he study of settlers' dolls reveals the rich history of the early Canadian pioneers. The ethnic background of the settlers, their creativity, their socio-economic status and the resources available contributed to the wide variety of dolls that existed.
One of the simplest dolls was the stump doll made from part of a tree. A piece of root or a branch was chosen if its shape resembled a person. A face was painted or roughly carved on it, then the "baby" was wrapped in a piece of cloth and a stump doll was born. Wooden spoons were also used to make dolls, with the face painted on the back of the bowl. More sophisticated carved wooden dolls with jointed arms and legs were sometimes created for older children.
The beauty and durability of cloth dolls depended on the talent of the parents who made them. Some had attractive embroidered faces, while others had painted features. Wool or human hair was added, and the clothing was similar to that of the child.
A doll that was popular with boys as well as girls was the dancing doll, sometimes called Dancing Dan or Limber Jack. Its wooden body was jointed at the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders and elbows, and had a hole in the back into which a stick was inserted to make the doll dance. It took skill to make the doll move in time with music or a song. This was a form of entertainment before the days of television.