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The Ruth E. Aten World Doll Collection: Americas

This list, with accompanying photos, contains dolls from Latin America and the Caribbean, Central America, North America, and South America.


Caribb1. Nassau, Bahamas. Junkanoo Doll. 9 ½ “ Junkanoo is a carnival-like parade that takes place in the Bahamas on December 26th and January 1st annually. The parade grew out of celebrations held by African slaves at Christmas time. Today, groups of paraders known as Junkanooers compete against each other for cash prizes. Groups range in size from 10 to 1000 people. All group members wear elaborate costumes made from strips of colorful crepe paper pasted onto cardboard that has been shaped into a variety of forms. Junkanoo is accompanied by music performed on traditional Junkanoo instruments such as cowbells, foghorns, whistles, conch shells and goatskin Goombay drums, as well as “modern” wind instruments such as trumpets, trombones and tubas. Given by Nina Wood (student). Nina was from Nassau and arranged for a personal tour guide on one our trips to Nassau. My husband, Bob, and I actually got a chance to see a parade. 1996

Junkanoo Doll, Nassau, Bahamas

Caribb2. St Thomas, Bahamas. Bahamas Girl. 2’ Stuffed cloth dolls with long legs, yarn hair with scarf, polka dotted top and flowered skirt. Given by Ruth Aten. 1995

Bahamas Girl, St. Thomas, Bahamas

Caribb3. Matanzas, Cuba. Black Cuban Doll. 10” Stuffed black cloth doll with pearl earrings, blue and white plaid head wrap and dress with yellow rickrack trim and blue ruffles. Given by John McDowell (faculty). 2000

Black Cuban Doll, Matanzas, Cuba
Caribb4. Nassau, Bahamas. Straw Doll. 16” Woven straw doll with orange straw pom-poms on hat, dress and shoes. Doll was purchase in Nassau at the Straw Market. It was a popular souvenir doll. The famous Nassau Straw Market burned down shortly after this doll was purchased. Given by Ruth Aten from a trip to Nassau. 1995 Straw Doll, Nassau, Bahamas

Caribb5. St. Maarten, Bahamas. Bahamas Lady. 12” Painted wood ball head on dowel frame with wood bead arms and stuffed body.  Doll dressed to depict current fashion in St. Maarten with flowered print skirt and head wrap. Given by Ruth Aten from a trip to St. Maarten. 1995

Bahamas Lady, St. Maarten, Bahamas

Caribb6A. St. Lucia. Topsy Turvy Doll.  6 ½” Colorful handmade topsy turvy doll. The dolls are dressed in bright floral and plaid cotton and represent married and unmarried St. Lucian women. This side of the doll dressed in the brighter colors is the unmarried woman. Topsy turvy dolls are a popular international form of doll that has been around for ages. Through the ages they have been tied to such folklore forms as plantation slave dolls (white and black) to hex dolls (human and pig) to cure warts. They are typically play dolls that represent a story that can be reenacted by reversing the characters. Doll given by Katherine Forgacs (student). 2004

Topsy Turvy Doll, St. Lucia

Caribb6B. St. Lucia. Topsy Turvy Doll. 6 ½” Colorful handmade topsy turvy doll. The dolls are dressed in bright floral and plaid cotton and represent married and unmarried St. Lucian women. This side of the doll dressed in the less bright colors is the married woman. Doll given by Katherine Forgacs (student). 2004

Topsy Turvy Doll, St. Lucia

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Central America

CAmer1. Mexico. Papier maché “Carmen” Doll. 6” Papier maché, handmade and painted pink body with sparkled flowered chest, painted shoes. Mark: “Hecho in Mexico”. Given by Candida Jaquez (faculty). 2000

Papier maché “Carmen” Doll, Mexico

CAmer2. Monimbo, Masaya, Nicaragua. Female Husk Doll. Set of 2 (CAmer3) 7” Handmade female husk doll carrying rolls of straw, dotted top, skirt with woven straw trim. Given by Katie Borland (student). 1992

Female Husk Doll, Monimbo, Masaya, Nicaragua

CAmer3. Monimbo, Masaya, Nicaragua. Male Husk Doll. Set of 2 (CAmer2) 8 ½” Handmade husk male, dotted top and straw hat. Given by Katie Borland (student). 1992

Male Husk Doll, Minimbo, Masaya, Nicaragua

CAmer4. Guatemala. Guatemalan Worry Dolls. 1” Six small dolls made of fabric and yarn. Dolls are in a wooden case.  Mark: “Handmade in Guatemala”. Description included: “According to legend, Guatemalan children tell one worry to each doll when they go to bed at night and place the dolls under their pillow. In the morning the dolls have taken their worries away”. Given by John Johnson (faculty). 1986

Guatemalan Worry Dolls

CAmer5. Guatemala. Guatemalan Female Doll. 3” Doll has red woven skirt; legs and arms are wrapped in yarn. She has a white yarn hat and black yarn hair. Given by John Johnson (faculty). 1986

Guatemalan Female Doll

CAmer6. Mexico City, Mexico. Mexican Girl Doll. 13” Mexican stuffed cloth doll, traditional woven striped and embroidered dress with lace trim. Black yarn hair with blue, purple and white ribbons. Given by Candida Jaquez (faculty). 2005

Mexican Girl Doll

CAmer7. Costa Rica. Female Doll. 6” Plastic souvenir doll from Costa Rica in traditional dress. Black fiber hair with pigtails and red ribbon. Rick rack trimmed dress with white lace apron “Costa Rica”. Given by Ruth Aten.

