Doll Making

by Joshua Heston

Dolls and dollmaking are scarcely inherent to the Ozarks, but, like many other forms of craftsmanship, the art has survived well in these hills.

And the memories attached to many a Christmas doll are no less dimmed.

From Virginia Snyder:

“I knew I wouldn’t have a Christmas gift under the tree that night.

“After the Christmas program was over, Santa came. He started calling out the names of children and — he called my name! I couldn't believe it!

“I carried the gift back to the seat where Mother and Daddy were sitting and Mother whispered, ‘Open it.’ I was so excited! Inside was the most beautiful doll I had ever seen, with a lovely pink dress, bonnet and little white shoes.

“I can still see that doll today and recall the thrill of that wonderful Christmas....”

— page 49, Virginia’s Song: A Country Quilt of Memories, by Virginia Snyder, Barnabas Publishing Services, 1996.

Growing Up

  • I’m growing very big and tall, Almost to my mother’s shoulder;
  • And though some things of course I like, In getting to be older,
  • My legs and arms have grown so long That father laughs and Bobby
  • Just grins and says, “Oh, gee, Pauline, Your knees are awful knobby!”
  • And uncle calls me “Spindle-shanks” And “Polly-doodle-dandy”
  • And says, “My child, be thankful that Your lovely legs aren’t bandy.”
  • It’s nice to reach high hooks and things, If anybody pleases,
  • But I do wish my family Weren’t all such awful teases.
  • I don’t know where to put myself When mother tries to hold me;
  • I wish she knew some comfy way To take me up and fold me.
  • Of course she’s always letting down My skirts and sleeves to hide me—
  • But, oh, I wish my bones would wait Till I grow up inside me!

— Edna Kingsley Wallace

Silver Dollar City dolls

Plate 1.


Plate 2. Vintage Kewpie by Rose O’Neill. Ralph Foster Museum Collection. January 8, 2008.

Memories of Homemade Dolls

I grew up in McDonald County and we “made do” there as well. In addition to clothes pin dolls, we had dolls hand-sewn from white feedsacks, stuffed with cotton and hollyhock ballerinas. We made “houses” by outlining the rooms with small rocks and served “tea” from acorn cups. We made ink from poke berries and climbed the tallest tree on the nearest hill and looked at the clouds and imagined what they portrayed. A rich childhood using our imaginations.

Marilyn Carnell, McDonald County, Missouri

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Arts & Crafts

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