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Title: Composition Doll
Identifier: 2006.5.6
Donor: Marilyn Varcose
Item Date: 1923-1930
Image Creator: Museums of Mississauga
Creation Date: 2006
Location: Bradley Museum

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Description: .1) A baby doll with a stuffed body and plastic (composition) head and hands. Hands are missing. The doll's face has painted eyes, eyelashes, eyebrows and closed mouth. The head has moulded brown hair. .2) The doll is dressed in a beige cotton jumpsuit with a square neckline having lace trim on the cuffs and neckline. The jumpsuit is short (above the knees). 3) The head is dressed in light blue plaid bonnet with string ties. The head of the doll is badly cracked all over; the stuffed body is stained. The jumpsuit and hat are faded and very dirty. Hands are broken away. The doll has a 'crier' which does not make any sound. History: Composition dolls overtook the market for bisque dolls in the early 20th century. Hailed by American doll making companies as unbreakable compared to bisque (porcelain) dolls, the novelty of the new material for doll heads, coupled with World War I, helped to bring down the once mighty German doll making industry and helped to make America the premier doll making country of the early to mid 20th century. Composition is generally a mixture of glue mixed with sawdust. Heavier and denser than papier maché, composition is easily moulded and is thus an excellent material to make doll heads. Composition was used to make doll bodies for many years, from approximately the late 1870s, long before it was widely used to make doll heads. Since the material a doll head is made from determines the type of doll, only dolls with heads made of composition are referred to as composition dolls. Composition dolls were made from approximately 1909 through the early 1950s. The height of the market for composition dolls was the 1920s through the 1940s. Today, only the rare reproduction or art doll is made of composition. The more popular styles tended to be Mama dolls, baby dolls, and especially after Shirley Temple, little girls and even teenagers. Mama dolls were toddler dolls with a mama crier; they often also walked. The vast majority of dolls had all-composition bodies jointed at the neck, hips and shoulders, with sleep eyes and wigs, although earlier pre-1930 dolls were more likely to have painted eyes and moulded hair. Composition Dolls, especially those with a heavily sealed or lacquered finish, are especially prone to fine cracks, called crazing. The crazing is caused by changes in moisture and temperature. Because so many of these dolls have crazed over the years, light crazing on a composition doll is acceptable to collectors, but it will decrease their value significantly. The advent of hard plastic and truly unbreakable dolls in the late 1940s led to the demise of composition dolls which only lasted a few short years into the 1950s. REF: www.collectdolls.about.com. This doll belonged to Alan Denison (1922-2004). The Denison family has a long history in Mississauga with five generations living on the original property first settled by William and Hannah Denison upon emigrating from England. They brought four children with them from England and they had four more children when they settled in here. William bought crown land (100 acres) from the QEW to the north and Indian Road to the south. Their son Daniel was born here in 1854 and became the owner of the land. William died in 1880 and Hannah died in 1881. Daniel married Margaret and they had two sons, Burt and Cecil. Cecil was born in 1887. The land was divided and Cecil was given the lower portion of the original farm and built a house (1029 Indian Road in Lorne Park) which was completed in 1922. Daniel died in 1914 and Margaret lived with her son Cecil in his house until her death in 1941. Alan Denison is the son of Cecil and Elizabeth born April 20, 1922 and is Marilyn Varcose's, (the donor's) father. He died September 4, 2004. Alan married Evelyn Ward in 1945. She was born May 19, 1920 and died October 20, 2001. Alan and Evelyn had four daughters, Marjorie, Marilyn, Freda and Janet.
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