Cracked In The Head … Reflections Of A Past Life In Vintage Composition Dolls (1)



The lady above is one of my little old attic dolls, a vintage composition doll exhibiting all the charm & character of age, of wear & tear, & what looks like years of being loved & cherished.  My interest in these old composition dolls is quite recent only starting about 2-3 years ago which is when I first shared images. 

Despite this little gal’s worn & somewhat battered face, the chipping & cracking including around her old glass eyes, it’s a sweet face with little rosebud type lips. In fact, the little gal looks like she could be a Shirley Temple doll.

Given that I have a few images to share on this topic, I’ve divided it into three posts this being (1).





Here she is with 2 friends.  The bodies, or parts thereof, are made of composition.   What is a composition doll you ask?

A composition doll is a doll made partially or wholly out of composition a composite material composed of sawdust, glue, and other materials such as cornstarch, resin and wood flour. The first composition dolls were made in the 19th century. They were marketed as unbreakable, compared to earlier more fragile dolls.

The one on the right, with non original black head, shows the ball-jointed body.  Yes, the joints are in need of some re-stringing &, yes, a hand is missing.  But I love dolly just as it is, as I found it, minus a head.  It was easy to dignify dolly by adding a head.  And I have no intention of changing dolly let alone admitting him/her to the doll hospital. 

There is something alluring about these sweet old composition dolls each one having a distinct personality & character, discoverable in its wear & tear, its cracks, chips & crazing.




Most times I have no information about a doll’s history, who owned it or how it ended up as I found it.  I assume a doll ended up the way it is because it was loved, cherished & admired by its former owner or owners.

And, no, I can’t bring myself to fix these darling dollies, or change them in any way, as that would kind of mean turning back the hands of time & history, of stripping these little ones of their life story, at least the story I imagine for them.  Keeping them as I find them, keeping them ‘as is’, amounts to the next chapter in their life, a story they tell me through their little faces, mainly.

I know, I know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.





Worn and grubby little hands with stubby, fat fingers.  One finger broken on her right hand.



And chubby little feet.




That little belly button (navel) is also cracked & chipped.  Somebody  loved this little gal.

To be continued in (2). 

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