Springfield, VT - c. 1880
Here is an 11.5" jointed wooden doll produced by Mason & Taylor of Vermont. These were made from the late 1870's to early 1880's. The bodies are of local woods including maple and the heads are composition over a wood core. Most of the heads show a good deal of wear due to the construction. There were several patents for dolls made in the same town and the same time - Martin, Sanders, Johnson, Mason and Taylor. Dolls made by Joel Ellis were produced earlier - in 1873 and were made for only one year. The exact history of all of these men and their involvement in the doll business is unclear to me, as I've read varying accounts from different sources. What is clear is that I am intrigued by all of the wooden dolls made in Springfield Vermont during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. I believe the dolls by Mason & Taylor had turning heads (which this one does). The hands and feet are metal. This one has unusual turned up toes on her boots which was usually found on dolls they made called the Witch and Wizard, however this is not the Witch /Wizard doll. There is typical wear to the paint on the hands and feet as well as wear to the head including crack across the center and some missing pieces on the composition. The feet were originally a turquoise blue, with still a few traces visible mostly on the wood portion. I find the condition of the head preferable to one with any repair or repaint and she does retain a good bit of her features hairstyle and eye paint. This doll is wearing an older dress and petticoat, but it is not as old as the doll. The great thing about these dolls is that they may be more interesting without clothing...it is purely the option of the owner. I have had this one and several others in my collection and have displayed them with or without clothing. They always generate quite a bit of interest...they are a strange mix of primitive and sophisticated in their design. These dolls were really ingenious and represent the ingenuity and creativity of the group of inventors from this area involved in doll making as well as many other inventions.
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