Kathy Petersen’s Blog

What a doll!

Posted in Uncategorized by Kathy on July 19, 2009

An apple doll. Which I’ve never heard of before today. I found her at a yard sale — paid all of 25 cents for her — and spent the afternoon trying to figure out what she was. By looking through pictures on the internet, I found a doll blog, and wouldn’t you know it, she posted something about making “apple dolls” just a couple of days ago! Although my doll is black (perhaps from age), she looked rather similar to the pictures here. (One picture appears below; but you can find out how to make apple dolls by going on the link.)

apple dolls

apple dolls

And here’s my doll…

Full-body shot, front

Full-body shot, front

and the back.

Full-body shot, back

Full-body shot, back

She just intrigued me. Kind of, one of those “what in the world?!?” moments. And for only a quarter — I just couldn’t pass it up. My kids are kinda scared of her. And I don’t blame them — I didn’t show her to them at first, because I thought they’d be scared. When I bought her, I wondered if she could be a voodoo doll, since her body was rather soft (perhaps stuffed with cloth or something — although she does have some sort of metal wire in her insides that you can feel if you’re looking for it, and she seems to be posable, although of course I haven’t tried to move her like that), and her face is, well, creepy. As part of my research into her today, I looked up voodoo dolls. Lots of creepy stuff on voodoo websites! I would not recommend looking up that sort of thing unless you like stuff like that.

I couldn’t imagine what her hands and face were made from, because they’re spongy — certainly not wood, nuts, cloth, metal, porcelain, plastic — anything one might imagine a doll might be made of. But she was made from an apple. Astounding. But it’s actually more surprising to me that I discovered in just a few hours what she was made from. I love the internet! I hope that I will learn more about her soon. I emailed the lady on the link I provided above, but for some reason it got kicked back (maybe I accidentally didn’t copy her address correctly?); so I emailed another “apple doll” lady she linked to, who confirmed that it is indeed an apple doll, and said, “a very, very old apple doll.” That probably accounts for her color. Other possibilities to rule out is that a different fruit that naturally dries darker was used (something like a plum, because her face does look like a prune, but not sticky/shiny), or that she was painted black, for the intention of being a black woman. But she has blue eyes.

I’ve tried to find more information on her — pictures of black “apple dolls” but have come up empty. There is a website called “black apple dolls” but those are just a particular pattern of doll made with cloth — not like my little lady at all. Her clothes are partially hand-sewn and partially machine stitched (judging by the straightness and evenness of the skirt’s side seam, and the carefully hidden stitching of the rick-rack on her skirt. The fabric looks and feels authentically old — not a reproduction. She’s just… interesting. I’m glad I got her.

If you want to see more pictures, I’ve got them all uploaded here.


One Response

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  1. Marilyn said, on July 21, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Very nice doll you have there! Like you, I’m intrigued by her! She reminds me of a very classy maid or nanny from the New Orleans area cira 1800’s maybe. I really enjoyed getting to see and read about her!


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