Porcelain “China” Doll Head

Image of porcelain doll head.
Perry County: circa 1890-1910

Like the detailed Staffordshire transfer print plates used for dining, residents on the Illinois frontier also imported other goods from Europe, including toys. This porcelain doll head, along with other pieces, was recovered from a cistern at the Huggins Farmstead Site in Perry County. Hertwig and Company, of Thuringia, Germany, likely made the doll, and Butler Brothers, a Chicago-based distributer, marketed it. Butler Brothers catalogs from 1895 and 1905 describe and illustrate a doll with a muslin body and attached china head and limbs that match the archaeological examples. Distinctive features include hairstyle, arm shape, and legs decorated with painted garters tied in a bow.

The farm was owned and occupied by Thomas and Martha Jane Keen during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their children or grandchildren may have played with the doll in the early 1900s.

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