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Miss Polly Jane


Edith Flack Ackley (1887-1970), a doll designer who worked from the 1920s to the 1960s, created cloth dolls, doll patterns, and doll kits sold in popular women's magazines of the day. Patterns included instructions for doll construction, simple embroidered facial features, and clothing. Forced to support herself and her daughter during the Great Depression, Eckley also made her own dolls and marionettes and published books to encourage others to start their own businesses. In "Marionettes: Easy to Make! Fun to Use!" (1929), "Dolls to Make for Fun and Profit," (1938), "Paper Dolls" (1939), and "A Doll Shop of Your Own" (1941), Eckley encouraged women to succeed in creating their own dolls and establishing their own businesses. Eckley's advice included wisdom about business ettiquette and comportment: she urged shop owners to be gracious to those in their stores, reminding them that well-treated browsers become customers, then friends; she also cautioned her readers about indulging in gossip, especially if they lived in small towns. Ackley succeeded as a doll maker and a businesswoman. By 1943, she had made about 3,500 dolls, and gave book talks, spoke on the radio, and, later, even appeared on early television shows. Eckley continued making dolls for two more decades, until arthritis. She died in 1970, but many of the dolls she designed remain. Modern doll makers continue using Eckley patterns to make simple, charming cloth dolls to this day.

  • Artist: Edith Flack Ackley
  • Material: fabric | yarn | ribbon | leather | lace
  • Origin: USA
  • Object ID: 114.5243
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