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Saturday, September 10, 2016

May, 2016 Meeting of the Birmigham Doll Club

 The May, 2016 meeting of the Birmingham Doll Club was hosted by Jill M.  Jill presented an interesting program on Martha Chase dolls.  Martha Jenks Chase began making cloth dolls for family and friends in 1889.  Izannah Walker was a friend of Martha Chase's mother and is believed to have been an influence on Mrs. Chase.   Mrs. Chase started her own company and began making the dolls commercially in 1891.  The dolls were hand sewn of stockinet and stuffed with hard packed cotton.  Afterwards the dolls were painted with multiple layers of oil paint and then the facial features were hand painted.  The dolls were made in sizes ranging from 8 inches to 30 inches.  Early dolls had jointed elbow and knees and the body was covered with sateen material.  In 1910 the Martha Chase doll company began making hospital mannequins to be used for training nursing students.  In 1913 the company began making "sanitary doll" which were completely covered with thick paint, were weighted, and had open nostrils and ears to teach little girls and new mothers to care for babies.  The hospital mannequins manufacture eventually became the main focus of the company.  After Mrs. Chase death in 1925, her family continued to make dolls and hospital mannequins until 1981 when the company was sold. 


Early Martha Chase doll
 

Note this early doll's sateen covered body and jointed limbs

Early doll with jointed elbow and applied thumb
Early dolls hand individual sewn fingers and applied thumbs.

Early doll with jointed knee and individually sewn toes

Chase Stockinet Doll trade mark located on the left thigh.

The back of the early Martha Chase doll

Hand painted hair and applied ear of the early Martha Chase doll
In the 1920's the dolls no longer had jointed elbow or knees
 
1920's dolls still had individually sewn fingers and applied thumb

Individually sewn toes


1920's doll with the trade mark on her right side, under her arm


Note this doll's beautiful hand painted eyes and eyelashes
In the 1930's the dolls and mannequins began to be made from vinyl cloth instead of stockinet.

This hospital mannequin has open nostrils and ear canals as well as internal tanks for teaching medical procedures to nurses.  This mannequin is the size and weight of a toddler boy. 


These small 16  inch all vinyl dolls were made in the 1960's
This vinyl 1960s Martha Chase doll is wearing her original costume.  

References:
Bradshaw, M. (1986).  THE DOLL HOUSE.  STORY OF THE CHASE DOLL.  Privately printed
Herrmann, E. K., (2008)  "Remembering Mrs. Chase" 

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