Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Charm

This is a reprint of a lovely picture that Joy Harrington graciously shared last year. And below is a picture I was able to take of a printed cloth apron that are often found on Joel Ellis dolls and Izannah dolls. Click on the apron picture to enlarge it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where Are Pictures of Izannah Walker Herself?

The picture above is not Izannah related in any way - it is an image of an unidentified boy from my family's collection of old on to find out why I've posted it here when it has nothing to do with Izannah Walker.

Yesterday I had a dream that I found a picture of Izannah Walker in her work room. This would be quite something because as far as I know there are NO pictures of Izannah herself that have been revealed. But then I got to thinking. There are quite a few family pictures in our family that we're not sure who they are. They're in boxes at my dad's house. He has done a great job scanning them all and sending them out to various branches of our family. Sometimes we know they came from the Sangerville branch of the family, but we don't know who they are. Sometimes, though, penciled on the back, is a name, or a set of initials, and some clues as to location or occupation.

This picture also has nothing to do with Izannah Walker. But I bet you're starting to get my point???

1911 Road Crew - Alton, Maine?
Another non-Izannah picture...

So if any of you have pictures that show a woman in a doll making workshop and the the writing might say I. W. or I. Walker, or Izannah with dolls, or Izannah dolls. or I. dolls you just might have a treasure. Go to your attic or basement. Open the brown battered box. When you find picture with the woman with dolls please send me a copy of the picture to post here. OR sell the picture on Ebay and I will plug your auction. Either way works for those who love Izannah Walker dolls. Big Grin.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Izannah Walker Workshop

Dixie here - I've been writing this site for almost two years to share pictures, images, links, etc with others who are Izannah enthusiasts. I generally don't refer to my own artistic works here, other than putting a link in to my site. But my next project is on Izannah Walker dolls, so I want to give readers the opportunity to know what I've been up to. Later in December I will release my Izannah Walker type pattern and offering an online Izannah Walker Workshop in January.  (This class has finished but the pattern is available).  Click here for more information on the Izannah Walker Workshop.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that all you Izannah lovers out there have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family and gratitude for all we have. That's something I've been thinking about. This blog, which started on a whim on January 1, 2008, is an expression of gratitude, really. I created it because I wanted to share pictures of the wonderful Izannah Walker dolls I've been able to study and document. I'm so glad I did. It is a wonderful joy to be able to create and study and read and learn. And I am so glad that there are so many of YOU out there who love Izannah Walker dolls as well. Have a safe and happy day tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monica Bessette's Izannah Doll

I received the following email from Monica Bessette, who has graciously shared pictures of her well-loved Izannah doll with us. I find these well-loved dolls very interesting, because you can often see more about the construction of the dolls because of the wear. Here's the email, and pictures following. Monica has said she will share some additional detailed pictures as well. Thank you, Monica!
Hi Dixie,

Well, I missed the end of the month, but here I am. Attached are some photos of my Walker doll that I named Joy. Her namesake is Joy Kelleher, of Special Joys Bed & Breakfast in Coventry, CT.

Joy Kelleher was instrumental in bringing me together with Maurine Popp, one of the the premier Izannah Walker collectors of our time. Back in 1998, just prior to the publication of my article, Walker Dolls: A Family Business, Joy invited me to speak to her doll club's upcoming meeting. The meeting was to be held in her doll museum, which was then part of the Bed & Breakfast. I jumped at the chance to speak in this intimate venue, but I wasn't prepared for the surprise guests and the wonderful response to my research. I had always wanted to meet Maurine Popp. Her comprehensive collection of Walker dolls, which she was collecting in the 1960's or even earlier, were some of the first I had ever seen in print, as she was always very generous in sharing her collection in books and magazines.
We can all thank Maurine for bringing these fascinating dolls to the attention of collectors.

Not only did Maurine Popp come to my slide lecture at Joy's invitation, she also brought two of my favorite Walker dolls with her to display. Since we were both staying at the bed & breakfast the night of the meeting, I was able to have a personal chat with her and Joy over tea beforehand.

Six years later, when Joy decided to sell part of her museum collection, I took a chance and called to see if there was any way she would consider selling me her Walker doll. She said she'd give it some thought, but I didn't think I had a chance. About two weeks later, I received an email from Joy playfully asking if I knew anyone who would consider purchasing an old rag doll with missing limbs and cracks all over her face. I was overcome with emotion. Could this be true? Would I actually have an Izannah Walker doll of my own? After I stopped crying, I called Joy to thank her for her kind offer and make arrangements to pick up the doll--the next day before she changed her mind!.
Included is a photo of me on that day, and you can see that I'm a little disoriented holding my new treasure.

