Texas Tech University

Dolls

doll in white linen and lace dress

Circa 1900 Gibson Girl doll by Kesner with a bisque head and hands and leather feet. Gift of Mrs. W. H. Gilmore, TTU-H1984-193-001a

There are over 1,250 doll related items cared for in the Clothing and Textile Division. Of these 119 dolls are described as having bisque heads and date from the 19th century through the 1930s. The early dolls are beautifully dressed in time appropriate garments. One in particular is a Gibson Girl, shown at right, representing the ideal beauty of the era, based on the drawings of Charles Dana Gibson. Some of these dolls represent historical figures such as Stephen F. Austin and General Stonewall Jackson.

In addition to the fancy bisque head dolls that had to be played with carefully and were too expensive for the average home, there are many homemade dolls. In the beginning of the 20th century, the bisque head dolls were replaced by those of man-made materials, which became popular because they didn't easily break and were less expensive.

There are 442 dolls representing international cultures and were likely used to teach children about those cultures. There are 548 paper dolls in the collection plus their dresses. Separate from the paper dresses, there are 168 doll dresses and 199 doll accessories. Among the doll accessories are six beautiful doll quilts which were exhibited as part of the recent exhibit, Legacy of a Thousand Stitches; Quilts of the Museum of Texas Tech University and are illustrated in the exhibition catalog.

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