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Geranium Hill Treasures | Ruby Lane

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About Geranium Hill Treasures

Our Service Pledge
Quick response time and customer satisfaction is very important to me. I guarantee authenticity and description of all my items and ship them with the utmost of care. I am open to discussing layaway options catered to your comfort. Your happiness is my happiness. Aloha from Hawaii.
About Us
Art Dolls by Tutu Souza and inspired by Leo Moss, Antique dolls and other rare treasures from around the world.
Avid historic preservationist, four time over historic preservation award winner, doll collector for 54 years and member of UFDC

* Please see my pandemic doll story published in: Antique Doll Collector Magazine Nov/Dec 2021 issue and Doll Advertiser April 2022.

Getting through the pandemic: The Healing Power of Dolls and Tears.

I am sure a lot of us have cried more in the past year and a half than we have our entire lifetime. I certainly have. Every time I turn on the television, someone is crying as they tell a story or something is said that made me cry.

The Covid-19 Pandemic unraveled into the utmost devastating pandemic of our lifetime and beyond. Our country closed its borders, grounded planes, closed businesses and American’s were ordered to stay home. Hospitals on the verge of collapse, a soaring infection rate, exhausted front line worker’s, loved ones dying, make shift tents to care for the sick and make shift morgues to contain all the bodies, mask mandates and mask wars, vaccine mistrust, social injustice, The Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate Movements, Mexican children abandoned at the border, unruly passengers on airplanes, increasing gun violence, riots and protest, destruction and burning of our cities, political wars and scandal, insurrection at our nations Capitol, food and consumer goods shortages, a shaky economy, supply chains bottle necking, hoarding of household goods and now the Delta variant, a more deadly variant of the disease.

So, I turned to my doll collection for solace. My dolls speak to me often, but this time it wasn’t my dolls speaking, but a doll maker named Leo Moss. His spirit became my guiding light, for Leo had overcome many obstacles in his lifetime and I could not have asked for better guidance.
Not much is known about Leo, as he is somewhat of a legend, but it is believed he was born around 1850 in Macon, Georgia, being enslaved most of his childhood. In his adult years he was a handyman by trade and at some point began making dolls.

Some doubt his very existence, yet others believe in him fervently.

There are no known records of his existence, however what exists are some magnificent dolls believed to have been made by him in the late eighteen and early 1900’s. He made them for the families he worked for in the likeness of their children and traded them for chickens and other staple foods to feed his family. His dolls bore a striking resemblance to the subject matter…so the story goes. Oral history tells us Leo made dolls from left over job materials such as wallpaper and boot dye (yes, I know this sounds far-fetched) along with scrap doll parts he purchased from a New York traveling salesman. The salesman later betrayed Leo by running off with his wife Lee Ann, taking their youngest child Mina, and leaving their other 4 children behind. Anguished over this loss, he began putting a sad expression and tears on the dolls he made. It is said, Leo died penny-less and buried in a paupers grave somewhere in Illinois. Museums and private collectors have preserved the legacy of Leo Moss. His dolls command thousands of dollars today and fewer than 100 are said to exist. No one really knows, but they believe.

Betty Formaz, a Michigan doll dealer traveling through Georgia, discovered his dolls in the early 1970’s. According to her, she purchased many of the family dolls Leo made of his children and other family members from his daughter Ruby. She shared her findings with a Michigan doll club and other collectors. Mina was the first doll brought to the spotlight winning a blue ribbon at the Louisville, KY UFDC Doll Show in 1973. I won Mina at auction a few years back and I absolutely cherish her.

Similar to Leo, I have been a jack-of-all-trades throughout my lifetime, however never imagined becoming a doll maker. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Dance; a license in cosmetology, a real estate broker, an avid historic preservationist, a former restaurateur and currently run a pool business with my husband. Until last year, I had never made a doll in my life, but gave it go and created many of them with tears reflecting the sadness of our multi-dimensional pandemic. I have now made around 65 dolls and it has become my life’s passion and healer. I call my dolls “Poignant Paper” because they are. As some hoarded toilet paper, I used mine to make dolls.

We all have endured so much for so long and continue to face challenges daily not only with the Covid-19 Pandemic, but also with the continuous weather extremities. Our planet is suffering too and lashing out with catastrophic floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes.

We are all crying.

Tears are a powerful healer releasing stress, sadness, anxiety and joy. Our salty tears are cleansing like the ocean lubricating our eyes, reducing stress hormones and removing irritants. Pent up emotions can cause the human body illness, fatigue and pain. Crying can stimulate the production of endorphins, our body’s natural painkiller. Tears heal the heart and help us process loss, so go ahead hug your doll and release those tears.

With lots of dolls and tears,
Tutu Souza
Tutu Souza
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since 2019
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