These objects are pieces from china dolls. Dolls have a long history as a favorite children's toy.
Dolls were made of cloth and leather bodies with heads made from a variety of materials: china, metal, wax, parian, inexpensive penny woodens, indestructibale gutta percha dolls of vulcanized rubber or homemade dolls of rags or wood. (Calvert 1992:116)
During the 19th Century dolls were used as a teaching tool. Little girls would learn to sew by making clothing for their dolls.
Dolls in the 1800's were not babies, but were adult women. This encouraged girls to sew grown up clothing, and to practivce social adult social skills.
Purchased china dolls tell us more about the adults who made them and bought them than about the the children's play. The elegant lady dolls was intended to introduce the young girl to the feminie world of fashion, dressmaking and entertaining, giving her the skills considered necessary in later life. (Calvert 1992:117)
Baby dolls were not as common. Factories began to produce porcelin babies in 1850. These dolls quickly gained popularity in America. Middle calss Americans were afraid that the influx of eastern and southern European immigrants with big families would out number good American families. There was a hope that if little girls could could be convinced of the joy of motherhood then this might stop the declining birthrates and insure the survival of the middle class. (Calvert 1992:117)
Still children loved to play games and to play make believe just like they do today.
|Artifact Anaylsis||Evidence for children in the 19th Century playing with dolls|
|Manners of Children||Pictorial|