Saturday, December 29, 2018

Courtesy of Monica Bessette: Pictures of Ella Hawes' Izannah Walker Doll

In doing research for her book on Izannah Walker, Monica Bessette contacted the friend who owned Ella Hawes doll to see if she could use her doll's story. As will sometimes happen in life, a question will have more than one answer. The initial question led to Monica's purchase of the doll once owned by Ella Hawes so many years ago. Monica says:

"This doll is the one featured in my article "Walker Dolls: A Family Affair" originally owned by her grandmother, Ella Hawes. Ella was born in 1861 in Virginia, but was sent north to Attleboro, MA (about 5 miles or less from Central Falls) just before the Civil War. Her mother had died, and her father sent Ella and her brother up to live with his family, along with the coffin containing his wife and youngest daughter, who had both recently passed away, to be buried in the family plot.
I've included a few photos of comparison between my first doll, Joy, and my new doll, Ella. Joy is 18" and Ella is 16". The stockinette used on Ella is a much lighter weight and smaller weave. Ella is complete with both hands and feet, but one hand is unattached." 

Enjoy the images below. Thanks, Monica, for sharing! I'm looking forward to reading Monica's book!

For fun, Monica shared a comparison 
of her two Izannah Walker dolls.
How alike, and yet different they are!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Izannah's Imagined Journal - Entry 1

This blog began in 2008. This post was written on January 7th of that year. I thought it would be fun to re-post some of the early blog posts. When I began this blog, it was on a whim on New Year's Day. I thought it would be nice to create the online resource I wish existed. Since that time, social media sites have come to the forefront and blogs have taken a back seat. But there is something to taking a deep dive on a subject, and this blog represents 10 years of study.  I put the blog archive back into the sidebar so visitors can search through.  Wonderful images of Izannah Walker dolls have been provided by some wonderful people for the inspiration of modern dollmakers and those who collect Izannah Walker dolls. 

This post about an imagined Izannah Walker journal was fun to write back in the day.  

Plan for Ben Franklin's Parlor Stove

It's interesting how these people go on and on about my dolls, as if that's the only thing I ever did. Well, I am proud of them, and it is amazing that 150 years later they are still going strong. I wonder what my nieces and nephews did with my molds and such? Wouldn't those go for a pretty penny in today's market?

What these people don't know is that I was not only a dollmaker - I was an inventor. The dolls grew out of the inventing. The phrases "what if" and "why" and "I wonder" were always rattling around in my head. And it seems like the answers to questions were often held outside of a woman's realm. But that didn't stop me, no sir.

And I'll grant you that while many men have marbles for brains there have been a few who had marvels for brains. Take old Ben Franklin, for instance. Now there was a man who thought like a woman! Asking the question "What if the fireplace were in the middle of the room?" is pure genius.

Back to the dolls...if the little girl down the street hadn't fallen on her china doll and broken it I might not have thought to make a different kind of doll. But she brought it down to me, jagged edges and all, saying "Miss Izannah, you're the smartest woman I know, ma'am. I bet you can fix this." And so I did. But it made me ask the question, "What if a doll had a hard middle and a top layer of batting and fabric?"
I bet a man thought up the idea of making a doll out of china...

(This journal entry is purely fabricated by Dixie Redmond, 2008)

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...