Doll News Summer 2020 - 85

Abigail Brownell Reveals Her Story:

A Doll's Tale of How Toys Become

Real

By Jennifer Anne Stewart

D

o you remember the story of The Velveteen
Rabbit: How Toys Become Real by Margery
Williams? The toy Bunny was a Christmas
gift to the Boy. Amidst all the other gifts, including
a toy engine and a clockwork mouse, the Bunny
was left, mostly ignored, in the nursery for a long
while. There he met the Skin Horse, who had lived
in the nursery longer than any of the other toys. The
Skin Horse told the Bunny about becoming "real."
It didn't happen all at once, or to toys with sharp
edges and with mainsprings that broke. "For
nursery magic is very strange and wonderful
and only playthings that are old and wise and
experienced like the Skin Horse understand all
about it." As expected, the Bunny eventually
grows to be loved by the Boy, turns worn and
faded, and ultimately becomes Real through
the Boy's love.
My favorite antique dolls are not the
pristine beauties who were not to be touched
or were brought out to be promenaded
in front of guests in the parlor for tea. My
favorite dolls are the ones who have been
played with, and who have been an essential part
of imaginative play with a child, like in the story
of The Velveteen Rabbit. The dolls that I most
prefer are china, and I am also partial to very
early papier mache, and cloth dolls. Ordinarily
in my searches, I find charming but neglected
dolls in need of loving again, and I restore

Abigail Brownell in
her brown dress.

DOLL NEWS * UFDC.ORG

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Doll News Summer 2020

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