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Nebraska Toy Stories
Toys for Girls

In the past, cooking, cleaning, and sewing toys taught little girls important skills in preparation for adulthood. Toy versions of mother's household appliances allowed girls to play at being grown-up, while dolls encouraged maternal feelings.

girls toys

From left, Lakota beaded doll cradle collected at the Red Cloud Agency, 1873-75; 1900 wooden doll dresser; doll cradle made from a real cradle used by noted Nebraska politician William Jennings Bryan, who was born in 1860; china tea set from 1880; two hand-cranked toy sewing machines; and nickel-plated toy stove purchased by mail order around 1918.


Left to right, beaded Lakota doll, early 1880s china-head doll, Omaha beaded wool doll dress, all-bisque Bye-Lo Baby, Armand Marseille My Dream Baby, Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls from the 1920s.

My Dream Baby doll

This My Dream Baby doll has a bisque head by German manufacturer Armand Marseille and a cloth body, about 1925.
Museum 4948-233

Terri Lee doll Cuddle Kewpie Kewpie and Terri Lee

From left, 1915 jointed composition doll with wardrobe, 1930s Cuddle Kewpie designed by one-time Nebraska resident Rose O'Neill, and 1950 Terri Lee doll with pedal pusher and Brownie outfits. Violet Gradwohl of Lincoln, Nebraska, introduced the Terri Lee doll in 1946 as a more realistic alternative to the dolls then available. Named for her daughter, Terri Lee was produced in Lincoln until a 1951 fire destroyed the factory. The company later resumed production in California and manufactured dolls until about 1962.

Marea Williams

Marea Williams is ready to take two of her favorite dolls for a stroll, 1880s.

tea party

These two young girls invited their favorite dolls for a tea party, 1890s.

kitchen cabinet

Esther Hartman played with this homemade child-sized kitchen cabinet during the 1920s in Lincoln. The 1930s rolling pin, cookie sheet, and toy canned food belonged to Carol Gillett, Lincoln.
Museum 9612-14

snowball fight

Ready for a snowball fight, about 1910. Photographer John Nelson of Erickson, Nebraska, took this shot.

doll buggy

Doll buggy that belonged to Mrs. Albert Wiedenhammer as a child during the 1870s
Museum 5860


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Last updated 25 May 2001  

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