Archive for September, 2012

This little doll was purchased at the Marshall House in York Harbor, Maine in 1935 or 1936 for little Betsy Evans, whose grandparents owned and operated the fashionable hotel.

The style of the clothes the German-made doll wears is more typical of clothes worn ca. 1845-1850. However, this style was also worn by a communal religious group known as the Shakers well into the 20th century. The Shakers (The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing) were one of many groups of people, including Native Americans, who used to come to the Marshall House to sell their wares to tourists.

The doll’s clothes appear to have been made by Sister Eleanor Philbrick (1899-1976), originally from the Alfred Shaker Village. When the Alfred community was forced to close in 1931 due to an aging and dwindling membership, Sister Eleanor joined the Sabbathday Lake Shaker community, which actively sold its wares in York. Sister Eleanor’s dolls can be identified by the dresses’ large yokes and by the use of felt and muslin.

Sabbathday Lake, located in New Gloucester, Maine is the only active Shaker community in the world.


                                          A second example of the mystery doll!

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This week’s mystery object is a bedkey! Bedkeys were used to tighten the ropes which served as boxsprings for mattresses  on early beds. The old saying, “Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite”, refers to the fact that the bed’s ropes had to be tightened from time to time to keep the mattress from sagging, and that there were often bugs in the straw ticking!


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