Saturday, February 2, 2013

Historic cloth doll, Abigail

We had a very special find at our January meeting.  Leslie brought an original historic doll, which was given to her to be donated to the Indiana State Museum.  Meet Abigail.
Abigail (who has her own website) was created by a woman named Portia Howe Sperry, as a way to earn money for family and her neighbors during the Great Depression.
Her face was oil-painted by hand, after the features were stamped.  Her hair was made of fabric, with raveled fringe becoming her bangs.
You can see what remarkably good shape she is still in!  Her straw-brimmed sunbonnet and leather shoes are just perfect.
After a few years, Abigail was still so popular that Portia wrote a story to go with her.  Her story is set in the 1830s, and tells of a pioneer family moving to the wilds of Brown County, Indiana.  A hundred years later, things were still pretty wild, and the Sperry family lived without water or electricity when they first arrived in Brown County themselves.
The story was written in 1938; this copy of the book was printed in 1958.

The charming frontispiece illustration shows Abigail with her girl, Susan.

We are so glad we got to visit with her before she goes to her new home at the museum.


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Cecilia Morgan said...

Great article, what is this doll and book worth. Is it collect able.