As we are in the midst of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, all the dolls I made for the show were in keeping with that theme. Some were based on real people in history; others were created by me to represent those who would have lived at that time.
The first doll I want to share with you is probably my favorite. She is based on a real person from that era--Sarah Ballou. Several years ago, PBS ran a wonderful series on the Civil War, and they read the most beautiful letter from a soldier to his wife. His name was Major Sullivan Ballou from Rhode Island, and he wrote Sarah this letter one week before he was killed at the First Battle of Bull Run. She did not receive it until after his death. If you can, get on-line and look up this letter. I warn you, however, make sure you have a box of Kleenex around when you read it because it is so beautiful and sad you will never forget it. This is my interpretation of Sarah, in mourning for her beloved husband. She is cloth, with facial features sculpted of paper clay and oil painted.
Another doll based on a real person from history is a young Black boy named "Jim Linder". Varina Howell Davis, the wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, was supposedly riding in her carriage one day in Richmond and saw a young Black boy being beaten in the street. She stopped the carriage and rescued the boy, taking him home with her to the Confederate white house. He was named Jim Linder Davis, and unofficially adopted. He lived with the Davis family for several years, until they were forced to flee Richmond after Union forces took the city.
Here are some more dolls of the era:
"RUBY AND MISS KATY ANNA"
The following dolls are based on folk art paintings, and also inspired by Izannah Walker dolls.
"JONATHAN AND EMMA FLORENCE"