Antique dolls donated to BI Museum

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Buffalo Island Museum has several antique dolls. A porcelain doll which is over 100 years old was donated by Joyce Christman. The doll belonged to her aunt, Florence Burt. The Chatty Cathy doll is from the 1960s and the Betsy Wetsy is from the 1950s. There is a Real Baby doll by Hasbro from 1984. The Danny O'Day ventriloquist doll is from the 1960s. There is also a vintage Cabbage Patch Doll, Real Baby Drink and Wet from the 1960s.

Antique dolls are on display at the Buffalo Island Museum in Monette. (photo provided)

Remember when every little girl wanted a doll that you had to change her diaper, just like a real baby. There is a highly collectible Circus Parade clown doll donated by Madge Pruitt. These dolls and other dolls at the museum are often admired by those of us that remember when we had a doll just like one of these.

The doll is thought to be one of the most ancient children's toys still in existence. These earliest dolls were made of clay, stone, ivory or wood. Even dolls with movable limbs date back to 200 BC. Although no dolls have survived from prehistoric times, dolls have been found in Egyptian graves dating back to 2000 BC.

Addition to wooden dolls, wax dolls were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. Germany was the main manufacture of these wax dolls, with England creating wax dolls between 1850 and 1930.

Porcelain dolls became popular at the beginning of the 19th century. Porcelain dolls included the china ones which were glazed and the bisque which were unglazed.

Bisque became more popular in the 1860s as they were fired twice with color added making the doll more skin-like.

For centuries, rag dolls were made by mother for her little girl. These were often stuffed with corn husks or cotton. Commercially rag dolls were first introduced in the 1850s by English and American doll makers.

Doll making didn't become an industry in the United States until after the Civil War. The dolls were made from leather, rubber, papier-mache and cloth. After World War II, doll makers began using plastic. These dolls, made in the 1940s, were very durable. Vinyl changed the doll making in the 1950s and 1960s. Now doll makers could root hair into the head instead of just painting on the hair. And these dolls were more baby-like.

Doll collectors today are looking for the vintage porcelain and rag dolls, and these dolls can be very expensive.

Visit Buffalo Island Museum in Monette and see the dolls and other vintage toys. Museum hours are Friday and Saturday 12:30-4 p.m. Admission is free.

Don't forget about the Quilt Show Saturday, Sept. 28. For more information, visit our Facebook page or call 870-486-5479 or 870-486-2516.

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