Female Doll, Costa Rica

CAmer8. Mexico. Mexican Girl Doll. 6” Stuffed Mexican girl doll, traditional woven print dress with white lace trim, embroidered face, black yarn braids with colorful ribbons.  From Ensenda, Ba Ja, California. Given by Henry Glassie and Pravina Shukla (faculty). 2003

Mexican Girl Doll

CAmer9. Guatemala. Guatemala. Female Dolls. 9” Set of 2. Female dolls with braided yarn hair and ribbons. Dolls are dressed in traditional costume with bright woven materials. Given by Polly Grimshaw (folklore librarian) who wrote, “Hi Ruth, sorry I missed you too. The dolls are from the highlands of Guatemala. I got them in 1964 when I was with the University of Penn. team who was working at that time (and for about 30 years) on the Tikai (in the lowland, rain forest) project. We had taken a break for a visit to the Mayan sites in the highlands and I stopped for market day in Chichicastenango where I chose these two dolls for my daughter. It gives me great pleasure to pass them on to someone who appreciates dolls.” 2000

Female Dolls, Guatemala

CAmer10. Guatemala. Guatemala Couple. 9 ½Set of 2. Set of dolls tied together at hats. Dressed in traditional costume and woven fabric. Given by John McDowell, (faculty). 1990s

Guatemala Couple

CAmer11. Guatemala. Male Doll. 8 ½” Male cloth doll on stand in traditional dress and woven fabric with straw hat. Given by John McDowell (faculty).

Male Doll, Guatemala

CAmer12. Southwestern Mexican Border. Indian Man. 4 ½” Carved wooden American Indian male, brown print top and green headband. Given by Beverly Stoeltje (faculty).

Indian Man, Southwestern Mexican Border

CAmer13. Mexico. American Indian Dolls. 4” Set of 4. Carved wooden American Indian dolls. Each carrying different things: babies, bow and arrow, jug on head. Dressed in calico Indian print cotton. Given by Ruth Aten.

American Indian Dolls, Mexico

CAmer14. Mexico. Paper Mexican Couple. 12 ½”  Set of 2. Male and female Mexican dolls made of printed wrapping paper and hand painted faces. Male is carrying a tray and female is carrying a stick and a pitcher. Tags: “Hecho En Mexico”. Given by Ruth Aten and purchased at a Southwestern shop in Nashville, IN. 1999

Paper Mexican Couple, Mexico

CAmer15. Mexico. Mexican Peddler Couple. 10” Set of 2. Male and female dolls with leather arms and heads, painted facial features, yarn hair, and cloth legs with leather sandals. Girl is carrying pans for sale, a baby on back, and has a full flowered red skirt. Male has woven poncho with red dotted cotton shirt and is also carrying cooking wares for sale. Given by Ruth Aten. Dolls were purchased in 1973 in New Mexico.

Mexican Peddler Couple

CAmer16. Mexico. Mexican Marionette. 15” Marionette with straw hat, painted face, cotton print outfit. Given by a secret Santa. 2002

Mexican Marionette

CAmer17. Guatemala. Woman Carrying Basket. 7 ½” Woman doll with body made of corn husks, dressed in woven material over black cotton dress with colorful ribbons, black yarn hair and carrying an authentic woven basket.

Woman Carrying Basket, Guatemala

CAmer18. Jalisco, Mexico. Mexican Woman Figure. 15” Lovely detailed painted ceramic statue of a Mexican woman wearing sombrero and flowered dress. Given by Patricia Hardwick (student) and purchased in Santa Barbara, CA. 2001. Patricia wrote: “She is also wearing a rebozo (shawl around the shoulders). Costume identified her as being from the Jalisco region of central Mexico. 

Mexican Woman Figure

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South America

SAmer1. Venezuela. Dancing Doll. 7 ½” Doll has a full flowered skirt with lace trim and a white blouse. She has black yarn hair and her arms are wrapped in yarn and bendable. Mark: “Venezuela.” Given by Ruth Aten. 1981

Dancing Doll, Venezuela

SAmer2. Peru. Doll Weaving a Rug. 5 ½“ Detailed and colorful handmade doll weaving a rug. She is dressed in traditional attire with a sombrero and black yarn hair. Balls of yarn and clay pottery are displayed on the stand. Mark: “Handmade in Peru”. Purchased by Ruth Aten in Epcot’s International Show, Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Doll Weaving a Rug, Peru

SAmer3. Brazil. Brazilian Doll. 4” Brazilian plastic souvenir girl with missing legs. She has a chain necklace, earrings, bracelet, and a fruit basket hat. A ribbon around her waist says “Roditi”. Given by Ruth Aten. 

