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!