Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bicentennial Betsy

Betsy Ross Bicentennial doll

I have to apologize to all my faithful followers for my low number of posts the past couple months. Between the 4+ hours of swim team practice and meets per day and the Great Cat Adoption of 2016 and trying to get some actual work done, I  have not been able to fit in much writing. Swim team has ended and we have a few lazy days before band camp begins, so now I will attempt to catch up on posting. Even now, however, things pop up. I just returned from dropping my son's car off at the shop for a fix of a leaking something or other, and two days ago as I was (luckily) looking out the window I saw a small geyser erupt in the back yard, which turned out to be a broken irrigation line in need of repair. Not that I do much other than stand around in the back yard and hand various couplings and things out to my husband and son as they work to fix it. That sort of thing eats up an amazing amount of time!

I have gotten a surprising number of dolls finished, given my schedule, which I accomplished by means of staying up working late and waking up early. Some, such as the Effanbee Twinkie shown in my eye replacement tutorial, never made it into the blog before they sold. Due to recent events, I'm skipping over a few to tell you about my newest doll: Betsy Ross, the commemorative 1976 Bicentennial edition. You can find her and many other dolls in my Atelier Mandaline stores on Etsy and eBay.

The caption is incorrect; the middle doll is from 1976.

Betsy Ross is number 731 in the American Group series of Alexander-Kins, which I believe started in 1968. She always holds her partly-sewn flag and also has scissors in some versions. Only one wore the white starred outfit: the 1976 Bicentennial edition. She also had a tiny replica of Betsy's flag attached to her hand tag, which has sadly gone missing from my doll. You can see the doll in the photo from my Smith book above. They have mistakenly captioned it as the 1975 doll, despite the Bicentennial flag.

The new 1976 face
This particular version of the 1976 Betsy Ross is really special because she uses the newer Alexander-Kins molds. In 1976 Madame Alexander changed the face and body molds for their little Wendy dolls. The new face had puckered lips, which gave it the "moustache face" nickname, straighter, thinner legs, and a torso marked "Alexander" on the back. The previous molds were marked "ALEX." You will find Wendy dolls from 1976 in both mold versions but wearing the same clothing. I assume the Alexander company just used up their old stock before starting with the newer dolls, and most of the newer-faced dolls date to 1977 or later, so this one's fairly rare. I have not, in fact, seen another of the new mold Wendys wearing this outfit.

Betsy is also unusual in that she is nearly pristine. Her cap has some dust marks and her eyes stick open; otherwise her clothing is crisp and new-feeling. Her cap is still stuffed with the original tissue to give it shape! Her face and body are unmarked as well. It seems like she must have been kept in a box or case somewhere, if not her original box.

The costume is pristine.

Her mob cap has some dust marks.

The cap is stuffed with the original tissue.

Betsy's flag

The reason I wanted to write about Betsy Ross today is because I want to acknowledge the immensely important historical event that took place last night: the confirmation of the first woman ever nominated to run for President. No matter what your political persuasion, or whether the woman chosen would be your preference, this is a momentous milestone for our country. I have to admit, I teared up watching the convention vote. It's been fewer than 100 years since we American women have been allowed to vote at all, so to have a potential female President is amazing. I will never forget the time we were watching a television show in which a female president was portrayed and my son, aged five or six at that time, blurted out, "She can't be President! She's a girl!" The fact is, a whole lot of people still think that way, and our children will continue such beliefs until we show them an alternate reality. I so deeply wish Betsy Ross and the other heroines of our revolution and suffragette movement were here to see this!

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