The story of the Shakers is a story of our American history. They shaped our culture in subtle but real ways.
Let me say, here, that I have two of these dolls and they are being sold separately. Also, the 'Shaker Manifesto' will be sold separately as well. I displayed both dolls with the Manifesto in a glass case, along with the spinning wheel, and it was a wonderful tableau. The doll in this listing is the doll in pink, on the left, in her Dorothy cape. Should a buyer wish to have both dolls, the Manifesto, and the spinning wheel to create the same tableau, please email me and we will work out a very fair price. I have sure loved owning the pair. But I am selling them separately as I think that is what most buyers want.
So...back to the description:
The doll is an A&M dolly face with kid body, which is not rare, but the people who dressed the doll makes her a rarity. She is from the Shaker community, and she is 12" tall.
I am not sure what A&M doll this is, as her markings are under the cloth body--which is in very good condition by what I can see under her clothes. It is risky to remove the dress and the underthings as they are just too old to tug on. Her head and hands are not damaged. Her feet are part of the kid body; either cloth or kid. The pink stockings fit her feet so closely I dare not pull them off. All undressing requires tugging at some point! Ugh. She has no shoes and I'm not sure she ever had them, since her feet are so disproportionately tiny.
Her little Shaker lady's costume is authentic in every detail, and absolutely stunning. Even the lace trim on her petticoat is hand made. Her original pink woolen frock with pleated skirt is pristine Her Bertha collar is edged in lace and drapes completely over the frock’s bodice. There is lace on the cuff and collar as well. She wears the signature Shaker white wool cape known as a ‘Dorothy', and her woven splint bonnet, made of poplar—a soft wood--is in pristine condition, complete with ribbon trim and ribbon ties. Her pantaloons, her shift, and her petticoat are complete. All of it is as well made as if a real Shaker woman was expected to wear the ensemble. Her ensemble is exquisite
Like other religious sects, such as the Moravians or the Presbyterians, Shakers made dolls to bring in capital. In fact, they believed in Godly commerce’. They purchased common bisque head dolls, like this child, in bulk and dressed them as Shaker women to sell to tourists. (I would love to find a Shaker man doll!) Doll clothes were made from the scraps of wool that Shaker women wove from their own sheep. They also wove the bonnets from scraps of wooden splints from their baskets. Talk about recycling.
Info on Shakers themselves: They were also called 'The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing’, and were a millenarian restorationist Christian sect. They thought the end of the world was nigh, like so many sects. It was founded in the 18th century in England, by Ann Lee of Manchester. They were called the "Shaking Quakers" because of their ecstatic movements during services. Women assumed leadership roles within the sect; notably Jane Wardley, Mother Ann Lee, and Mother Lucy Wright. Shakers believed in pacifism and equality of the sexes—practicing a celibate and communal lifestyle of simplicity. That purity and simplicity is seen in their architecture, basket weaving, furniture, their recipes and their horticulture, and in their distinctive way of dress.
I researched and as of 2011, there was one active Shaker village left in central Maine. There were three members. Other existing Shaker villages are all museums. They should have left out that celibate part.
This Shaker dressed dolly is representatives of the Shakers’ dedication to godly living with their communal lifestyle. These dolls are prized when you find them. This doll is a pristine example, down to the bows in her hair. No damage to her bisque arms or head, and her sleep eyes are packed to keep the lead weight from swinging in shipping.
I have two Shaker dolls; one in brown, in another listing, and this one in pink. Just amazing to find two.
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