Saturday, November 15, 2008

Izannah and Jane Walker

In one of Monica Bessette's articles she suggests that some of the dolls that we know as Izannah Walker dolls were actually made by Jane Walker. I find this an interesting nugget, and of course, it would be lovely to know more. Today I received an e-mail from Diane Goodwin with a link to a Youtube clip of a walking tour of Somerset, Massachusetts. If you watch the clip and fast foward to the point of 6:20, you can see the early Walker house located at 373 Main Street. Diane pointed out there were a couple of errors - one being that Izannah and Jane lived in the house in the early twentieth century - that should be nineteenth century. And the narration ends with "the product is still known today as the Jane Walker doll." Hmmm. The plot thickens? To view the video discussed above, please visit the Somerset Historical Society's site and click on the video associated with 363 Main Street


  1. Aaahh! Detective Dixie is on the case!

  2. Hi Dixie,

    Don't forget. . .this was written for the Somerset Historical Society, and these dolls were known to locals as Jane Walker dolls. The following is from my 1998 article, "Walker Dolls: A Family Business" It comes from a paper presented at the Somerset Historical Society meeting of March 18, 1957. The writer of the paper was former town librarian, Flora B. Wood. Flora's mother, Augusta Louisa Marble, born in Somerset in 1861, is the subject of the following excerpt reprinted in the October, 1994, issue of The Spectator, and entitled,


    "When my mother was a little girl in the 1860s many of the little girls of Somerset had a Jane Walker doll. I have a picture of mother holding one. They were handsome and lifelike and were made by Miss Jane Walker, who lived on Main Street in the Village. They were made in several sizes and sold for up to 10 dollars. I haven't succeeded in locating one, though it is possible someone has one, as they were quite famous locally and there must have been many of them. Mrs. Arline Simmons Sampson remembers going to Jane Walker's house when she was a very old lady and no longer made dolls. Mrs. Sampson says she dressed very quaintly almost in Pilgrim style. She liked children, and always treated them to apples and cookies."

    Izannah's older sister, Jane Walker, remained in the house that was left to the two of them until her death in 1899 at age of 85. Izannah left Somerset in the early 1850's when she moved to Rhode Island. This 1957 paper was presented long before Walker dolls were collected by modern day collectors. Hope this helps.

    Monica Bessette


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