AboutIn 1973 Pat Hatch saw her first black cloth doll. The doll was hand sewn and very worn, with almost imperceptible embroidered features. She was also large and soft and looked as though she had been loved dearly by a child. Pat purchased the doll. She found another several years later and slowly her collection grew.
Several years ago Pat's friend Roben Campbell offered to document the dolls. She carefully photographed and measured each doll noting construction techniques. She discovered guidelines for making cloth dolls in Eliza Leslie's American Girls Book, first published in 1831, and which included instructions for a black cloth stump-type doll. Roben divided the Hatch dolls into three periods between 1870 and 1930 based on Leslie's guidelines and the availability of construction materials. The dolls had their first exhibit in spring of 2007. The titles from that exhibit generally reflect the progression of doll types over the time period, The Earliest are the Finest, 1870 - 1890, Show Button and Calico, 1890 - 1910, The Last Stand, the Bottle Dolls 1910 - 1930.
It is important to remember that what Pat saw in her first doll is at the heart of her entire collection. The dolls were made with love and have been gently loved and cared for over time. Like all dolls they have brought joy into the lives of their owners.