Thursday, December 16, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday

This china head doll belonged to my maternal great-grandmother, Bessie Carter Ranney. When she was a child, she contracted scarlet fever, and all her toys had to be burned. This doll was the first toy she received after recovering from her illness.

When I was growing up, I remember that Mom kept this doll wrapped up in an old baby blanket and safely stored in the top of a closet.  She would take it out occasionally for me to look at and hear the story once again.  While the china head was still in good condition, her arms and legs were torn with the stuffing spilling out, her china hands were broken, and her dress was stained.

At some point in my adulthood, Mom gave me the doll.  In 1995, I had it restored.  The hands, arms, and legs were replaced and the china head and dress were cleaned.  The doll restorer also gave me some information about the origins of the doll:

"Almost all china heads were made in Germany between 1840-1900.  Most have black hair; the blondes became popular by the 1880's.   Hairstyle helps date these dolls."  She went on to say that this doll has a "Low Brow" or "Butterfly" hairdo, popular 1890-1900.  The doll's dress is original to that period.

I was thrilled to know more about the doll and that I was able to have it restored to "like new" condition.  I cherish it, knowing that my great-grandmother loved and cherished it.

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