Saturday, September 20, 2014

Charlotte, the Original "Frozen" Doll

A Variety of Charlottes.  Courtesy, Theriault's.
Long before Elsa of "Frozen" there was Frozen Charlotte, my first antique doll.  Since she first joined my doll collection from the local Women's Club antique show in 1968, many sisters and even brothers have joined her.  One young man is anatomcially correct, and is identical to a doll once in the Mary Merritt Doll Museum.  The other Charlottes and Charlies range in size from a mere inch, less if you count some of the miniscule "frozen" Kewpies [yes, I now they are not Charlottes, but some strike the same pose!], to over 12 inches for a large, bashful Charlie. Some have red garters and gilded shoes.  Some have arms molded close to their body, and some have extended arms, like Charlotte I.  Charlotte II is a 2 inch bisque girl with a light brown wig.  My mother created extensive wardrobes for Charlotte I, glazed and brunette, and Charlotte II, she of the light brown hair.  Wax sisters and even wooden sisters followed.  One mysterious little child was brown wood, and looks hand carved, but "Japan" is incised on her back.  "Eva" is painted in white across her chest.  I've never seen another like her; I think she has something to do with Uncle Tom's Cabin.  Other Charlottes have molded clothes or bonnets, blonde hair, fancy hairdoes, pink lustre or black glazed complexions, their own furniture, moving arms, moving arms and legs [alas, bisque, not all-china!] They live in doll houses, shadowboxes, a watch case, on Christmas trees, in jewelry drawers, anywhere they can infiltrate.  Their portrait hangs in one of our bathrooms, and one very rare little boy rides a cigar and doubles as a whistle.  Legend has it such a Charlotte cousin started the legendary collection of the even more legendary John Noble.  I love them all, but love Charlotte I best. She and I have travelled many roads together.   Many hundreds of dolls have joined us, including many large antiques of china, bisque, wax, metal, cloth and wood. The sad song that christened her was recorded several years ago by Natalie Merchant on her album "Ophelia," a Living Dead Doll has parodied her, and a dessert was named in her honor.  None of this fame has ever turned her stiff little china head, and she wouldn't let it even if she could turn her head around!

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