1997 Izannah Walker – Classic American Dolls
- Pictures an oil-painted cloth doll by Izannah Walker.
- 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 the oil-painted cloth dolls of Izannah Walker. Walker patented her process in 1873. Her dolls are said to resemble folk art portraits of 19th
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:
Possibly made as early as 1855, Izannah Walker’s cloth dolls are considered by many to be the first notable American dolls. Resembling the primitive folk art portraits of 19th
-century children, the simple beauty of her dolls has endeared them to collectors, and has caused their value to rise dramatically.
Ms. Walker first registered a patent for her dolls in 1873. According to family tradition, she struggled to perfect her work, wrestling with the problem of how to apply a resistant surface to the stockinet heads, arms, and legs that wouldn’t crack and peel. In relating the story, her grandniece said, “With this problem on her mind, Aunt Izannah suddenly sat up in bed one night to hear a voice say, ‘use paste.’”
Her complicated process involved layering and pressing cloth treated with paste in a two-part mold. The two halves were then stuffed, sewed, and glued together around a central wooden dowel. Hands and feet, with individually sewn fingers and toes were added, and the completed doll was painted with oils.
Hand painted, each doll had its own unique character; however, their distinctive features gave them a strikingly similar look.