The original item from The Museum Doll Shop is now SOLD.
Primitive Cloth Doll, Early Presbyterian Rag
There is so much to love about Presbyterian rag dolls, the skill and ingenuity of their design, the fund-raising aspect of the project that made them, the female empowerment story of the women who working together made great things happen, all wrapped up a wonderful 19th century cloth doll! This is a well-loved example which despite its conditional issues still has a lot to offer.
According to the extensive research shared by Debra Hoover in her book The Dolls That Built a Church, this example dates to the earliest period of production for these dolls (1885). She cites the lack of gusset at the hip as the identifying characteristic for dating this model. The doll has brown eyes and hair. Her lower legs are the black fabric one would expect to see. I love the pointy little feet and long fingers on these dolls. She is wearing nice cotton drawers and half-slip and a beautiful cotton print dress – these feature handmade button holes, lace trim and may be original to the doll. (the lace on her underwear exhibits some wear). Presbyterian rag dolls in good condition are currently selling in the $3500 - $4000 range.
Maker: Ladies Sewing Circle of the First Presbyterian Church of Bucyrus, Ohio
Condition: This doll has seen a lot of loving, the exposed parts of her painted "skin" have a lot of surface soiling, there are worn spots on her hair and wrists (one wrist seems to have been reattached, see photos). Arms have been resewn to her shoulders, looks like an old, mother done, repair. That said her facial features are still intact and she has a great deal of charm.
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