1997 “The Columbian Doll” – Classic American Dolls
- Pictures “The Columbian Doll” designed by sisters Emma Adams and Marietta Adams Rutta.
- Part of the Classic American Dolls set – the first time photographs were used instead of paintings or drawings for a large US set with different stamp designs
Classic American Dolls
32¢, First Class Mail Rate
First Day of Issue:
July 28, 1997
First Day City:
Printed for Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. by Sterling Sommer of Tonawanda, New York
Panes of 15 (Vertical, 5 across, 3 down)
10.9 by 11.1
Large tagging block over all 20 stamps, covering the stamps to the edges
Why the stamp was issued:
To commemorate American-made toy known as “The Columbian Doll.”
About the stamp design:
The stamp pictures a photograph of the doll against a blue paper background.
First Day City:
The First Day of Issue Ceremony was held during the annual membership meeting of the United Federation of Doll Clubs at the Anaheim Hilton and Towers Hotel in Anaheim, California.
About the Classic American Dolls set:
The USPS issued the stamps to commemorate American dolls that “reflect the tradition, heritage, culture, and artistic style from various geographical regions of this country.”
Each stamp design pictures a photograph by Sally Andersen-Bruce. Each doll or pair of dolls is shown in front of a blue paper background, tying the stamp designs together. The names of each doll are printed in small type below the bottom frameline of each stamp, across from the 1997 year date. They’re also listed in the horizontal selvage at the bottom of the pane of 15.
The set marked the first time photographs were used instead of paintings or drawings for a large US set with different stamp designs.
History the stamp represents:
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.