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Slide 1: 

Izannah Walker’s Amazing Dolls

Slide 2: 

Izannah Walker’s Amazing Dolls

Slide 3: 

Izannah Walker’s Amazing Dolls

Slide 4: 

Izannah Walker’s Amazing Dolls

Slide 5: 

Izannah Walker’s Amazing Dolls

Slide 6: 

Photos from a special exhibit at the 2010 Doll Collector’s of America 75 th Annual Meeting

Slide 7: 

With more than 30 examples, the display of Izannah Walker’s dolls filled the room.

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Izannah Walker’s dolls : Are the earliest known cloth dolls commercially produced America. Were being made long before her 1873 patent. Were made for child’s play. Dolls in the exhibit were from 13 to 24 inches tall.

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Izannah’s dolls capture the simplicity of childhood. Ella Blue measures 18 inches. Her provenance dates her before the patent.

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They are precious portraits of childhood from every angle.

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Izannah Walker (1817-1888) was a cloth doll artist who worked in Central Falls, Rhode Island, in the 19 th century. Her occupation was listed as “Doll Maker” in a 1865 census. She was granted a patent for an improvement in the manufacture of her dolls in 1873. In her patent she claimed, “her dolls were inexpensive and easy to keep clean, and not apt to injure a young child.” Her sister, Jane, and her aunt, Jane Hintz, were also doll manufacturers, and probably assisted her in making the dolls.

Slide 13: 

The dolls’ faces were oil painted.

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This doll is named Amelia.

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Doll on the left measures 20 inches, the one on the right, 17-1/2 inches.

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Center part, side curls, more curls down the nape of the neck

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Center part, side curls, more curls down the nape of the neck

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These dolls look as if they have stepped out of an American primitive painting.

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Each face has its own unique expression.

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Each face has its own unique expression.

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These Izannah Walker dolls had once belonged to DCA member Maurine Popp. Collectors have benefitted from her long-term study of these dolls.

Slide 22: 

16-inch doll marked on the front of the torso, “John Shedd bought 1858.”

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This large doll measures 21 inches.

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The heads are made from of cotton stockinette pressed into a mold.

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This doll, named Jessie, is only 13 inches tall.

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Jeremiah has an unusual face mold and blue eyes. He is 14 inches tall.

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Here you can see how the head was stitched to the body.

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Label on this doll says “E. F. WALKER, PATENT, NOV. 4 TH 1873.”

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This doll measures 15-1/2 inches. Her carriage was made by Joel Ellis.

Slide 38: 

You can see characteristic features or “family relationship” of these dolls.

Slide 39: 

Becky is 18 inches tall.

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Becky is 18 inches tall.

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Boys are less commonly found.

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This 18-inch doll still has much of her original face paint.

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This 18-inch doll still has much of her original face paint.

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Each of Izannah Walker’s dolls has its own distinct personality.

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Each of Izannah Walker’s dolls has its own distinct personality.

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This doll is beautifully dressed in a white cotton dress. The skirt is gathered onto a waistband and the sleeves and skirt are decorated with tucks.

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Oil painting the faces gives Izannah’s dolls a soft quality.

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Handsomely attired, this doll wears a lovely printed wool challis dress.

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Predating the improved patent, this doll has wavy hair framing her face.

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Short hair fringed in back

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Named Phoebe, this doll is also an example of an early doll made before the patent.

Slide 56: 

Named Phoebe, this doll is also an example of an early doll made before the patent.

Slide 59: 

Izannah Walker dolls often show the effects of time and being dearly loved by their young owners.

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These dolls were made for over 30 years.

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Ida Mae still possesses her original wardrobe.

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Doll on the left measures 15-1/2 inches; one on the right, 17 inches.

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She has two curls in front of each ear, more curls wrap around the back of her neck.

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This doll has a shorter hairstyle with gently curled wisps framing her face.

Slide 69: 

This boy doll, named John Thayer, measures 15 inches. He still wears his original costume .

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His side-parted hair is painted with slightly curled wisps.

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17-1/2 inch girl doll still wears her original green wool challis dress.

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17-1/2 inch girl doll still wears her original green wool challis dress.

