We don't often see articles in the news about dolls, but this past week that's exactly what happened. You can imagine my surprise when I saw a headline on Yahoo, about some dolls! Well, whatever I had gone online to do would simply have to wait because this was just too fascinating to skip.
The headline read that two Civil War era dolls had been x-rayed, which showed that they had empty space in their heads and shoulders. I assumed the spaces had been used by Confederate sympathizers to hide valuables, but as I read on, the spaces were thought to have been used for a very different purpose. The dolls were probably used to smuggle medicines, such as quinine and morphine, for the Confederate soldiers.
During the civil War the Union maintained a blockade on Confederate Ports from 1861 to 1865, to prevent supplies and soldiers from getting through to aid the Confederacy. At that time, the doll making industry was centered in Germany and France. Any commercially made dolls had to be imported from Europe to the
United States. Germany and France remained the primary source for dolls until World War I.
The theory supposes that, since all commercially available dolls came to the United States by ship, finding a shipment of dolls would not raise suspicion, should the ship be caught in the blockade, boarded and searched. They hoped that those who would be doing the searches would not look closely enough to realize that something as innocent as a doll might be used to smuggle vital supplies.
The dolls, named Nina and Lucy Ann, are part of a collection in the Museum of the Confederacy. They were donated to the museum from two separate sources, but the donors had told the museum that they had been used to smuggle medicine through the Union blockade. The museum took the dolls to a hospital radiology department and had them x-rayed to see if their head and shoulders, made of papier mache, were hollow. The results showed that they were hollow and confirmed what the original donors had claimed.
What a fascinating bit of history regarding dolls and the importance they have in so many lives!
Making and Dressing Cloth Dolls
Ebook with patterns and instructions to make 5 cloth dolls as well as chapters on general doll making techniques.The book includes 21 inch Lalena Doll, 21 inch David Doll, Bear Dolls, 9 inch Destiny Doll and 15 inch Annie Doll, all together in one handy book. 53 pages.Making and Dressing Cloth Dolls.