Brazilian Doll

SAmer4. Peru. Mother and Baby Peruvian Doll. 12” Cloth mother doll with traditional woven dress. She has an embroidered face and long black braided yarn hair with pom poms. She is wearing a hat and is holding her baby and a pitcher. Given by Mary Ellen Brown (faculty). 1999

Mother and Baby Peruvian Doll

SAmer5. Peru. Mother holding Babies. 6” Cloth mother doll holding two babies with embroidered face, long black yarn braids, and rick rack trimmed hat. She is in traditional dress. Given by Ruth Aten. 2000

Mother Holding Babies, Peru

SAmer6. Bela Horizonte, Brazil. Mother and Baby. 13” Stuffed cloth doll with black yarn hair, embroidered face, printed cotton dress with lace trimmed blue apron. Mother is holding her baby with similar construction. Given by Inta Carpenter (faculty). Inta writes: “Ruth-something to add to your collection, it’s from Bela Horizonte, Brazil.”

Mother and Baby, Bela Horizonte, Brazil

SAmer7. Chile. Chilean Woman. 9” Female doll in traditional dress. Vinyl body, black yarn hair dressed in black suit over a white lace dress. Given by Ed Wolf (student). 2004

Chilean Woman

SAmer8. Santdiago, Chile. Chilean Cowboy ”Vaquero." 5” Small handmade doll, wooden painted head, hat, boots with spurs,  and cape and waving. Given by John McDowell (faculty). 1990

Chilean Cowboy Vaquero

SAmer9. Columbia. Columbian Male. 10” Hand carved wooden figure in sitting position. Dressed in traditional fabric with pink woven sash. Given by John McDowell (faculty). 1990s

Columbian Male

SAmer10. Peru. Boy and Girl. 9” Set of 2. Boy and Girl Peruvian couple has composition and painted heads and wrapped yarn arms and legs. Both dolls are very detailed dressed in traditional style. Girl is wearing a green sombrero; her hair is long black fiber hair. She has woven shawl, black skirt with trim and is weaving yarn. Boy is wearing a red woven top and hat and is carrying a pan flute. Given by Ruth Aten.

Boy and Girl, Peru

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North America

NAmer1. New Orleans, LA, U.S.A. Voodoo Charm. 12” Make A Wish Stick Pin. Hand-painted black cloth face on a stick, beads at neck. Tag: “Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo, Voodoo Happens, Marie Laveau, 739 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA, 504-581-3751, We ship”. This location was the original shop of voodoo queen, Madam Marie Laveau. Given by John Johnson (faculty) from the American Folklore Society conference in New Orleans. 1998

Voodoo Charm, New Orleans, LA

NAmer2. U.S.A. Corn Husk Doll with Churn. 5 ½” Corn husk female doll with fiber hair, hand on hip, and holding a churn. Given by Linda Adams (student). Linda wrote, “Dear Ruth, I brought you this corn-shuck doll from Berea, Kentucky. It was made by the Richey family.”

Corn Husk Doll with Churn

NAmer3. North Carolina, U.S.A. Corn Husk Doll with Goose. 9” Corn husk doll holding duck, long fiber hair braids, orange top and design around skirt. The ancient art of making corn husk dolls can be found worldwide. They were earlier made from the most recent crop of corn. In later years they have become a fine art craft and can be readily found at arts and craft stores, fairs, and festivals and range from very simply to elaborately detailed and embellished dolls.

Corn Husk Doll with Goose, North Carolina

NAmer4. Virginia, U.S.A.  Corn Husk Doll Carrying Basket of Flowers. 7½” Made of corn husks, straw hat, brown fiber hair, blue apron, carrying a basket with straw flowers. Handmade by Staynelle Marshall. Given by Patricia Sawin (student).

Corn Husk Doll Carrying Basket of Flowers, Virginia

NAmer5. San Francisco, CA, U.S.A. Skeleton. 4” Skeleton made of radio resisters playing a guitar from the Festival of the Dead. Given by Russell Aten (Ruth’s son) a souvenir from a telecommunications conference in California. 1997

Skeleton, San Francisco, CA

NAmer6. Florida, U.S.A. Seminole Indian Pin. 3” Small handmade Seminole Indian doll pin made of native palmetto fiber. Costumes are worn by Seminole men and women in festivals and “powwow” events. Given by Ruth Aten and purchased in the Everglades in Florida. 1999

Seminole Indian Pin, Florida

NAmer7. U.S.A.  Granny in Rocking Chair. 5” Handmade granny doll in rocking chair with red apron. Mark: “Made in Taiwan.” Given by Ruth Aten.

Granny in Rocking Chair

NAmer8. U.S.A. Amish Girl. 12” Handmade doll with mesh body and fiber hair. She is dressed in traditional Amish style of a red calico print dress with a blue pinafore. This doll represents a typical Amish doll form of a no face doll. There are many theories of why Amish do not allow faces on dols, photographs of themselves, or mirrors in their homes, but the most popular belief is that these images center on pride and vain and violates the Biblical commandment, “Thou shalt not make unto thyself a graven image”.

Amish Girl

NAmer9. Williamsburg, VA, U.S.A. Sewing Doll with Scissors. 3 ½”  Wooden head pincushion doll attached to scissors with blue ribbon. Tag: “Liberty” This doll was purchased by Ruth Aten on a trip to historical Williamsburg, VA. The doll is a replica of a sewing doll used in Colonial times.