Joy Kelleher has given me so much pleasure in her friendship and her confidence in my research, that I immediately named the doll after her so I would always be reminded of her and the special times I've spent in her bed & breakfast
and museum, which is now her shop.

I've included photos of different angles of the doll. One photo is interesting in that it shows that the arms were stuffed with hair. It's probably horse hair, since that was plentiful in Izannah's early Central Falls neighborhood, but it's hard to tell exactly. You can see from the full side view that the body was sewn together and then the arms were attached at the shoulders. She's 18 inches tall and has the typical repaired breaks in the mid-calf area of the legs. She's in rough shape, but I couldn't love her more than I do.

Please write if you have any questions.

Monica Bessette

The arms appear to be stuffed with horsehair.

Many Izannah dolls legs seem
to have needed repairs...
too much dancing?

Thanks so much, Monica!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Yankee Magazine

This past week a member of the Izannah Walker Dolls group (thanks, Judi!) pointed out that there was a two page article about Izannah Walker dolls in Yankee Magazine. The article was written by Catherine Riedel of Skinner Auctioneers. It was so fun to read that the Izannah Walker Chronicles had been listed as one of the resources for information about original, antique Izannah Walker dolls. I was happy to see that Lucy's Doll House in Camden, Maine was mentioned, as it was their generosity that made it possible for me to take pictures of original Izannah Walker dolls, and those pictures are what prompted me to create this site to share those pictures.

The mention in Yankee Magazine confirms that this site is becoming what I hoped it would - a kind of clearinghouse of links and resources and a repository for pictures of original Izannah Walker dolls. I love Yankee magazine. My own family Yankee-ness goes back to the Mayflower and to the first Puritan settlement in Massachusetts - and from there to various seaports in New England. If you are interested in early American history and classic meetinghouses, there is a wonderful article in this month's issue. And of course an article about my favorite kind of doll, Izannah Walker dolls.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Izannah Walker Doll at the Carmel Doll Shop

This beautiful Izannah Walker doll is presently available at the Carmel Doll Shop. I emailed asking to post the pictures, and the owners, Michael Canadas and David Robinson, graciously gave permission to post the pictures here on the Izannah Walker Chronicles. Enjoy, and be sure to visit the Carmel Doll Shop for other beautiful wonders.

Those of you who are dollmakers will
want to see the classic Izannah torso shape.

Her dress is a wonder as well!

Who wouldn't want to own such a wonderful doll?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In Izannah's Own Hand - A Letter to Her Sister

Dear Dixie,

As we have discussed, I am in the process of writing a piece for the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s Spring 2010 publication of New England Ancestors. The article focuses on our ancestor, Captain David Walker, and the discovery of one of his whaling ships, Candace, unearthed in San Francisco’s financial district in 2006. When I began to research David’s brothers and sisters, I came across another amazing find…Izannah’s beautiful dolls!

The first time I pulled up your website and saw pictures of her dolls, I had chills. It was like looking into my own son’s eyes. There is a uniquely handsome shape to the eyes with one eye that seems to look ever-so-slightly off to the side. I had traced the characteristic back through old pictures to the Walker side of our family when he was just a baby. For me, part of the allure of the dolls and their simple innocence is the way Izannah painted the eyes. I can only wonder if some of the Walker nieces and nephews were models for her dolls.

In support of your goal of providing a central repository of information about Izannah and her dolls I am providing a scan of a letter written by Izannah that has been passed down in our family. Included are two examples of her signature. The letter was written in 1850 to her half sister Bridget addressing arrangements between the two regarding a family plot at Palmer Street Cemetery in Somerset, Massachusetts. The intention of sharing the letter is not to focus on the details of her parent’s burial, but to point out that although she was an orphan, she was close to her many half brothers and sisters, visiting and communicating with them even 25 years after her parent’s death. She was not alone, Izannah was one of the nine surviving children of Gilbert Walker.

Thank you for building such a wonderful website honoring Izannah’s dolls, and for loving her work. Thank you to all of your readers who have generously contributed and shared information and images in an effort to build a comprehensive catalog of her work. I look forward to checking in to admire new pictures of dolls as they become available.

