Skookum Indian dolls were designed by Mary McAboy of Missoula, Montana, and patented in 1914. Early doll heads were made of dried apples, but later of plastic and other materials. Indian blankets were wrapped around wooden frames. The dolls were created without arms but were wrapped with the blankets so that it looked like they had folded arms. The dolls' costumes were made to represent various tribes, with sizes ranging from two-inch souvenir mailers to three-foot store displays. Most were marked with a paper label on the foot that read "Skookum Bully Good Indian." You can learn more about these old dolls here.
|Two of my favorite nine-inch dolls...love the girl's expression.|
|This eleven-inch squaw with papoose was my third Skookum...love the feel of these old dolls.|
|Inspiration for my Sacagawea came from the old Skookum dolls.|
Sacagawea's blanket is made from scraps (from Sarah) from a Pendleton blanket, "The Spirit of the Peoples," which was designed in 2009 to commemorate 100 years of weaving America's spirit in their own Oregon mill. The directional crosses, according to Pendleton, symbolize North, South, East and West ~ homes to the Native Americans, who were their first customers. "Arrowheads denote the strength and good fortune that have blessed our journety thus far." (Pendleton Woolen Mills)
Sacagawea had been tossed about here in the sewing room since I made her a year or so ago, awaiting a few finishing touches. Last week, I spruced her up and gave her a bit of a makeover. I cut her blanket robe from an 1850 pelerine pattern, which I found in The Collector's Book of Dolls' Clothes, the big Coleman book, so her arms wouldn't be completely covered. (Yes, she has arms, unlike the Skookums.) I made her new unders because someone (?) made her first ones too small. And, best of all, she has a new pair of fringed doe skin boots (much like the ones Clay Basket wore in James A. Michener's Centennial. Guess what we have been watching these cold evenings while we sit by the fire?)
|This winter has been so cold that we often find Sacagawea wrapped in a buffalo robe.|
|A gathering of Skookums. There are twenty-five in my collection (just counted)...love them all!|