Sewing Doll with Scissors, Williamsburg, VA

NAmer10 (Photo NAmer10A). Summerville, SC, U.S.A. Topsy Turvy Snow White Doll 9” Handmade topsy turvy doll depicting the fairytale story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This side is Snow White with all 7 removable dwarfs in her pockets. She is a stuffed doll with a pink dress and black yarn hair. The reverse side (photo NAmer10B) is the witch/queen. Accompanying the doll is a small book telling a short version of the fairytale. Tag: “Rosalina, Baby Collection, INC, Summerville, SC, U.S.A.”

Topsy turvy dolls are a popular international form of doll that has been around for ages. Through the ages they have been tied to such folklore forms as plantation slave dolls (white and black) to hex dolls (human and pig) to cure warts. Currently they are typically play dolls that represent a story that can be reenacted by reversing the characters. Ruth Aten purchased this doll on a trip to South Carolina.

Topsy Turvy Snow White Doll, Summerville, SC

NAmer10 (Photo NAmer10B). Summerville, SC, U.S.A. Topsy Turvy Snow White Doll 9” Handmade fairytale topsy turvy doll depicting the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This side is the wicked witch/queen wearing a hand crocheted blue shawl and is carrying the poison apple. The reverse side (photo NAmer10A) is Snow White and the seven dwarfs. Accompanying the doll is a small book telling a short version of the fairytale. Tag: “Rosalina, Baby Collection, INC, Summerville, SC, U.S.A.” Ruth Aten purchased this doll on a trip to South Carolina.

Topsy Turvy Snow White Doll, Summerville, SC

NAmer11. Eagleville, TN, U.S.A. Emily Cloth Doll 14” Cloth doll, blue calico print dress, white laced apron, embroidered face, yarn braids, painted shoes. This is a replica of a colonial homemade rag doll. Tag: “Emily – Times Past, 383 Swamp Road, Eagleville, TN 37060." Purchased by Ruth Aten on a trip through the South.

Emily Cloth Doll, Eagleville, TN

NAmer12. U.S.A. Cloth Rag Angel 7” Homemade craft cloth doll, green plaid dress with button at neck, painted face, white eyelet apron with patch pockets, yellow yarn hair, wings. Probably used as a decorative doll. Given by Ruth Aten

Cloth Rag Angel

NAmer13. U.S.A. Navajo Female Indian Doll 13” Handmade Navajo Indian doll in traditional dress made of purple velveteen with rickrack trim and beaded top and wearing red moccasin boots. She has leather hands, a painted face, mohair hair, beaded necklace and hair trim. Given by Kathy Figgen (student). 1980s

Navajo Female Indian Doll

NAmer14. U.S.A. Boy and Girl Indian Dolls 4 ½” Set of 2. Boy and Girl souvenir Indian dolls, plastic bodies, vinyl imitation leather beaded dresses, beaded headbands and fiber hair. Boy is crying and girl is laughing. Given by Ruth Aten.

Boy and Girl Indian Dolls

NAmer15. Mississippi, U.S.A. Choctaw Female Indian Doll 12” Detailed handmade cloth doll wearing traditional clothing and jewelry of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. She has a painted face, red dress with white trim, white apron with red trim, beaded belt, necklace, earrings, and headband with long black fiber hair. Given by Tom Mould (student). 1997

Choctaw Female Indian Doll, Mississippi

NAmer16. New Harmony, IN, U.S.A. Harmonist Doll 8 ½”  Plastic souvenir doll depicting a women from historical New Harmony, Indiana. She is in a blue dress with trimmed shawl and apron. Harmonists were a group of separatists from the German Lutheran Church from Harmony, Pennsylvania who settled as a communal (1814-1824) along the Wabash River. Dolls are in hand sewn traditional dress by United Methodist women in Harmony and sold as fund raisers. Ruth Aten purchased this doll on a trip to historical New Harmony, Indiana. 1998

Harmonist Doll, New Harmony, IN

NAmer17. U.S.A.. E.T. Doll 9” This doll is a stuffed orange stamped alien toy with blue eyes. These dolls were popular play toys depicting the Academy Award winning movie E.T. (Extra-Terrestrial) in 1982. Given by John Johnson. 1983

E.T. Doll

NAmer18. U.S.A. Roswell Alien Doll. 9” Stuffed red metallic alien toy doll depicting the 1947 Roswell, NM UFO incident and legend where some believe that an alien aircraft crashed. Tag: “Soft Things, Inc.” Given by John Johnson (faculty).

Roswell Alien Doll

NAmer20. St. Martinville, LA. Cajun Weather Forecaster. 6” Pink and purple yarn doll with moveable eyes. Tag “Congratulations, You are now the proud owner of a CAJUN weather forecaster. For best results, hang on a nail outside the window. If it’s wet, it’s raining. If it’s white, it’s snowing. If it’s stiff, it’s freezing. If it’s gone, it’s been ripped off. St. Martinville, LA.” Given by John Johnson (faculty).

