In 1988 Bernice Lang donated her doll collection to History Colorado. Currently, staff and volunteers are working on the collection, originally started by Bernice’s mother, Minnie Belle Jackson, who came to Colorado by wagon as a child in 1867.
The project recently uncovered a doll with the inscription, “This was my favorite doll on our covered wagon trip to Kansas in 1878 May Tucker.” A little research revealed that the doll, owned at one time by May Tucker and acquired by Bernice’s mother and eventually Bernice herself, was manufactured by the German company Alt, Beck and Gottschalck (ABG). It’s what’s known as a china head doll, because the doll’s head and shoulders are of glazed porcelain—what we in America call china. For hundreds of years, the German province of Thuringia, where ABG was located, produced more dolls and toys than any country in the world. Rich with abundant deposits of quartz, feldspar and kaolin—the white clay used for porcelain production—Germany produced and exported millions of china doll parts yearly, including those used to make this doll. Continue reading “O’ My Sweet Highland Mary”