Sunday, May 4, 2014

Doll-A-Day 124: Alice by Madame Alexander and Happy Birthday Alice

  I know I still haven't shown you the other cool thing I got at the show, but that will have to wait. I realized I have a theme for the coming week.
  There are a few things that are just 'MY THINGS'. Some of them you are surely already aware of if you read this blog! Amongst the ones you don't know about yet are the Titanic, Dickens "A Christmas Carol", and Lewis Carroll's Alice books.Today is the 162nd anniversary of the birth of Alice Pleasance Liddell, the little girl for whom the book was originally written.

Alice Pleasance Liddell, in a photograph by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll).
  Alice was born,as I said, on May 4th, 1852, in Westminster, England. Alice was the fourth child of ten. In 1856 Alice's father was appointed Dean of Christ Church College at Oxford. It was there that Alice met Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a professor of  Mathmatics at Oxford. Dodgson became a family friend.He was a quiet man,extremely shy, with a stutter, and was much more comfortable amongst children. Mr. Dodgson first befriended Alice's older brother Harry. When Harry went to school Mr. Dodgson spent more time with Alice and her older sister Ina. Although friendly with all the family, Alice was his favourite. This is a G-rated blog, so we won't go into the ponderings on Dodgson's intentions, although there are many,(without much to substantiate them, I might add.)
  In July of 1862 Mr. Dodgson and the Reverend Robinson Duckworth took Alice and her sisters Ina,(Lorina), and Edith, for a rowing trip and picnic.

Alice, Ina, and Edith in a photo by Charles Dodgson.
It was during this outing that Alice asked Mr. Dodgson to tell them a story,as he often did.Mr. Dodgson did indeed tell a story.It was such a wonderful tale that Alice asked him to write it down for her.This he did, but took quite a while over it. He finally presented Alice with her gift in November of 1864, complete with illustrations he drew himself. The book was called  "Alice's Adventures Underground".
A page from the original hand written copy of Alice,now belonging to the British Library.The illustrations are by the author.
  Later Dodgson added the Mad Tea Party scene and the Cheshire Cat, and doubled the length of the original story.The book was published in 1865, with illustrations by Sir John Tenniel, as "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", with Mr. Dodgson using the pen name Lewis Carroll. The second book, "Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There", was published in 1871.
  There have been so many versions of the books printed since then. Many different illustrators have provided the pictures. Tenniel's are my favourites though. I love his grouchy looking Alice. The dresses Tenniel drew Alice in for both books have become the standard 'Alice' clothes, and are copied by just about all illustrators (or doll makers for that matter) who have followed. The real Alice actually looked nothing like Tenniel's or Carroll's illustrations.She had short, dark hair.

Alice passes through the looking glass, something I always wished I could do when I was a kid, in "Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There".

  Alice grew up in Oxford. In 1872 Queen Victoria's son Prince Leopold, came to study at Oxford. Leopold became friends with Alice's family.It has been suggested ,that he and Alice fell in love, but his position prevented him from marrying a commoner.(It has also been suggested that he was more likely taken with Alice's sister Edith, who was two years younger than Alice and one year younger than Leopold.)In any case, Leopold named his first child Alice,Alice named her second son Leopold, and Leopold was the boy's Godfather.
  Alice married Reginald Hargreaves on September 15th,1880. They had three sons in all, two of whom were killed in World War 1.The youngest survived and had a family of his own, including a daughter. He was named Caryl, but Alice always denied his name had anything to do with Lewis Carroll.
   Reginald died in 1926 and Alice eventually found herself in need of funds for the upkeep of her home.She sold the original Alice book she had been given by Dodgson at a Sotheby's auction for 15,400 pounds. After passing through a few other owners the book was donated to the British Library, where it is today.
  In 1932 Alice came to America to accept an honorary degree from Columbia University. During the visit to America Alice met Peter Llewelyn-Davies, one of the boys who inspired J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan". Alice and Peter Pan together. These days they'd call that a photo opportunity, but there don't seem to be any photos from their meeting.
UPDATE; I recently tried again to find a photo of Peter and Alice together after rewatching "Finding Neverland". This time it was easy!So here is the picture...
Peter Llewelyn-Davies and Alice Hargreaves in 1932.
  Alice died in 1934, at the age of 82
Alice Hargreaves in 1932, during her visit to America.
 The poem below prefaces Alice in Wonderland. The three girls mentioned, although they have different names, are Alice, (She's Tertia.), and her sisters.

Alice, far left, with brother Harry, and her sisters Ina,left, and Edith, right.
 Apparently research has found that the day was not 'golden' and 'dreamy', but rather cool and rainy.

 All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretense
Our wanderings to guide.

Ah, cruel Three! In such an hour
Beneath such dreamy weather,
To beg a tale of breath too weak
To stir the tiniest feather!
Yet what can one poor voice avail
Against three tongues together?

Imperious Prima flashes forth
Her edict to begin it
In gentler tone Secunda hopes
"There will be nonsense in it!"
While Tertia interrupts the tale
Not more than once a minute.

Anon, to sudden silence won,
In fancy they pursue
The dream-child moving through a land
Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird or beast --
And half believe it true.

And ever, as the story drained
The wells of fancy dry,
And faintly strove that weary one
To put the subject by,
;The rest next time' -- 'It is next time!'
The happy voices cry.

Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out
And now the tale is done,
And home we steer, a merry crew,
Beneath the setting sun.

Alice! a childish story take,
And with a gentle hand
Lay it where Childhood's dreams are twined
In Memory's mystic band,
Like pilgrim's wither'd wreath of flowers
Pluck'd in a far-off land.

  Today's doll is a simple one. It's a Madame Alexander Alice doll that's sort of a glorified version of their McDonald's one. She's the same size too, about 5 inches tall.

This one has more colour and nicer clothes and hair than the McDonald's one.Her legs are molded in white vinyl.

 I have chosen to display her in her box, so she has never been taken out.I'm not sure her dress is removeable, since her back is against the box.

Join me tomorrow for another Alice doll.

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