Cajun Weather Forecaster, St. Martinville, LA

NAmer21. Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico, U.S.A. Pueblo Indian Doll. 12" Stuffed homemade female Pueblo American Indian doll with embroidered facial features, human hair, and a coral bead necklace. The doll was made by C. Rosetta (Schmitz) and given by Laura Marcus and Karen Duffy (students). 1996 The doll came with the following note from Karen and Laura: “This doll wears the traditional black wool, on-shouldered dress (Manta) of Pueblo women.  The manta is most often worn, as here, over a flowered, lace trimmed under dress and with a bright cape. Such dress is today worn for ceremonial dancing. Mrs. Rosetta even put a “coral” necklace on the doll: she herself comes from a jewelry-making family. She wants you to know that the doll is signed (on its bottom, and that it is stuffed with lint from the clothes dryer!”

Pueblo Indian Doll, Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico

NAmer22. Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A. Burlap Mother and Daughter. 10" Burlap sewn and molded mother and daughter. Mother is braiding daughter’s hair. Purchased in an arts and craft store in Savannah by Ruth Aten. Tag: “Village Weavers”. 2002

Burlap Mother and Daughter, Savannah, GA

NAmer23. U.S.A. Navajo Indian Couple. 7” Set of 2. Stuffed cloth male and female dolls in traditional dress. Male has velveteen top and white pants. Female has velveteen top with flowered skirt. Both have yarn hair, beaded necklace and silver belts.

Navajo Indian Couple

NAmer24. Branson West, MO, U.S.A. Wagon Train Doll. 15” Hand sewn stuffed cloth doll with button eyes, twine hair, flowered dress with eyelet trim. Doll is replica of a doll made on a wagon train. Tag: “Flat face baby in the early 1800’s. A child was taught to sew at an early age. She left the seams on the outside so when company came they could see what a good job she did. Back then company was a rare thing, so a child may have several things done to show how she had improved from the first project she made, which was usually a doll.” Made by Sandra Greene.   Given by Ruth Aten. 1990s

Wagon Train Doll, Branson West, MO

NAmer25. Tahlequah, OK, U.S.A. Cherokee Indian Buffalo Grass Doll. 11” Doll is handmade by a Cherokee woman. She is made of straw, braided hair, and wearing a calico print dress. The dress is called a “tear dress”. Inside skirt: “Buffalo Grass Doll by Lorene Drywater. Tahlequah, OK  74404”. Given by John Johnson (faculty). 2006

Cherokee Indian Buffalo Grass Doll, Tahlequah, OK

NAmer26. Gatlinburg, TN, U.S.A. Granny Quilting in Rocking Chair. 12” Beautifully detailed handcrafted granny doll quilting in a rocking chair. Doll is sculptured material, yarn hair, crocheted shawl, sewn calico dress and apron. Doll was purchased from shop specializing in Appalachian arts and crafts in Gatlinburg, TN. The artist was a local doll maker. Given by Ruth Aten. 1990

Granny Quilting in Rocking Chair, Gatlinburg, TN

NAmer27A. Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A..  Navajo Women 10” Set of 2. Handmade Navajo American Indian cloth dolls with mohair hair, painted faces. Traditional dress with beaded earrings and necklace, turquoise velveteen top and flowered patchwork calico print skirt. Given by Nancy McEntire (student). 1995

Navajo Women, Santa Fe, New Mexico

NAmer27B. Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A. Navajo Women 10” Set of 2. Handmade Navajo American Indian cloth dolls with mohair hair, painted faces. Traditional dress with beaded earrings and necklace, blue velveteen top and calico print skirt. Given by Nancy McEntire (student). 1995

Navajo Women, Santa Fe, New Mexico

NAmer28. Cherokee, NC, U.S.A. Cherokee Woman with Baby. 9” Handmade Cherokee Indian cloth doll with yarn hair and embroidered face carrying baby. Traditional dress, red scarf, beaded necklace, checkered apron and calico skirt. The doll was made by a 90 year old Cherokee woman. Given by Ruth Aten from a shop in Cherokee, NC. 1995

Cherokee Woman with Baby, Cherokee, NC

NAmer29. Copper Canyon, MexicoTara Humara Tribe Couple.  8” Set of 2. Hand carved wooden male and female dolls. Male is carrying bow and arrow with calico dress and female is also in flowered calico print skirt and blouse. Dolls are from the Tara Humara Tribe of the Copper Canyon.  Given by Ruth Aten and purchased at a shop in Gatlinburg, TN. The shop is a favorite of Ruth’s and the owners travel all over the southwest in search of authentic Native American Indiana arts and crafts. 1996

Tara Humara Tribe Couple, Copper Canyon, Mexico

NAmer30. Florida, U.S.A. Seminole Indian Woman. 9” Handmade Seminole doll made of native palmetto fiber. Detailed traditional dress with patchwork skirt and rick rack trim. Costumes are worn by Seminole men and women in festivals and “powwow” events. Given by Ruth Aten and purchased in the Everglades in Florida. 1999

