Visitors to the museum are often surprised to find an extensive collection of dolls on exhibit. To many people, dolls are simply toys, objects to be played with and discarded or perhaps saved for nostalgic reasons such as having been owned and loved by a favorite relative - or perhaps the owner themselves.
Dolls are an important part of collections of museums for many different reasons. In addition to the companionship they have provided to generations of little girls they are also a reflection of the time and place in which they were created. They illustrate the craftsmanship and materials of the various eras as well as the prevailing fashions of the period.
The Wolcott Heritage Center has examples of dolls, from simple wooden figures and wax head dolls of the early nineteenth century to exquisitely designed china and bisque dolls from Germany and France in the mid to later part of the century and American made composition dolls of the early twentieth century.
Recently, the Center received two very special additions to the collection. The first, "Jutta Baby," the trade name of the German firm who fashioned her, is a 23" baby toddler with bisque limbs, stuffed body, blue sleep eyes and a winsome smile showing one tiny tooth. With a little TLC, un-matting the wig and some appropriate clothing from our collection, she is ready to greet visitors.
Our most recent addition is "Miss Elizabeth," a much beloved doll by three generations of little mothers. Miss Elizabeth, c. 1888 also has blue sleep eyes in a lovely bisque face made in Germany, the leading manufacturer of bisque doll heads in the nineteenth century, but unlike the Jutta Baby, she is a fashionable young lady with kid body and a trunk full of handmade outfits for all occasions.
Treasured by three generations, Amanda Elizabeth Zimmerman, her daughter, Jane Ford, formerly of Perrysburg, and granddaughter, she now, thanks to the generosity of the family, joins "Jutta Baby" and the many lovely dolls in the Wolcott Collection for new generations of Children (and adults) to enjoy.
Miss Elizabeth and Jutta Baby are currently featured in a special display in the Wolcott House's toy room