls in our collection.

CREEPY?
WE'LL LET YOU DECIDE

Antique doll with blonde hair, porcelain head, wooden body and white lace dress

Ethel Ellis Taves

This doll was donated by Ethel Ellis Taves (1897-1979) in 1976.

 

The doll measures 22" with a china head and wood body. Dressed in a period white lace dress with pearl earrings, Mrs. Taves believed the doll was German in origin. It may have been manufactured by the Kestner doll company.

 

The doll was given to her for her first Christmas in 1897 by her grandfather.

 

Ethel married in 1919 at the age of 22 and worked as a bookkeeper at a cotton mill. Ethel and her husband Frank do not appear to have had any children making it likely that little Ethel was the only child to have cared for this doll.

Catalog number TO-81-g

Ellanne

While this doll is dressed in a circa 1870-1890 embroidered dress the doll itself was likely manufactured circa 1950. She measures 19" and is made of plastic with molded hair and is stamped on lower back "20F-5 Ellanee".

 

By the 1950s, dolls such as this baby doll were made for girls to practice nurturing skills as they expected to grow up to be stay at home mothers. However, this doll would witness the women's rights movements of the 1960s and the evolution of traditional roles for both women and men as  more women beacme bread winners for their families and men took on more active roles in parenting.

The provenance of the doll isn't clear. A note in historical society indicates that the doll or the doll's dress belonged to Florence Purrington Mendell (1871-1949). However, the accession record notes that the dress along with three other dresses were gifted by Ruth Martocci (1909-1998) Catalog number CL-452-g

 
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Martha Washington

Martha Washington was gifted to the museum by Douglas Kerr in 1965.

She measures 24", is made of painted composition and cloth, dressed in a purple satin dress with embroidered roses covered by a silk flower print shawl.

 Martha Washington is the companion doll to George Washington.

This doll possibly manufactured by the Kestner doll company, Waltershausen, Thuringia, circa 1860-1890

Catalog number TO-40-G 783

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George Washington was a popular figure throughout the first full century of the new republic.

This George measures 24", is made of painted composition and cloth, dressed in an officer's attire with cape and hat. 

George and Martha Washington were gifted by Douglas Kerr in 1965.

This doll possibly manufactured by the Kestner doll company, Waltershausen, Thuringia, circa 1860-1890

Catalog number TO-40-783

George Washington was a popular figure throughout the first full century of the new republic.

This George measures 24", is made of painted composition and cloth, dressed in an officer's attire with cape and hat. 

George and Martha Washington were gifted by Douglas Kerr in 1965.

This doll possibly manufactured by the Kestner doll company, Waltershausen, Thuringia, circa 1860-1890

Catalog number TO-40-783

George Washington

George Washington was a popular figure throughout the first full century of the new republic.

This George measures 24", is made of painted composition and cloth, dressed in officer's attire with cape and hat.

George Washington was gifted by Douglas Kerr in 1965 and is the companion doll to Martha Washington.

This doll was possibly manufactured by the Kestner doll company, Waltershausen, Thuringia, circa 1860-1890

Catalog number TO-40-783

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French Fashion Doll

Provenance research is still being conducted on this doll.

She measures 18" and appears to be made of porcelain and cloth with kid leather cloves and shoes. She wears turquoise earrings, woven plaid dress with pleat detail and a removable bonnet.

This doll may have been manufactured between 1860-1890

Uncatalogued

Provenance research is still being conducted on this doll.

She measures 18" and appears to be made of porcelain and cloth. She has kid gloves and shoes. She wears turquoise earrings with a woven plaid dress with pleat detail and a removable bonnet.

This doll may have been manufactured between 1860-1890.

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Elizabeth

Elizabeth is 24" with red hair and curls. She has bisque porcelain head and hands and is dressed wearing a maroon and white period dress.

She was manufactured by Armand Marseille in Koppelsdorf, Thuringen, circa 1913.

Elizabeth was given to the museum in 1981 by Clara Tinkham Perkins (1902-1990).  She was originally owned by Clara's sister, Elizabeth Tinkham (1906-?) for whom the doll is named after.

Catalog number TO-86

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Photos generously donated by photographer, Frank C. Grace