Black Dolls From The Past

Conserving Cloth Dolls 


Norah Wellings



Beautiful Black  Artist Dolls







I find it very enjoyable to  examine my Norah Wellings Collection for damage before the Christmas crazies. I  look for moths,  sunlight and doll stand casualties.   

"Norah Wellings Black dolls are amongst the best designed in the whole history of dolls to date," according to Albert Elia, Doll Reader Magazine, December 1988, page 76.   I agree! These dolls capture the beauty of ethnic faces without exaggerated facial  features. The facial painting is simply divine.  The cloth dolls  usually have single stroke eyebrows and lashes that can be clearly seen against the rich  beige and brown tones of the fabric. 

The dolls can have either glass eyes or painted eyes.

I set up my cleaning, examination and recording schedule after   Gillian Trotter's book Norah Welling  Cloth Dolls and Soft Toys. Trotter explains on page 122, that cloth dolls should be examined regularly to ensure that they are not being  damaged by their storage  environment.  Therefore, check for moths, insects, smells and the effects of sunlight.  Also, check for display stand damage. Trotter advises to record all the little flaws that are found to determine if the doll has new damage.                                                                     

I like to record doll flaws in my inventory log on the day I buy a doll. I look for  flaws that will help me identify the doll, in case one ever disappears at a show or is stolen. This work is made easy with a camera.

I also enclose my cloth dolls in a box with a moth ball for about for about 10  days before I introduce the doll into my collection. I also have two inch ceder blocks in my display cases.

I don't have the space to displace my 36 inch dolls so I do wrap them  in layers of acid free paper and stored away until now. All the other sizes are on display.

Twice a  year I review all my dolls. The task of preserving the dolls is an enjoyable time to fuss with these exquisite dolls. 


Norah Wellings' Charm Factory, Part 1, Doll Reader Magazine, by Albert Elia, December 1988 and January 1989 ,pg 76   

Norah Welling Cloth Dolls and Soft Toys by Gillian Trotter, published by Hobby House Press, Inc, Grantsville, Maryland,2003

Voice Box

Dear Bev,

I was glad when you asked my to  proof read this  article. I hope you are equally as glad that  I decided to delete a few paragraphs. I  deleted the "I  NEED a Norah Wellings pajama case, purse or perhaps a 

Tea Cosy." and the accompanying explanation.  The paragraphs are an obviously attempt to get, yet another, Norah Wellings doll for Christmas. 

I suggest you stop picking my pockets and start picking out Christmas dolls for the grand kids.  




(c) 2013 Beverly Flower

Welcome to Black Dolls from the Past

This site is dedicated to the preservation of Black doll history.

We are focused on antique and vintage dolls that represent people of color throughout the world.