Martha Jenks Chase began making handmade cloth dolls around 1899 in Pawtucket, RI. Martha was the daughter of a doctor, married a doctor and the couple had seven children.
Martha Chase was inspired by her own childhood Izannah Walker cloth doll. Chase’s dolls are made of cloth stockinette, oil painted and then varnished, dolls have jointed elbows and knees, painted facial features and hair and the body is stuffed with cotton.
ca. 1899+ Martha Chase Child doll, ca. 1920s , 16″ tall, cloth stockinette doll stuffed with cotton, with hand painted facial features and a bobbed hair style (popular during this era). Martha Chase cloth dolls made in the 1930s are characterized by painted hair with a side part.
ca. 1910s+ Martha Chase Hospital doll, 25″ tall, painted cloth stockinette, with painted facial feature, jointed at the shoulders and hips, later dolls do not have the jointed elbows or knees. The body stamp will now reads “Chase Hospital Doll”.
1921+ Chase Character dolls from the Lewis Carroll 1865 book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Alice, the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, Duchess and her frog footman, The character twin chubby brothers Tweedledee and Tweedledum, black Mammy dolls, Dickens characters, Lady dolls, George Washington, plus others. Some the Alice character dolls were reproduced by the Strong Museum in the late 1990s.
Martha Chase passed away in 1925, her family carried on her doll legacy until 1981 when her the business was sold.