Antique Izannah Walker Dolls

Welcoming a New Member to My Izannah Family

Yesterday this tiny antique Izannah Walker doll joined our household.
Yesterday this tiny antique Izannah Walker doll joined our household.

Earlier this week I purchased a small, humble, pre-patent Izannah Walker doll from Nancy Stronczek of American Beauty Dolls and Vintage Costume Jewelry.  Coincidentally Nancy and I were both selling dolls at the Jenny Lind Doll Show last Sunday, but Nancy didn’t bring this Izannah to the show.  I had no idea that we had even been in the same ball room for eight hours until Nancy pointed it out to me.  Which just proves that I really was working and not shopping!  A lovely display of vintage jewelery did catch my eye on my one quick circuit of the room and I’m pretty sure that if this tiny Izannah had been there, my internal Izannah radar would have guided me to her. 

Coincidences aside, I am just happy to have found her at all, and our near meeting in Southbury will simply add one more footnote to the long story of this little doll’s life.  As you can see she has been quite an adventuresome girl.  Somewhere along the line she lost her arms and legs and had them replaced with Martha Chase limbs.  Nancy speculates that this was done at the Martha Chase factory, as they offered “doll hospital” services there.  For the past 35-40 years she has been packed away with a group of other dolls to keep her company.  It is very probable that this doll has stayed in New England for her entire lifetime.

I just had to buy this doll.  I felt like she was asking me to bring her home and take care of her.  She needed someone who could look past all of her faults and sincerely love her just for what she is, without wishing she was something better or more beautiful.  Seventeen years ago I saw another very bedraggled Izannah Walker doll for sale in Brimfield, MA.  Most of her paint was gone, she was ripped, torn and grimy and I didn’t care a bit about any of that.  My husband Brian was appalled!  He simply could not believe that I would even consider paying $395.00 for a doll in that condition (I simply can’t believe she cost so little!).  He talked me out of buying that doll, the very first Izannah I had ever seen in person, which I have regretted ever since.  In the intervening years times have changed.  Yesterday, when he first saw this little doll, he told me “I think you did good”.  He is now more in tune with all things Izannah, whether he wants to be or not 🙂 , and the condition and price of this doll did not faze him in the least!

She's here!
She’s here!
almost there
almost there
Welcome to the family!
Welcome to the family!
"I've always wanted a little sister."
“I’ve always wanted a little sister.”
A family reunion!
A family reunion!
Happy to be together!
Happy to be together!

14 thoughts on “Welcoming a New Member to My Izannah Family

    1. Maybe… She’s in kind of rough shape, so I’m not sure how well it would turn out. This was mostly a rescue mission. My inner curator was yelling at me to do something!

  1. Paula,
    As a doll caretaker who tends to bring home dolls who are a little on the rough side myself, I can see why this little girl captured your heart! Her eyes, in your first photo, draw me right into her world. The roughness of her face around her eyes even looks a little like soft eyelashes. I just adore the old dolls who lack perfection and carry this much character. Such a sweet little sister. Congratulations!

  2. Congratulations Paula on your latest Izannah! I’m positive this little girl is resting easy tonight knowing she has come home. What a wonderful addition to your family… A year or two ago I wouldn’t have been as certain. But having had the delight of seeing your other dolls, I know you’ve made a great choice!). Charlotte

  3. I’m so pleased you found each other. A couple of days ago I saw her on Ruby Lane with “Sale Pending” and thought of you, little knowing she was already on her way home. The degradation of the painted surface does not detract from the beauty of the expression and the light of “life” shining from her eyes.Jane

  4. Hi Paula, your new doll is very sweet, I love her, did you give her a big welcome kiss like I did when I opened my Anna the day she arrived? My husband knew then that I truly adored her at first sight. He knew that he had bought me a doll I truly treasure. Your new Izannah is very fortunate that she got to come and be cared for by you. This reminds me of when I first saw Anna, and her couple of little boo-boo’s how I fell in love with her so fast and never gave it another thought, just bid until I win her. Just to have one Izannah Walker doll. ( I never thought I’d have 2 of them though) is a blessing to me no matter the condition. Our dolls are ours to have and hold forever, aren’t we so lucky to be so blessed. Fondly, Mary G.

  5. Mary,
    We are amazingly lucky and more fortunate than I can say! I didn’t give her a kiss, but did cradle her in my arms. Buying this doll was not something I had planned on. Like my others, she took me by surprise, which makes her all the sweeter.

  6. Hi Paula – I absolutely love your new Izannah doll! She is very, very sweet and no doubt she has finally found her way home after all these years! I just love the words you used to describe her – and how she just wants to be loved for who she is! She looks completely at home in the picture with your two other Izannah’s – really as though they’ve known each other before! I agree with your husband – “I think you did good”. Sometimes certain dolls just need to come home with you. This past September, I went to a small antique/craft folk art show, and in one booth, from afar, I spotted an antique doll. Upon closer inspection, she was an antique German metal head doll. Something I didn’t have in my collection. Her head is pretty much shaped like the German china heads. Paint on her head wasn’t too bad, but her body was, well, it hardly looked like a body at all. Mostly just rags and string from all of the repairs over the years. And no clothing on her whatsoever. I started to walk away, but then just couldn’t believe that I’d do such a thing! Clearly this little girl needed a good home in the worst way! So Minerva is home with me now, where she belongs. (Minerva is the name stamped on her head). And to top it all off, after I bought her, I stopped off at the cross stitch store on my way home, and low and behold, they had just gotten a new sampler pattern with the name of Minerva Ayliffe! The pattern is an adaption of her 1886 sampler. So clearly this little doll was meant to be. She still doesn’t have any clothes. Not sure what to do about that! She doesn’t have much of a body to hang them on! So sometimes acquiring a new doll is just meant to be! You were clearly meant to have this new Izannah! Thanks for sharing such fun photos! Susie

    1. Susie,

      Thank you. Now that she is home I need to discover what her name is. So far she is being shy and hasn’t wanted to tell me what it is.

      You understand exactly! Sometimes it isn’t logical or practical, you just have to go with your heart and not your head.

      I think you “did good” too. I’ve always found metal heads endearing. So far I don’t have one, but maybe someday I’ll find one that asks me to bring her home too. I’m so happy that you and Minerva found each other.

      My nameless little doll doesn’t have any clothes yet either, except for a pair of pantalettes and a sunbonnet. She is going to need a bit more before winter!


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