Saturday, August 12, 2017

More McGuffey: Ana, That Is

McGuffey Ana Trunk Set

I've been cleaning out my office lately in search of things to sell. We have had a string of bad luck, or at least big bills. If you read this blog you will see this sort of thing isn't all that unusual. It's a good reminder to save when I look back over past posts. Anyway, our air conditioner broke and cost $6000 to replace. Then we found out our oldest son has two extra wisdom teeth and that all his wisdom teeth are impacted as well as lying sideways and their roots are entangled in his nerves, so they all have to come out sooner rather than later. That surgery is estimated at $4000, with us supposedly paying $3000, but his surgery last December cost $2000 more than we were told. Apparently there is, as the surgeon says, a "trend" among insurance companies to suddenly not cover may parts of a surgery, claiming they are not "medically necessary." You might be surprised to learn anesthesia is no longer considered "necessary" to surgery. I guess we are literally supposed to go back to biting a bullet. So, since it seems insurance companies are trying to see how much they can get away with while the health care system is up in the air, I am estimating we will pay more than quoted. Next week another son will go in for his consultation. He has to have two teeth removed as part of the preparation for his bone graft surgery and we don't even have the bill for that procedure yet. So, anyway, in search of things to quickly sell and raise some extra cash I came across this set. I've had it so long I forgot all about it!

A reference photo from the Smith book series

I am certain this is McGuffey Ana, most likely from around 1938, in her original dress and hat. The dress isn't tagged but McGuffey Ana always wears a dress like this with a straw hat and has her hair braided and tied with ribbons. She has curly bangs over her forehead. My doll checks all these boxes. The only thing missing is the pinafore or apron Ana usually wears. 

This doll came in a box with another doll who seems to have been the "play" doll of the set. That doll has hair has a seam all the way down the back of her wig, so it was once braided, but it is now undone. Her face paint is mostly chipped away. She is wearing a dress I recognize as the "School Girl" dress worn by some Little Betty dolls but made of a calico print that was used for some of the larger McGuffey Ana dolls of the same period. All the evidence together pretty strongly supports this being McGuffey Ana. To find out more about the McGuffey dolls, please read my post about the Baby McGuffey doll I just restored.

The Tiny Betty and Little Betty face
The doll in this set can be quite confusing to identify. Her back is marked "WENDY ANN MME ALEXANDER NEW YORK". She sometimes has molded hair and sometimes wears a mohair wig. She is used interchangeably as a boy or girl. The face mold is called "Tiny Betty" if the doll is 7.5 inches tall with painted shoes and called "Tiny Betty", "Little Betty", or "Wendy Ann" if the doll is 10 inches without painted shoes. Although the larger doll is just under 10 inches long she is called a "9 inch" doll in most reference books. I usually just refer to this doll as "Wendy Ann" if she is marked with that name. This doll was produced in the 1930s and 1940s.

The restored doll

The doll is called a 9 inch doll but is nearly 10 inches.

McGuffey Ana can be identified by her outfit as I described above. If the outfit is not available this doll has a wonderful example of the McGuffey Ana hairstyle. I am not sure if her hair ribbons are original. They are certainly old, but I don't know if they're over 70 years old. The rest of her hairstyle is original, right down to the hair pins! My doll's bangs aren't as curly as some I have seen but this is clearly the McGuffey Ana wig.

The McGuffey Ana wig

I gave Ana replacement rayon socks and shoes that date to the same era as the doll. Besides her dress she wears pantaloons which are clearly original because they match the slip attached to her dress.

Her bloomers match her slip.
Her dress is red and white checked taffeta with beautiful details, like an attached pocket handkerchief. It has the signature Alexander square silver snaps. Her straw hat probably had floral trim at some point. I gave Ana a Chinese paper parasol to hold. It really opens and closes! A much later 1960s or 70s version of this doll wears a nearly identical dress and hat, and that one came with an eyelet-trimmed pinafore so I assume this outfit probably also had a pinafore with eyelet that matched the slip. The dress has some darkening from age in a scooped shape outline at the neckline which also points to a pinafore having been worn over it for some time. It looks like the pinafore protected the dress from graying in the areas it covered.

Her original dress

Dress details: see the outline of the pinafore at the neck.

The original box lot I got estate-fresh, as we say, contained this doll and the faceless doll plus the two Alexander dresses and then some adorable handmade clothes. I love to find stuff like this! I can imagine the dolls' little mommy, or in this case probably the little mommy's mommy, sitting and sewing for her "babies". The clothes in this set appear hand sewn, not machine sewn, and they are quite skillful, which makes me think an adult made them. The winter coat set is just charming! Ana has a copper-colored satin swing coat with real fur trim, a matching fur muff, and an absolutely sweet, slightly peaked bonnet.

Ana's winter clothes

For bedtime Ana has a warm flannel night shirt with a matching nightcap and panties. The panties are rather snug in the hips (Girl, I can relate!). There was a gingham mattress pad, or maybe a really thin pillow, in the box. I gave Ana a fluffier pillow from my vintage stash, a plastic baby doll, and a hedgehog-print baby blanket so she can make a doll bed for her baby and have a comfier pillow for herself. The pillow has some age spots.

Ana's night clothes

Ana's pillow and baby doll.
Another item from my vintage stash is this fabulous powder blue vanity suitcase. It fit Ana and her wardrobe perfectly! How I wish I had the sort of elegant lifestyle where I traveled in lavishly-appointed train cars with this sort of luggage! The case has minor wear from age. The latch works.

Ana's case

You can find Ana and many other dolls, including other members of the McGuffey family, in my shops. Link to them all from

As tough as the past week has been, as hard as I will have to work in the coming weeks, I am glad to feel the satisfaction of striving for my goals. For many years a family member has been constantly critical of me, repeatedly harassing me with "advice" about how I should lose weight, get a job, get a different job, go back to school, change my hair, parent differently since (in that person's opinion) my children are not as smart as other children in the family... basically change everything about my life. During this same period, however, this person has extended ridiculous amounts of financial support to other people who don't appear to do anything to better themselves, just take handouts. This all came to a head recently and I have been extremely upset about the unfairness of the situation, not the money exactly, but the gross injustice of the hypocrisy. My husband has advised me I have to just let it go, and I know I do. I feel like I'm getting an ulcer when I think about it. 

Today, however, it occurred to me as I was working that I can be really proud of myself. No, I don't make a ton of money, but more and more people are finding me through Google searches. I am becoming someone others come to for advice. I have no educational background in business. I majored in art and writing. I taught myself to restore dolls, built my business, marketed my brand, developed my blog, opened several shops, learned search engine optimization, and developed (and maintain) my own website, and I did every bit of it myself. And I did it all while raising three children, two of whom came to me with extra special needs. If I can do this I can get myself and my family through anything, and I can have the integrity that comes from knowing I pulled my own self up. And just in case you have a similar sort of toxic person in your life, please know, you can do it too!

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