1880 Doll Farmhouse Photo Exhibit

Miniature 1880’s Doll Farmhouse

The Malabar Farm Foundation recently accepted the donation of a Miniature 1880’s Doll Farmhouse from Sandra Holden Brown. It was Sandra’s mother Carolyn June Holden who wanted it to go to good home. Sandra’s mother sadly passed away on June 22, 2021. Sandra provided these photos and descriptions for each room and its contents. The foundation is considering a possible traveling exhibit for the doll house in the future. For now we thought we would share this online photo exhibit of doll house room photos, description along with a brief history about doll houses in America. If interested in doll house miniatures exhibits visit this link https://cmcleveland.org/making-miniatures/

Elaborate cabinet-style dollhouses, in which the rooms on one side of a structure are exposed like the shelves and nooks of a cabinet, were popular among wealthy and noble-born Germans of the 17th century. These show pieces were designed less for play with dolls than as curiosities, as they were often filled with real miniature pieces of silver, as well as porcelain dishes from Asia. Tiny chandeliers hung from ceilings, working doors with real hinges connected adjoining rooms, and mirrors hung on their walls. Chairs were upholstered, beds were covered by perfectly scaled bedspreads, and wool rugs were laid out on hardwood floors.

Full front view of the outside house

Early American doll houses were largely influenced by their Dutch and German forebears. In fact, by the early 19th century, German companies were exporting a great deal of dollhouse furniture to the United States. As color lithography became common in the Victorian Era, the rooms of dollhouses were often papered with brightly colored wallpaper, while the exteriors sometimes featured patterns resembling bricks, shutters, porches, shingled roofs and glass window panes. American companies producing dollhouses on a large scale in the first decades of the 20th century include Bliss Manufacturing, Converse Toy and Woodware, and many others.

Left Bedroom View

LEFT BEDROOM-Tatting around bedspread done by elderly friend.   Pink chair made and upholstered by Mom.  Some of the little pictures from magazine Miniatures, custom flower painting.  Carpet made by Ruth Chambeaux, a friend, and Mom finished background of rug.  Framed piece on wall is an ivory cameo.  Baby doll on cushion from Miniature Enthusiasts convention.  Mom made all the curtains and did the hobnail work on bedspread. A friend made the tablecloth on the small table.  Mom made harp back chair with beads.

Den View

DEN– Furniture bought at a Miniatures convention and signed. Blue holder on desk has postcards from England in it.  Map on wall, Ink well with feather and bell pull purchased from magazine along with bottle and glasses and “scope”.  Mom made rug.  Books in shelf, ducks on top, spittoon. Painting above done by same lady who did floral painting in bedroom.  Basket picked up at convention.  Mom made leather wingback chair in one of her miniature’s classes (all glue must be anti-insects).  Architectural drawing rolled up in corner.  Dictionary and magazines. 

Right Bedroom View

RIGHT BEDROOM– Mom made curtains, tablecloth, cut the lace top from doily.  Woman wearing dress made from Thai silk outfit Mom wore to daughter’s graduation (1965).  Chinese chest.  Mom made quilts.  Teddy bear is JOINTED.  Slippers by bed, porcelain step stool and vase, toothpaste and toothbrush, comb.  Probably purchased Oriental rug.  Mom made stitched towels.  Bed warmer. Drawers on furniture all open. 

Living Room View

LIVING ROOM– Long bench and coffee table bought at convention.  Book is old-fashion photo album.  Magazine holder and mini newspaper on blueprint chair.  Mom made floral wingback chair.  Fireplace and andirons, old fashion clock, spittoon.  Wrought iron chair in front of needlepoint frame.  Purchased rugs, woven, used bed coverlet woven technique.  Vase at bottom of stairs. 

Kitchen View

KITCHEN -Table, chairs, and hutch are all made by man whose signature is on them. Joy of Cooking book, small glass fruit, donuts on a plate, salt and pepper shaker, vegetables in wooden bowl, braid rug made by daughter from embroidery floss.  Rug beater.  Wooden spice cabinet with cow on top, rocker purchased, package on top, cat stopping, old crock, oblong stool, dishes, baskets, pitcher, old telephone on wall with calendar, three old fashion crocks on ice box.  Candles and keys hanging on board.  Coffee mill, jars Mom put stuff in to look like canned goods, grinder, rolling pin, bowl with wooden grinder, baking pans below.  Chest has board that pulls out.  Mom made curtains and stenciled edges, hanging flower with macrame holder, rooster on wall. Big metal cooking pots on floor, sweeper, coal or wood bin, match box on the wall.  Stove with tea kettle, clock, loaf of bread, some pots and crock.  Water pump, old fashioned sink.  Mom made the skirt, same as curtains, basket on counter with odds and ends, box of Cheers soap, cutting board, horseshoe above door, basket, wringer from washing machine, basket with apples Mom made.  Laundry buckets, dustpan.  Mom made woven rag rug.  Cat in basket, brass Bundt pan, mom made cushion on rocker, basket of yarn Mom made.  Porcelain canisters on shelf. 

Attic View under roof with full rear view of house

ATTIC– Christmas trees, mini presents, raggedy Ann doll in container, old fashioned doll, birdcage, big pottery, caned chair, porcelain bowl and pitcher, chair, leather chest made by Mom, round table, Mom made doll carrier, and started a wicker chair.  doll and toy chest, old sewing machine, butter churn, little basket with sewing stuff,