Seminole Indian Woman, Florida

NAmer31. U.S.A. Little Princess Collection. 12 ½” Set of 6. Individually boxed set of Princess from Disney movies. Snow White (blue and yellow dress), from the movie Snow White; Jasmine (violet dress), from the movie Aladdin; Belle (yellow dress), from the movie Beauty and the Beast; Ariel (mermaid), from the movie The Little Mermaid; Cinderella (blue dress), from the movie Cinderella; Aurora (pink dress), from the movie Sleeping Beauty. Given by Sandra Dolby (faculty). 2005

Little Princess Collection

NAmer32. U.S.A. Harry. 12” Stuffed furry ape looking doll representing Harry from the 1987 Universal Studios movie Harry and the Hendersons. Harry also represents the urban legend “Big Foot”. Tag: Made in China for Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc. Given by John Johnson (faculty). 1990s


NAmer33. Hawaii, U.S.A. Hula Couple 7” Set of 2. Souvenir Hawaiian couple in grass skirts playing ukuleles. Dolls are a composition and bodies are a spring to make them move in a hula motion. You would often see these bobble dolls on the dashboard or in the rear window of a car. Given by Alfred Kina (student). Alfred’s home is in Hawaii and he always returned from Hawaii with a plane full of gifts and flowers for everyone. We especially enjoyed the beautiful leis he made. 2004

Hula Couple, Hawaii

NAmer34. Canawauki, Canada. Canadian Indian Doll. 10” Small plastic Indian doll with fiber hair and leather dress carrying a detailed woven basket. Tag: “fabriquê au-made in Canada”. Given by Giovana Del Negro (student). 1990

Canadian Indian Doll, Canawauki, Canada

NAmer35. U.S.A. Mez-itz Rap Doll/ Run DMC. 9” Rap dolls in a box of the popular Hip Hop group, Mez-itz. Three plastic dolls, microphones, and recording equipment. Made in China. Given by Fernando Orejuela, (faculty). Fernando teaches Folklore’s popular hip hop courses. 2006

Mez-itz Rap Doll/Run DMC

NAmer36. Memphis, TN, U.S.A.  Bottle Black Woman. 10 ½” Hand sewn  doll with soft sculptured head of nylon stockings, button eyes, painted features, yarn and leather hair with a checkered scarf, light blue dress with white ruffle and silver paper trim. The base of the doll is a beer bottle. This doll was made by Mary Matthews for therapy and in remembrance of her son who died from a drunken driving accident. Mary made the dolls by collecting used beer bottles around Memphis. The doll was purchased by Ruth Aten at a folk arts center on Bealle Street in Memphis, TN. 1997

Bottle Black Woman, Memphis, TN

NAmer37. U.S.A.  Madam Alexander Nun Doll. 7” The doll is a redressed Madame Alexander Scarlet O’Hara hard plastic doll. She has her original socks, shoes and pantaloons, but the rest of her has been redressed in a nun’s outfit. The shoes are tagged; “Made in Hong Kong”. The doll was given by Maria Heatherton (student). 1990s. Maria is a nun and came to Folklore to earn her Ph.D. She made the doll’s nun outfit and later wrote me, “That Madame Alexander Scarlet O’Hara doll was among the top 3 toys I ever loved in my life, and I’m glad she causes you to think of me from time to time. I wish I could see your collection of 200 dolls: wow!”

Madam Alexander Nun Doll

NAmer38. Cody, WY, U.S.A.  Indian Clay Sculptured Doll. 3 ¼” Hand sculptured clay Native American Indian doll. The doll was given by Russell and Lisa Aten and purchased at a Native American Indian arts and crafts shop in Cody, Wyoming in 1994. This written description came with the doll: (see envelope) “Gwen Palaszewski and G.P. Originals, Renowned for her love of the Southwest and for the whimsical sense of humor that permeates her art. Colorado sculptor, Gwen Palaszewskik is the owner of G.P. Originals, acclaimed as “the most unique jewelry east and west of the Mississippi””........New to the G.P. Original line are Gwen’s hand sculpted dolls. The dolls range in size from 6” to 12” and are uniquely formed in ribbons of swirled clay, creating a cascading effect…..”

Indian Clay Sculptured Doll, Cody, WY

NAmer39. Alaska, U.S.A. Alaskan Fur Trader 4” Handmade doll with molded head, stuffed body and dressed from head to toe in rabbit fur. The doll is carrying a spear or walking stick and standing on a piece of Alaskan birch. Tag: Reflections of Alaska, PO Box 91698, Anc. AK 99509. (907) 562-959. The back of the tag has a “Made in Alaska” stamp that guarantees that this doll was hand crafted by an Alaskan in Alaska. Purchased by Ruth Aten in Anchorage, Alaska on a vacation trip. 2005

Alaskan Fur Trader, Alaska

NAmer40. Eagle, Alaska, U.S.A.. Alaskan Mother and Baby. 8” Handmade stuffed doll of mother and baby, flowered cotton outfit with fur trim, sculptured head with beaded eyes. Tag: “This symbol is your guarantee that this is a genuine article, made in Alaska, handcrafted by an Alaska resident artist or craftsman. Doll was made by Sharon Hamilton, a resident of Eagle, Alaska. Eagle is a small isolated village in Alaska where they survive the winters by growing and gathering food from the land. As a resident said, “Here we prefer eating bears that lived in the woods and ate berries to bears that ate fish from a stream or river. Bears that live on berries are sweeter and not fishy tasting; they’re pre-marinated.” Purchased by Ruth Aten in Eagle, Alaska. 2005

