The Austin Doll Collectors Society is an organization of antique, vintage, and modern doll collectors, dealers, and artisans. We meet on the first Monday of each month and our meetings are fun and educational. We begin with refreshments and socializing, and, following our brief business meeting, there is a special doll-related program and "show and tell." The Austin Doll Collectors Society is a nonprofit organization and is a member of the United Federation of Doll Clubs.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Labor Day Week; Peddler Dolls or Notion Nannies

During the Victorian period in England, peddlers and street vendors carrying an array of goods and notions in a basket or displayed on a tray traveled the city streets and rural roads offering bolts of lace and ribbon, sewing articles, costume jewelry, toys, and a wide of small inexpensive goods.  It became a popular pastime for women and girls to dress a small doll as a peddler, typically a woman, and fill her little basket or tray with all sorts of marvelous miniature goods, some ingeniously homemade and others commercially created.  The dolls were made from a wide variety of materials, such as wood, papier mache, china, or bisque and generally wore a cloak, a bonnet, a simple calico dress, and a white apron.  When completed, the peddler doll or "notion nanny" often was displayed in a glass dome.  Creating a notion nanny is still a popular theme for doll artists or a pastime for collectors, as it is a wonderful way to display a collection of miniatures.  This wood peddler doll from the collection of Elaine Jackson was carved by doll artist Helen Bullard.

This is an antique notion nanny with a tray overflowing with tiny trinkets, many homemade from beads, paper, and bits of lace or ribbon.  She typically sits under a hand blown glass dome.  Her character head is papier mache and she has a crude jointed wooden body.

Many of her goods are still labeled with tiny homemade signs, such as this offering of "dressed dolls."

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