Doll Collection

Among my family treasures is a doll collection that came from my grandmother, Louise Salley Hartwell. My first name comes from my grandmother’s maiden name. As children, we weren’t allowed to touch most of the dolls, but just gaze at them high up in shelves. She found many of the dolls in her travels and collected them throughout her long life of almost 100 years. Here is a photograph of my grandmother on her Gramma Lou’s lap, with one of her sisters. Gramma Lou lived with the Salley family in Orangeburg, SC and taught all 5 daughters how to sew.   

my grandmother, Louise Salley Hartwell, on lap (1892)

  Here’s a group shot of some of the dolls from the collection.  

from my grandmother's doll collection

 This wooden doll is about 10″ tall and most likely has been in the family its whole life.  I have no information about her, but she looks very old.  


Her face is painted simply, but with an intense expression and it looks like moths have eaten her wool felt hat.  


Inside the silk dress hem is a cloth tag that has this written: 35-25:100-M in red ink.  Her legs and arms are simple wooden pegs. 


She has such a delicate little sliver of a nose attached to the wooden head.  

10 thoughts on “Doll Collection

  1. What a delightful doll. I imagine she was traveling through the grasslands and a bit anxious to arrive to her destination therefore her somewhat serious expression.

  2. She DOES have an intense expression. I wonder what the doll maker was thinking when she made her. I loved looking at your little curly headed grandmother. love, Beth

  3. The wooden doll is called a “Dutch Peg.” They came undressed and their new owner made their clothes. Florence Upton made them famous in her illustrated books. You can see more about them in Wikipedia. Sometimes they are called “penny pegs.”

    I collect souvenir dolls from other countries myself. I see lots of international dolls in the photos. The detail is amazing on them, isn’t it?

  4. I’ve always known them as “penny dolls” and have several myself. I have a large doll collection also, but yours looks truly remarkable due in part to its age. What a treasure! Do you keep them on display?

    • I have some of the dolls in a display case, but the rest are in a card board box. I’ll be bringing them out to have their pictures taken, so they can be introduced in future posts.

  5. So amazing to see all your history right in your own hands ! I didn’t grow uo with any family and have never had anything handed down. I think that’s why I love antiques or previously owned stuff. I feel like it has an energy like someone loved it enough to save it ! I like the group picture too – they all look very suspicious of each other !

  6. What a wonderful collection and memories! The picture of your grandmother reminds me of my granddaughter with the curly hair, no shoes and playing with her toes!

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