I'd like to introduce you to Martha, my first Schoenhut doll. I named her Martha in honor of Marty C, a dedicated, long time Schoenhut collector, who the doll community will dearly miss. My prayers are with her family and friends.
Come on in and find out more about this amazing little girl, Martha.
Martha is making herself at home, playing with her little wooden bunny train, while we talk.
Since I bought Martha on eBay, I don't know a lot about her history. The seller said she purchased her from an antique doll auction. The previous owner had her dressed as a boy in a little sailor suit. This is a picture of her when she first arrived at our home.
You can tell from the way her hair lays (or rather sticks up on top), that it should be pulled to the side in a bow. This means she is a girl, not a boy, since her original wig is a girl's short bobbed wig. She either lost her bow somewhere in her past, or her previous owner removed it when they dressed her as a boy. It took a little work, but I restyled her hair, retying it on the side with a 100% silk ribbon bow.
She still has her original mohair wig, which is the softest hair I have ever felt. Here you can see how the mohair was tied to the wig cap and how the wig cap was nailed to her head.
Martha was so relieved to finally be a girl again, and she asked for a new dress. I got this wonderful dress, custom made in the original Schoenhut style, from Sharon in Alabama. Thank you Sharon!!! Martha loves her beautiful new dress, and so do I!
Schoenhut dolls originally came with one-piece underwear, called a union suit. Sharon also made her a lovely union suit like she would have originally had. The front has a sweet v-neck with lace and a bow.
It closes in the back with 3 buttons.
Schoenhut dolls came in sizes ranging from 11" to 21". There were dozens of different face molds, called character faces that were carved to look like real children. Each face mold has a different number that can be used to identify the doll using Carol Corson's book, Schoenhut Dolls A Collector's Encyclopedia. Martha is a 16/301, which means she is 16" tall and is a model # 301. Dolls with model numbers in the 100's are carved hair girls, 200's are carved hair boys, 300's are wigged girls, and 400's are wigged boys. Infants and toddlers also have numbers in the 100's range.
Schoenhut dolls are marked with their patent information. The earliest dolls had an impressed mark carved directly into the wood on their back. From around 1916 on, they used a decal mark.
They are jointed at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles.
Here you can see the metal springs in the elbow joint.
This is the back side of the knee, where you can also see the spring joints. The groove above the knee is called a stocking groove. The sock would come up just above that point, where it would be tied in place with a ribbon, tied tightly in the groove to hold the sock up.
Here you can see how this amazing all wood doll uses her spring joints to hold this pose on just one foot.
You might have noticed her grey circular stand in some of the pictures. Schoenhuts can stand beautifully without a stand, but they originally came with a round metal stand that had a short pin to fit into one of two holes on the bottom of either foot. Here you can see the two holes in the bottom of each foot. One foot is closer in the picture causing it to look bigger, but they are actually the same size (my camera does weird things like that).
Most dolls do not still have their original stands, but I was able to buy a nice replacement stand on Etsy from LovesofLisa (not my shop, but a sweet lady from Texas who is also named Lisa). Click here to go to her Etsy Shop. I would highly recommend her stands. In this picture of the stand I got from her, you can see the pin that is just 3/4" high that fits into one of the holes on the bottom of her foot.
When the pin is placed in the front hole of either foot, it goes in at an angle, putting the dolls foot in a walking position.
When the pin is in the back hole of the foot, the foot sits flat on the stand, giving the doll an upright pose.
Notice that there are two coordinating holes on the bottom of the shoes. I purchased the replacement shoes made in the original style from a very sweet lady, Maureen aka old_dolls on eBay. Click here to go to her eBay store to see some of her available shoes, but she will make any size and color you want. I would highly recommend her wonderful custom made leather shoes.
I love the little buckle that gives them the look of the original shoes.
One of the most remarkable things about Schoenhut dolls is their amazing ability to hold any pose you put them in. Martha can't wait to show you some of her feats.
She is either part gymnast or part ballerina. She can even stand on her head!
I am told that Schoenhut dolls and toys were once placed in elementary schools as a teaching tool to help children learn about the science of balance.
She never drops anything that I give her to hold either. My other dolls seem to just throw things down.
Martha is all wood, just like my other wooden doll, Hitty Etta. Click here to read about Hitty. At 16" tall, Martha is much larger than Hitty Etta, who is only 6 1/2" tall.
Martha thinks Hitty Etta is the perfect size doll for her to play with though.
Here's Martha with American Girl Samantha. At 18" tall, Samantha is just a couple inches taller, but her build and proportions are much larger than Martha's.
More to come...A few things you should know about these little wooden knot heads... they are very sweet, playful and demanding. Right away Martha wanted a sister and a baby brother to play with. She said she would get lonely if there weren't more knot heads around to keep her out of trouble. I'm not sure if that will work, but we shall see...
I'd love to hear your thoughts and questions. Please leave a comment below.