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In the early 1900s, Kathe Kruse, mother to seven children and wife to the sculptor Max Kruse, began doll making when her oldest daughter at the age of three asked for a doll with which she could imitate her mother's care of her younger sister. Kruse's doll for her daughter was made of a rolled towel with a potato for a head. Kruse improved on the dolls she made, eventually settling on molded cloth dolls made especially to be unbreakable, washable, and warm and cuddly. In 1910 she exhibited her dolls in Berlin department store display of homemade toys and won quite a following. She hired five women to help her make and paint dolls in her apartment, filling orders from all over Germany and F.A.O. Schwarz in America. Kruse spoke of doll making to the "Ladies Home Journal": "Each doll goes through my hands at least twenty times. I think this is the secret of their success: not the technical solution-a man might have discovered that-but to create a baby, an innocent, sweet, foolish little thing-this was only possible for a woman, a mother who several times has held in her arms a loving, heavenly doll."

  • Artist: Kathe Kruse
  • Manufacturer: Schildkrot
  • Material: plastic | fabric | glass | synthetic hair
  • Origin: Germany
  • Object ID: 114.879
  • Credit Line: Gift of Susan M. Yecies
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