Alaskan Mother and Baby, Eagle, Alaska

NAmer41. U.S.A. Colonial Clothespin Doll. 6” Small doll made of clothespins and dressed in colonial attire with a calico print dress, bonnet and white rickrack trim apron. Making dolls out of clothespins was a popular early form of doll making. Given by Ruth Aten. 1999

Colonial Clothespin Doll

NAmer42. U.S.A. Native American Indian Woman. 11” Plastic souvenir Indian doll in traditional buckskin dress with beads and carrying a papoose on her back. Doll has open and shut eyes and comes with a stand that says “Unique, Made in U.S.A.” Given by Ruth Aten. 1980s

Native American Indian Woman

NAmer43. U.S.A. Native American Indian Woman. 7 1/2” Plastic souvenir Indian doll in traditional buckskin dress with beads and carrying a papoose on her back. Doll has open and shut eyes and comes with a stand that says “Unique, Made in U.S.A.” Given by Ruth Aten. 1980s

Native American Indian Woman

NAmer44. Charleston, S.C. U.S.A. Colonial Woman. 9” This stuffed cloth doll is a replica of a colonial doll in a period flowered dress, yarn hair and black felt shoes. Doll was purchased in historical Charleston, S.C. by Ruth Aten. 1998

Colonial Woman, Charleston, SC

NAmer45. Louisiana. U.S.A.. Louisiana “Fishing Buddy” Cajun Frog. 13”   Cloth frog stuffed with rice and wearing a straw hat, green felt vest, and carrying a bottle of locally made Tabasco sauce.  Tag: “Your Fishing Buddy likes to…. Ride in trucks & boats-dig for worms-bring fishermen good luck-hide in pockets-lie for you about one that got away. “Fishing Buddy” is handcrafted in Louisiana and stuffed with locally gown rice”.  Purchased by Ruth Aten on a trip through Cajun and Creole country. 1997  John Lauden (alumni) lives in Lafayette and arranged for all of us to take a small flat bottom fishing boat with a local Cajun fisherman.  We rode through the bayou and saw many birds and alligators and were treated to local colorful tales from our Cajun guide.

Louisiana "Fishing Buddy" Cajun Frog

NAmer46. U.S.A. Woven Straw Doll. 7” Woven straw doll in basket weave design with hat and carrying a basket with silk flowers.

Woven Straw Doll

NAmer47. U.S.A. Kachina Owl Doll. 10 ½” Authentic handcrafted Kachina “Owl” doll with head covered in rabbit fur, feathers and nose and eyes to look like an owl. Painted cottonwood body decorated in shells on blue leather and skirt is an Indian design on vinyl. Doll is on a wood stand in a dancing pose holding feathers in hand. On the bottom of stand is the name of the doll and artist: “Owl, L. Joe”. Kachina means “Spirit Being” and the figures were religious icons. They represent a bridge between mortals and the spiritual world and give hope of prosperity and good health. Doll was purchased by Ruth Aten from a shop in Gatlinburg, TN that specializes in American Indian arts and crafts. 1992

Kachina Owl Doll

NAmer48. New Orleans, LA. Voodoo Doll. 10 ½” Authentic voodoo doll in painted cardboard box.  The description on front:  “Marie Laveau 1794—1881, Voodoo Queen, Casket contains: 1. The Original Marie Laveau Voodoo Doll, 2. Gris-Gris Dust, 3. Candle, 4. Live-Spanish-Moss, 5. Voodoo Pins: Red-Love, Black-Hate. Both Doll and Casket are Hand-crafted in New Orleans by practitioners of the Original Marie Laveau Voodoo ritual. The casket is lined with live-Spanish-moss, laden cypress, and oak trees located in and around the bayous and swamps of Louisiana.” Doll given by Ruth Aten and purchased at the historical Marie Laveau shop in the French Quarters in New Orleans. 2000. I have to note that when I brought the doll to the office, no one wanted to handle the doll and were leery of it. Voodoo is still widely practiced in the South.

Voodoo Doll, New Orleans, LA

NAmer49. Hawaii, U.S.A. Hawaiian Girl. 9” Plastic souvenir doll with plastic lei and grass skirt. Given by Lois Jones (Ruth’s stepmother). 1970s

Hawaiian Girl

NAmer50. U.S.A.. Iroquois Corn Husk Mother and Baby. 11” Corn Husk Iroquois Doll holding baby wrapped in red Indian calico print cloth. Mother has black yarn hair. She has a beaded necklace and is holding a authentic woven basket. Accompanying card: “Legend of “No Face” Doll. There’s an old Iroquois story that says the first original cornhusk doll walked the earth with a beautiful face. As the years went by she became more and more enamored with her loveliness.  Instead of tending to her chores, she spent her days gazing longingly and lovingly at her beautiful reflection in the ponds and rivers. Eventually the legend states that the owl took her face away as punishment for her idleness and vanity. A doll with no face also gives children a chance to use their imagination. These dolls were originally made just for children to play with.  But today they are valued as collectibles and there is no right or wrong way to make a cornhusk doll. Whatever the doll maker creates today is just as valid as the cornhusk dolls of centuries past. YAWAKO, Mary Lee Prescott, Oneida Nation, Roll #6307”. Given by John Johnson (faculty) 2006. John is part Cherokee and therefore very interested in their culture. He purchased this doll as a Christmas present that included a card: “Corn dollies are very traditional in Indian country.  I bought this one from the woman who made it. And by the way, the Iroquois nation are our (the Cherokees) first cousins. Even the miniature basket is woven correctly!”

