Monday, October 13, 2014

Doll-A-Day 262: Skookum Doll

  Yesterday I showed you what I got at the Flea Market on Saturday. One of the items I showed you is the doll for today. It's this Skookum doll.

 Skookum dolls were first made by Mary McAboy in 1913. The dolls were so popular that in 1920 Mary went into partnership with H.H. Tammen Co., where she was head of the Skookum assembly division.She stayed with the company until she retired in 1952.

The dolls were produced in factories from 1920 through the 1960s, and were usually sold as travel souveniers.

Skookum dolls were made to resemble Native American men, women, and children,and were made in various sizes and styles reflecting different tribes and styles of dress, (albeit stylized versions.).

This particular Skookum is made to resemble a seated lady in a skirt. She actually has no legs, and was made with a flat bottom so she would sit. Other Skookums have legs.

Most Skookums look to the right. Those that look to the left are rare. Of course, my lady looks to the right!

Skookum dolls don't have arms, rather they are made to look like they have folded arms under a blanket.The wonderful miniature Native American blankets are the best part of Skookum dolls to me!

The first Skookum dolls actually had dried apple heads! (My Grama made some awesome looking dried apple people, which I coveted like crazy!) The dolls were so popular that within a year of her first Skookum doll Mary couldn't keep up with the demands using apple head dolls! Because of this, in 1914 most of the dolls began to be made of composition,a material made of sawdust, glue, and sometimes corn starch, resin, or wood flour.This Skookum lady has a composition head, which has some damage to it. Later Skookums were made of plastic. 
As you can see from this picture, compared to the one below, she looks a bit better since I pulled the top of her head back into place. The earliest Skookums had human hair, but later that changed to Mohair. I think this lady has Mohair hair.

See what I mean about her head? From this picture you can see that she is stuffed with straw or excelsior.

According to the word 'Skookum' "originated from the Chinook or Siwash traders of the American Northwest and has a few meanings.  The main one attributed to the Skookum doll is Bully Good! which means very good, excellent or large.  Some other meanings of Skookum are strong, good, brave, tough, best, powerful, ultimate, first rate, cool etc."

See you tomorrow for another doll.

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