The Izannah Walker Story, cloth doll maker extraordinaire of the 1800s.

The Izannah Walker Story

Izannah Walker was born in Bristol, Rhode Island, in 1817. At the age of 7 she lost her parents and went to live with relatives in Somerset Massachusetts. In the 1865 Census of the State of Rhode Island she was listed as a doll maker residing in Central Falls. In 1873 Izannah obtained a U.S. patent for making rag dolls. She made the doll heads by placing several thicknesses of cotton treated with glue so that they would adhere together and hold the shape impressed upon them by the dyes. When these cloth forms were dry a layer of cotton batting or other soft filling was carefully laid over them covering the whole or the head and neck portion only and then in turn covered with an external layer of stockinet or similar webbing. The latter was  then fastened to the features of the cloth forms by stitches or paste and they were then placed again in the press. After they were taken from the press the forms and other body parts were filled with hair, cotton or whatever was suitable and available. The finish was then done by lovingly painting the face and other parts with oil paint. 
These dolls were adored then and still are today.

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