My reputation as an ass-kicking, macho all-American he-man precedes me; so I need not explain how excited I was to find myself with a legitimate work-related reason to buy a late Victorian porcelain shoulder head doll.
This is Ethel.
I found her ignominiously tumbled into a heap of plastic action figures and cheap jewelry on a table at the Kane County Fairgrounds. She was filthy but intact (I know the feeling) and marked with a ridiculously low price, which I whittled away to a shockingly low price.
Ethel is a "Pet Name" doll, manufactured by the German firm Hertwig. The Pet Name line was created in 1895 specifically for export to the United States, presumably because then as now American children were considered too unimaginative to do anything so taxing as name their own dolls.
As you can see, she's minus her original body, which likely was sewn from cloth printed in American flags or the letters of the alphabet. After studying a bunch of photographs of extant period pieces, I cut up an old cotton bed sheet and fashioned a new one. It came out tolerably well, I think, given that the sewing machine and I are still getting acquainted. All that's left is to embroider her fingers and stitch the whole assembly to her shoulders.
Before I do that, though, Ethel has asked leave to present her very striking signature series of tableaux vivants, "Impressions of Famous Women."
Mary, Queen of Scots:
And she says this one is either Ann Coulter or Jan Brewer:
(Don't blame me. Ethel's politics are her own business.)