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This 24-inch doll, in outstanding condition, has appeared on a U.S postage stamp.

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This 24-inch doll, in outstanding condition, has appeared on a U.S postage stamp.

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These two dolls show off their corkscrew curls.

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Their clothes are as varied as the dolls themselves.

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Eliza measures 15-1/2 inches.

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These dolls came with many different hairstyles.

Slide 88: 

Another 19-inch example.

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Painting of the face and eyes

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Much attention was given to the painting of the eyes. Notice the dark line outlining the eyes and the line accenting the eyelid. Brows are feathered.

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Almost single stroke brows Very little feathering

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Many dolls have BROWN eyes.

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Cheeks are usually brightly blushed.

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Mouth is heart-shaped with a darker line separating the lips. Red dots accent each nostril.

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Look closely - a few of the dolls have eyelashes.

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This doll also has eyelashes.

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This doll’s painting is a little different. A few dolls have BLUE eyes.

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Hair styles and curls

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Three soft curls brushed forward

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Center part; hair is wavy around the face, short wisps across the back

Slide 103: 

Center part; hair is wavy around the face, short wisps across the back

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Two soft curls brushed forward

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Black hair, two small curls brushed forward

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Short, wispy curls fringed around the face

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Three curls in front of each ear, seven more around the back of the neck

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Two corkscrew curls in front of each ear and more curls all the way around the back

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More curls

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Curls in front of each ear, cropped short across the back

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Hair styles And some Boys…

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The boy’s side-parted style is enhanced with wisps of softly curled hair around the face.

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Short hair, side part, lightly feathered around the hairline

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The Hands

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Cloth hands are painted

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Fingers are stitched, thumb separate

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Feet And shoes

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Ankle-high shoes painted black with laces

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Black painted boot with red buttons

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Notice shaping of the heel,

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Notice shaping of the heel, fine lacing and delicate bow

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Black boots are decorated with red trim at the top. The soles of the boots are gray.

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Brown boots

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Bare feet with stitched toes

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Another style of bare feet

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Bare feet with dark blue, well-worn leather shoes

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The Ears

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applied ears

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The Doll’s construction

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Unpainted doll shows construction. Body made of muslin.

Slide 135: 

Molded face before features are painted.

Slide 136: 

the patent

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Figure 1 - cross-section of doll head Figure 2 – view of the press Figure 3 – view of the die Figure 4 - view of completed doll a – outer webbing b – outer layer of stuffing c – inner layers of cloth d – inner or hard stuffing e – stiffening rod

Slide 138: 

Appropriate Clothing

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Many of the dresses were made of cotton print fabrics – dimity, calico, muslin

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Short sleeves and full skirts were in fashion

Slide 142: 

Aprons Commercially printed aprons, to be finished at home, could be purchased.

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With the creation of her hand crafted dolls, Izannah Walker left us a legacy which will continue bringing joy and admiration to collectors and other enthusiasts.

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Her example as a successful businesswoman will also inspire women in pursuing the creation of their own businesses.

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The end

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The end

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The end THE END

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Photography and Program Design by Cynthia E. Musser Thanks to: Carol Corson Donelle Denery Joy Harrington Sue Popp and the DCA Board Created 2011

Slide 151: 

References: Bessette , Monica, “The Search for Izannah Walker,” DOLL NEWS, United Federation of Doll Clubs, Spring, 1994, p.48-51. Bessette , Monica, “Walker Dolls: A Family Affair,” DOLL NEWS, United Federation of Doll Clubs, Summer, 1998, p.41-44. Coleman, Dorothy S., Elizabeth A., Evelyn J. Collectors Encyclopedia of Dolls, New York: Crown Publishers Inc., 1968. Coleman, Dorothy S., Elizabeth A., Evelyn J. Collectors Encyclopedia of Dolls Vol.2, New York: Crown Publishers Inc., 1986. Corson, Carol, “An Izannah Walker Reunion, ” Antique Doll Magazine , August, 2011, p.19-26. Johl , Janet Pagter . Your Dolls and Mine, A Collector’s Handbook , New York: H. L. Lindquist Publications, 1952.