Jennifer Raymond
Cohasset, Massachusetts
Jennifer's email contact

Click on images to enlarge

Dixie here: I am thrilled that Jennifer chose to share these wonderful documents here. Jennifer and I have talked by phone quite a few times, she is passionate about researching and understands the intent of this site. Through what Jennifer has offered, one gets a sense of the way Izannah's mind worked in the sketches and handwriting in the letter. I added the copyrights onto the images that Jennifer sent - the intent is for them to be available here, but not to be republished without Jennifer's permission. Thank you, Jennifer!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Richard Wright Collection: Rare and Important Dolls

On Saturday, October 10th Richard Wright's collection of rare and important dolls was auctioned by the Skinner auction house. When I heard that three Izannah dolls were going to be auctioned, I decided to drive the 5 hours from Bangor, Maine to Marlborough, Massachusetts to see the dolls in person.

From the outside the Skinner Auction building looks
unassuming, but oh the treasures that were inside!

Inside there was a sense of camaraderie as people who had known Richard Wright reconnected with one another and viewed the spectacular collection he had crafted. Andy Ourant, consulting specialist and auctioner, commented that the friends and acquaintances of Richard Wright were privileged to gather to compete for something from Richard Wright's collection. There were so many wonderful things in this collection. But since this is a blog about Izannah Walker dolls, we will focus on those.

When the bidding was opened for the first Izannah doll above you could feel some excitement in the air. The doll was small - 14 inches - and was wearing a dress that was described as a "cotton dress with frail silk blue and white check trim." One theory is that the dress would have originally been all silk blue checked trim, and that the white was the lining of the dress. Bidding went along at a fast clip until it ended at $11,000, within the estimate printed in the auction catalog. As the gavel came down, a cheer went up. It was clear that many of the people were rooting for the prevailing bidder to win that Izannah doll!

The doll above is a classic Izannah Walker doll with two side curls in front of the ears.This doll was won by the same bidder as the doll above with a final bid of $10,000 - the auction estimate range being $15,000 - $18,000.

Finally, the "Lady" Izannah Walker Doll was auctioned.

Now these dolls go on to their new loving homes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Image Copyrights on the Izannah Walker Chronicles

The purpose of this site is to be a kind of public service for those who enjoy and love to study Izannah Walker dolls. A conversation I had with someone brought up an interesting point about the images on this site. Previously the copyright notice stated that images and writings were copyrighted by me. I hadn't thought through the implication of that, just thought it was a way to publicly say, "Hey, don't take the images here and publish them somewhere else!" But someone pointed out it was like saying that if they give images to the site that I own them, which wasn't my intention.
The new copyright notice is:

"All photos/pictures presented on this site are copyrighted by those offering the images for posting and are not to be taken. All writings are copyright Dixie Redmond unless specified otherwise."
Copyright of photos taken by others who offer them here for posting is retained by those individuals, business or institutions.

For the pictures that I personally have taken, I give permission for individuals to print images for personal study in making Izannah inspired dolls. These images are found in the sidebar under the heading "Pictures of Original Izannah Walker Dolls taken by Dixie Redmond." I do not give permission for pictures taken by me to be printed in any other form, electronically or in print. If you want to use an image, please ask. I usually like to share.

It's my hope that this clarifies what happens when collectors and others offer pictures to be posted here that they have taken of original Izannah Walker dolls.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Richard Wright Collection: Rare and Important Dolls

I am going to be able to attend this auction at Skinner's Marlborough gallery and am looking forward to it! This auction catalog with a cup of tea is the perfect way to spend a rainy day. This collection is quite varied, ranging from the rare to what to some might consider mundane. But it all looks wonderful to me. I plan on attending the preview the day before the auction as well as the gallery talk the evening before the auction. I will get to see three more Izannah dolls in person and share about them here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Richard Wright Collection

The Richard Wright Collection:
Session 1: Rare and Important Dolls

October 10, 2009 at 11 am

274 Cedar Hill Street, Marlborough, MA

The auction company has generously shared images of the Izannah Walker dolls be auctioned to be presented here on the Izannah Walker Chronicles.

A New Record Set for Izannah Walker Dolls

The 18" brown-complexioned doll in Day One of Theriault's Rosalie auction netted $80,000 (plus buyer's premium). This is a new...