Iroquois Corn Husk Mother and Baby

NAmer51. Texas, U.S.A. Gourd Head Lady. 13” Handmade gourd head lady in Mexican outfit with orange and brown print dress with bottom ruffle and gold neck trim. Head is painted with beaded earrings and flower in her hair. Body is molded felt with gold high heel shoes. Outfit is plaid with crochet trim and natural colored pantaloons. Written on legs: “Linda, 1957, Original”. Given by John Johnson (faculty). 1980s

Gourd Head Lady, Texas

NAmer52. Indiana, U.S.A.  Amish Doll. 17” Handmade, no face, Amish doll. Doll is dressed in traditional clothes of a plain cotton woven dress and pantaloons and a black bonnet and black shoes. This is a typical no face Amish doll. There are many theories of why Amish do not allow faces on dolls, photographs of themselves, or mirrors in their homes, but the most popular belief is that these images center on pride and vain and violates the Biblical commandment, “Thou shalt not make unto thyself a graven image”. Given by Warren Roberts and John Johnson (faculty). Warren and John would regularly attend flea markets together in search of collectable baskets, tools, and ratchets, and they purchased this doll at one of those events. 1990s

Amish Doll, Indiana

NAmer53. Ohio, U.S.A. Female Body Builder. 8 ½” Figurine of a female body builder wearing a green bikini and sunglasses. Tag: “Art Fusion, Made in China”. Given by Fernando Orejuela (student>faculty). Fernando’s dissertation was on body building and for research purposes he attended a body building convention in Ohio and purchased this doll. 2003

Female Body Builder, Ohio

NAmer54. Arizona, U.S.A. American Indian Doll 8” Plastic Indian boy with black fiber hair and calico print suit and headband. Given by Sandra Dolby (faculty). 2003

American Indian Doll, Arizona

NAmer55. Amish Acres, Indiana, U.S.A.  Amish Quilter. 16” Handmade stuffed no face Amish girl quilting. Doll is dressed in traditional Amish outfit with plain blue dress, off-white pinafore and pantaloons and a black bonnet and scissors on a cord around her neck. In one hand she is holding a quilted piece in a quilting frame and in the other hand is a basket of quilting supplies with a heart: “Rebecca’s Amish Quilts”. Written on her back: “Linda Brunt 93. Amish women and girls are noted for their lovely homemade quilts and are sold in Amish communities as a source of income. Ruth Aten purchased the doll on a trip to Amish Acres, Indiana. 1994

Amish Quilter, Amish Acres, IN

NAmer56. Southwest Mexican Border. Wooden Indian Doll. 8” Hand carved wooden Indian doll with mohair hair. Outfit is a calico print top and white headband. Given by Beverly Stoeltje (faculty). 2000

Wooden Indian Doll, Southwest Mexican Border

NAmer57. U.S.A. Small Corn Husk Doll. 1 ½” Very small but detailed corn husk doll carrying flowers. Tag: “Nan’s – 1995."

Small Corn Husk Doll

NAmer58. New Orleans, LA U.S.A.  Mardi Gras King Cake Dolls ¾” and 1” Two plastic dolls that were baked in Mardi Gras King Cakes.  Mardi Gras and the King Cakes are centered around The Feast of Epiphany and marks the twelfth day after Christmas when the three kings or wise men brought gifts to the Christ child.  King Cakes are served at Mardi Gras parties. The tradition is that if you find the baby doll in your piece of cake, you will be lucky and it may also mean that you are expected to host the next party. Given by Sandra Dolby (faculty). Sandy’s daughter, Alexis, lives in New Orleans and Sandy made many trips to the Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras King Cake Dolls, New Orleans, LA

NAmer59. U.S.A. Small Native American Doll. 2 ½”  Small doll with cloth head, beaded necklace and headband. The dress and body is an unknown natural material.

Small Native American Doll

NAmer60. U.S.A. Troll Doll. 3” Small plastic undressed troll doll with long pointed fiber hair. Troll dolls were created in 1949 by a Danish woodcutter, Thomas Dam. The dolls became collectible fad toys in the mid-1960s and again periodically from time to time since then. They are believed to bring you good luck and come in all colors, sizes and dress.  Some are highly sought after, expensive collectible dolls. They are also called “Dam Dolls”, “Wishnik Trolls”, “Norfins”, and “Treasure Trolls” depending on what company produces them. Given by Ruth Aten. 1980s

Troll Doll

NAmer61. U.S.A. Navajo Tourist Doll. 3” Painted wood (usually poster paint) with black face, green top, white and red skirt. These dolls are made and sold in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico to tourist as decorative dolls. 

Navajo Tourist Doll


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