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The History of Rag Dolls

By Lindsey Lewandowski ; Updated April 18, 2017
The History of Rag Dolls

Rag dolls have been popular toys for children for many years. Unlike porcelain, they do not shatter when dropped and they have been known to withstand rough settings.

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Rag dolls were introduced during the American Colonial period--1630 to 1762. Before soft cloth fabric, dolls were made out of corn husks, wood and wax.


Old rag dolls were made with cloth fabric for the body, dress and apron. Lace, string and yarn were also used for the hair. The doll's face was usually painted on by the children or just left plain.


A rag doll played a major significance in a young child's life. Oftentimes, during World War I, the doll was held close for comfort and support. The doll was usually carried wherever the child went and made her feel safe and secure during a hardship. Dolls were also used as "friends" when there was no one else to play with.


Rag dolls were a great money saver for families in the 17th and 18th centuries. Instead of purchasing an expensive doll at a store, rag dolls were a creative craft to make at home. Oftentimes, mothers would save scrap material from other sewing projects to be used for rag dolls.


The size of every rag doll varies depending on how much material you have or how big you want the doll to be. Usually, hand-held dolls were made to allow the child to have a comfort item when traveling.

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About the Author

Lindsey Lewandowski has enjoyed writing since she was old enough to know how. She kept a daily journal and would write everything from poems and song lyrics to the things she has done throughout the day. Lewandowski is now older and still loves to write and has contributed to sites such as Examiner and eHow.

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