10:19 PM

Welcome back to my blog....As you can see by the image above, I am still hypnotized by the little girl above holding her Izannah Walker doll. I bought this image last May at Brimfield Antique Show near Sturbridge Village Massachusetts and posted it several blogs ago. The image needed conservation and if you remember I promised to do just that. It looks great doesn't it? Click the image to see an enlargement.

So, just before I sent it up to Canada to Mike Robinson (centurydarkroom@sympatico.ca), I ordered a couple of doll books and learned a bunch about the back ground about early dolls. You know it's funny how something can stir your curiosity to the point you surf the web, buy a book or email several historical doll makers, just like I did. Dixie from the blog Izannah Walker Chronicles and Gail Wilson were so willing to share information and I certainly appreciate hearing about how passionate they are about their field.

I have high hopes to have a copy of this first generation Izannah Walker doll made to keep with the daguerreotype. There is something better about seeing the object in 3-D rather than seeing a photograph. That's why it is so great to go to the Arabia Museum....but you already know that.

So, again I am side tracked from my Steamboat Arabia project while writing up an article for the Daguerreian Society's Newsletter. It might seem like this scenic path keeps me from my project, but, in reality anything I learn adds to understanding the 1850s better- Yes-- even dolls.

OK, I hear you, what did I learn this time? My list could be very long....but I was reminded that nothing I think is cast in stone and I need to be open to new information. Let me cite one example. I posted in my previous blog,
"Just who this little girl was....we will never know....and since the frame or mat did not have any identification marks, we don't know where this photograph was taken or who took it. It could be anywhere U.S.A."
I really thought I would never find any solid documentation who this little girl was, but I did. I decided to open up the back of the frame and check if anything was written on the back. To my delight I saw a name. Mary Ella Jenks. Ancestory.com helped me find that she was born in 1850 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island (aka. Central Falls) in the same town the doll maker, Ms. Izannah Walker lived. Mary died in 1923 and I can only assume the image was kept in the family until recently when the dealer attended an antique show in Providence, Rhode Island.

Books mentioned that Ms. Walker was close friends with the Jenks family who were the original founders to Pawtucket Rhode Island. Also, there is mention that Ms. Walker gave dolls to Martha Wheaton Chase (another doll maker, cousin to Mary and born 1851) and other children in town. Then there is a reference to a a memoir by Mary's father I haven't read yet and I might be able to get a copy from the Providence Historical Society.

Obviously, Mary inserted her name in the frame when she was 49 on the card stock dated 1899. I had this documentation turned facing outward and covered with a piece of glass. Mike found the second name identification for Mrs. N. Howard Easton (aks Mary Ella Jenks). Lastly, I had a tag taped on the frame that says, Collection of Elizabeth B. Isenburg and conservation by Mike Robinson 2011 because we are part of history too.

Here's a close up of the doll's head. I am so glad I had it cleaned because this image should be around another 150 years. Enjoy the image and hopefully you will find something inspiring to investigate too. I promise to get back on track working on my book after the holidays.