Monday, December 15, 2008

McLoughlin Paper Dolls

Lois, my mother-in-law, found these paper dolls in an antique store in Florida and sent them along to me, the nicest gift I can imagine.

I especially like the letter at the bottom, which refers to the paper dolls and decisively dates them.

The lovely ink and penmanship is faded, but here's what I can make out. The letter is dated March 26, 1874, with a return (I think) address of Mt. Holyoke (Sem. --Seminary?), South Hadley, Mass.:

Dear Little Jennie:

I am going to write you a little letter, and send you these little paper dolls. I cut them out because I thought you would like to have them all ready to play with. I think they are very cunning.
The little book I thought you could read by this time.
I have been home on a vacation and have just come back to go to school again. Aunty Cooke sent lots of love, and wants to see Jennie very much.
Won't you ask mamma to write to me, and tell me if this comes, all right?
I suppose you go to school, and little Georgie too, by this time and have real nice times. Don't you?
One of my teacher's has been visiting at Hattie Brown's this [term is struck out] vacation. Her name is Miss Spooner. Have you seen her?

I can not write you any more now. So good bye, if you have not forgotten your old friend
Lillian Cooke.
Give my love to your mamma and papa, won't you? And a kiss to Jennie and Georgie.

Everything here was in an envelope marked, "Nannies Paper Dolls." One can only surmise that Jennie's grandchildren cherished these, too.


  1. What a wonderful, wonderful find, and gift!

  2. What a special treasure!! Thank you for sharing this as well as all of the other lovely paper dolls. I am also a paper doll collector, as well as my four daughters. This was one of our favorite winter-time pastimes, cutting paper dolls at the kitchen table. Whenever I would get a new book of dolls, the girls would just be frantic to sit & cut them. We always waited for a perfectly too cold-snowy day, got out all the scissors, envelopes, & pencils ( for writing names on the back, of course ~ ;-D) , as well as the beeswax, & would just have the funnest time talking & cutting our paper dolls! Now my oldest daughter is 19, and my youngest is 14 ( I actually do have a 12 yr old son as well, but he never did get into them quite the same! ;-D), with a 15 yr old & a 17 yr old in the middle ~ & each of them has their own boxes of envelopes filled with paper dolls ~ vintage, reproductions, & even a few homemade ones! Thanks again for this lovely blog, what a delightful way to share your passion!
    Sincerly, Cara