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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Welcome to our New Follower!

Welcome with all our heart! You may also like our other blogs, including Dr. E's Doll Museum at For those interested in further sociological study of dolls and doll play, look up on Google Books Granville Stanley Hall's 1897 treatise, A Study of Dolls. It is a free book and very informative. I'd like to write a little bit about "magic" and dolls. To get a background and understand the importance of magic in early civilizations, read David Abrams' essay "The Ecology of Magic" in the Norton Anthology of Nature Literature. Abrams marries well the concepts of artifact importance with spirituality and nature worship. Like the Goddess figures addressed in one of our earlier blogs, other dolls and human figurines were sacred objects, sometimes imbued by their makers with spiritual powers, which later societies translate as "magic" or even "voodoo." While little Puritan children did have pastimes and toys despite the rigidiy of their upbringing, dolls or poppets were often associated with black magic, anf thus seriously frowned upon. I think there is a scene in one of the televised versions of The Crucible where a doll figures in damning an accused witch. Voodoo dolls are legendary for the evil they can allegedly perpertrate in the wrong hands, and Carl Fox in The Doll pitures a two headed, topsy turvy hex doll, once in the Mary Merrit museum, which I actually bid on when the museum as auctioned. Alas, I lost. I thought my bid would win, never dreaming of the interest in this type of object. Max von Boehn devotes entire chapters to the doll as magic/ritual figure, and and also addresses the doll as an object of ancestral worship in various Asian and African societies. A study of the Asian Immortals would be relevant here.
The interest in the study of material culture would be a good place to talk about the doll as a ritual figure, or in any of its capacity besides an object of play. Kachinas, certain santos, some of the tomb fibures, Mandrake root figures, and similar doll objects would make interesting studies. Also, Laura Starr in her 1908 The Doll Book, also free on Google Books and Kindle, also undertakes to describe magic and ritual uses of dolls.
Finally, don't discount the haunted doll movement; whether one beleives in haunted objects or not, one has to admit that there are many scholarly studies of them memories certain objects can invoke. We will continue our informal chronological study of dolls on this site, and include other relevant information of interest to our followers. The book on Metal Dolls is inching its way to publication, my hands are a little better, my typing not, and we continue to look at brick and mortar possibilities to house our museum. For more on how dolls affect people in various aspects of society, and for a study on their role in creatvity, look up
Elinor Peace Bailey, Mother Plays with Dolls. EPM Publictions, McClean, VA.1990.

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