Artifact of the Month

Snow Baby Stuffed Toy
Donated by Ada Lee Shook

Snow Baby Frances Slaughter, circa 1915

This velveteen stuffed toy was owned by Frances Slaughter (pictured at right), who called it a "Snow Baby." The toy has no maker's label, so it may have been stuffed and sewn at home from a kit. The Snow Baby's vibrant rosebud mouth, large blue eyes, round rosy cheeks, and shock of red hair have been painted directly onto the velveteen; this would have made it more expensive than the cloth doll kits with printed features.

This Snow Baby, which dates to around 1910, may have been inspired by the bisque porcelain Snow Babies figurines made by German manufacturer Hertwig & Co. in the 1890s and early 20th century. The idea came from traditional German candies called "zucker puppen" (sugar dolls) which were used to decorate Christmas trees.

Frances Slaughter was born in 1905 in Goshen (Washington County) to Judge John Lionel "Lona" Slaughter and Ada Bevers Slaughter. Frances married William Carl Smith in 1926 and lived in Fayetteville until her death in 1994. The donor, Ada Lee Shook, was Frances' only child; thanks to both Frances and Ada Lee, we have a very good collection of early 20th century toys.

Photo of Frances Slaughter from the Ada Lee Shook Collection (S-2001-101-100)

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