Click any image for larger view.




Click any image for larger view.




(Above) Front of dress.

(Above) Back of dress showing newspaper backing.


Click any image for larger view.





Click any image for larger view.














AS IS PRONE TO HAPPEN IN MY SEARCH FOR THE BEAUTIFUL AND SUBLIME, I CAME UPON THIS amazing collection of handmade paper doll dresses on eBay made by a little girl who was born in the 1890s in Portland, Oregon. The eBay seller gives us the provenance of this collection and states that the creator was a girl whose name was Alda Carlson. Young Alda never married and kept almost everything from her childhood in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. This was her entire collection of dolls and handmade paper dresses that she made over 100 years ago, using crepe paper, wallpaper and sweetly applied lace, trim and ribbons. In many cases, she used newspaper as a backing for the dresses and a few are dated to 1905 and 1906, when Alda would have been about 10 -12 years old. Alda passed away at the age of 93 and the collection was acquired by the present owner who is selling it now on eBay. The entire collection consists of 5 dolls and over 80 handmade dresses.

I am impressed not only by the fact that this collection is so extensive, but the beauty and authentic love, care and use is something you cannot buy or recreate. These dresses are precious reminders of female childhood at the end of the 19th century and the dawn of the 20th. Hours and hours of creativity mimic the elaborate fine dresses of the day, some being this young dress designers own vision on fashion. And while the dolls themselves are store bought, it’s the doll of the little black child that is the rare one in this bunch.

I could go on and on about the visual beauty of these little icons of fashion, the honest, straight-forward and loving detail I see, but I am going to let my readers revel in these lovelies with no more commentary. Just... look.


Find this item on eBay here.

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