Monday, May 30, 2011

Antique Snow Baby Doll

Who is this cutie? A Snow Baby Doll, from the early 1900s. And she's not just cute: she has a fascinating history, too.

In 1893, Marie Peary was born in the wilds of Greenland, the daughter and first child of Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary and his wife Josephine. "Society" was shocked that he had taken his wife along on this expedition, and were concerned for the child's health, but she and her mother seemed to thrive in the Arctic. Mrs. Peary, a former society figure herself, actually hunted caribou and fought off attacking walruses alongside her husband and their guides. Marie and her mother accompanied Peary on several more trips, and photographs of blond, blue eyed Marie dressed in her Arctic furs made it back to America, where enthralled readers followed her exploits in the newspapers. Entrepreneurs were quick to capitalize on Marie's popularity, and produced this novelty, the Snow Baby Doll, in many forms. The best were delightful likenesses of Marie, and appear to be based on this most famous photo.

This example is tissue mint in its original box, which is covered with blue paper dotted with white stars, reminiscent of the polar sky. The doll is 11 inches tall, with a bisque head inserted into a wool bodysuit, the hood still tied with its original ribbon. Integral white felt mittens and boots, trimmed with red laces, distinguish the Snow Baby from the otherwise similar Teddy Girl or Teddy Doll.

A wonderful book about Marie Peary's Snow Baby years was recently released; read about it  here. It's full of incredible images of Marie, her parents, and their adventures.


  1. Wowie Zowie. What a fun post - and all news to me. Marie Peary was adorable.

  2. Is that beautiful doll in your collection Tracy?
    What a wonderful story and how beautiful that example is! Wow...just gorgeous!
    Thanks for sharing!
    That's exactly why you're my "go to" girl for information!

  3. Yep! One of my favorite local antique dealers found her for me. I've wanted one for a long time, and this is the nicest I've ever seen.

  4. I had to come back and look again. She is amazing.

  5. Thanks! I find myself taking her out of her box and looking at her all the time, too: she's just captivating.