1997 32¢ Columbian Doll
Classic American Dolls
Issue Date: July 28, 1997
City: Anaheim, CA
Printed By: Sterling Sommer for Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: 10.9 x 11.1
Designed by Emma Adams and outfitted by her sister Marietta Adams Ruttan, the Columbian dolls were rather simple cloth figures with charming hand-painted features. Dressed in cotton dresses, bonnets or caps, and hand-sewn kidskin slippers or booties, the dolls were subsequently named for the Columbian Exposition – the Chicago world’s fair – where they were first exhibited in 1893.
Until her death in 1900, Emma Adams painted each doll’s face with considerable finesse. After she passed away the work was done by less skillful commercial artists, but even so, all Columbian dolls are very much in demand. First produced in 1891, the dolls continued to be made until 1910.
In 1902, one of the dolls, named “Miss Columbia,” traveled around the world as an ambassador of goodwill to benefit children’s charities. Following her trip she was presented to President William Howard Taft, and now resides in the Wenham Museum in Massachusetts.
The Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art in Bellevue, Washington owns a collection of cloth doll parts and tools used to assemble the Columbian dolls. The museum’s Columbian doll and a partially constructed doll are shown together on the front of this cover.