Julia Beecher Baby Dolls, Missionary Rag Babies 1890s+
Beecher Baby or Missionary Rag baby dolls were made from 1893 until 1910 created by Julia Jones Beecher and helped by the ladies of the Sewing Circle of Congregational Church in Elmira, New York, USA. Julia’s niece Daisy Day received the first Beecher Baby doll, then friends and family began to request the dolls. The Beecher doll proceeds went to aid home or abroad missions.
The all cloth dolls are made of silk or cotton stockinette with needle-sculpted face and body, oil painted facial features, soft yarn looped hair. Beecher doll characteristics are stitched hands either extended fingers or clenched fists, fingers and toes are indicated by stitching, sewn joints at the shoulders, hips and knees, sizes 16 to 23″ tall. All Beecher Baby / Missionary Rag Baby dolls are unmarked.
The black doll shown, is attributed to Beecher but not proven, has a black stockinette molded face, brown cloth body, stitched eyebrows, black applied button eyes, red stitched mouth, black yarn hair. Images when clicked will open full sized.
Resources: Cloth Dolls from ancient to modern a collector’s guide with values book by Linda Edward 1997