Unlike many black dolls that were made, I believe that this doll was made to be played with. The size of the doll and construction of the body are similar to the early church or stump dolls. I have seen these done as far back as the 1840s-50s, but this one is later. I would date her to late 1800s, early 1900s. To me what makes her unique are the letters embroidered on her apron and the construction under her dress. Clearly the letters appear to be the work of a child. It is hard to decide if she was trying to spell something, or, since each letter has a period after it, if these letters are a series of initials. You can see that the apron has always been with the doll because fabric beneath it is much brighter. When you look under the skirt, fabric is wrapped around a piece of wood, leaving her without torso or legs. The arms are flat pieces of black felted wool and the sleeves are very simply made. She is stuffed on top possibly with cotton. She measures 5 1/4 inches long. Like so many other cloth dolls, she is another one of a kind enigma. Please feel free to ask questions or request more photos. Do take a peek at my other early items and thanks for the look.
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