A Day Trip To Punta Gorda Florida

Gale Lyons Hittyby Hitty Flora Sunny State Hittys

Lunch today at the Fisherman's Village in Punta Gorda, Florida was a bit chilly but we had a great time visiting with some snowbird friends.

Fisherman's Village is a fun place with restaurants, specialty shops and boutiques.  We especially liked all the decorative items in one shop and we bought some seahorse salt and pepper shakers we had been trying to find for over two years.  (A family member asked for them.)

These birds aren't real!

The three-foot tall frog isn't real either!

After lunch at the Oyster Bar Restaurant, we spent some time at the Military Heritage and Aviation Museum.  Thank you Veterans!

This wood replica of a Japanese House was just about my size!

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

Who is Hitty?

Who is Hitty?

by Virginia Ann Heyerdahl
Founder, Editor and Publisher
Friends of Hitty Newsletter/Club

© 2010 by Virginia Ann Heyerdahl and
Friends of Hitty Newsletter/Club

Hitty, the 6-1/4-inch heroine in Rachel Field’s Newbery Medal winning book Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, has certainly made her mark in the doll world, especially in the last several decades.

For those who might not be familiar with the book,
Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, it is the "autobiography" of an early American wooden doll “hand-carved from Irish mountain-ash wood by a peddler.” The book was written by Rachel Field and illustrated by Dorothy Lathrop. In October 1929, the Macmillan Company published Hitty: Her First Hundred Years and, in 1930, it was awarded the Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature in 1929!

As Hitty relates in her fictitious "memoirs", she was carved for a little girl who lived in Maine, Phoebe Preble. Phoebe took Hitty everywhere with her including on a long ocean voyage. In addition to being shipwrecked with Phoebe, Hitty's adventures included traveling to India where she was "lost" and then rescued, given to another little girl and eventually accompanied that child back to the United States to live in Philadelphia. Hitty traveled to New York, back to New England and then made an appearance at the Cotton Exposition dressed exquisitely in a wedding gown. Following numerous other adventures, Hitty ends up residing in an antique shop.

The “real” story of Hitty is perhaps more fascinating than her fictitious adventures. While dining in New York City one evening in the late 1920s, Rachel Field and her good friend, Dorothy Lathrop, discovered they had a mutual interest in a tiny old-fashioned doll in an antique shop. The little wooden doll was over 100 years old at that time.

Eventually the author and the illustrator purchased the doll together and one summer, while vacationing in Maine, they outlined Hitty’s fictitious adventures during her first hundred years. Upon returning home, Rachel wrote Hitty's life story while Dorothy illustrated it.

After the successful publication of the book, Hitty continued her real life travels in the company of Rachel Field. Upon Rachel’s death, Hitty “dropped out of the public eye” and became somewhat of a recluse, living with Dorothy Lathrop and her sister, Gertrude, who inherited the doll upon Dorothy’s death. When Gertrude died, the doll was inherited by cousins.

In the mid 1980s, interest in Hitty, which had been somewhat dormant, resurfaced. A collector in California, Dottie Baker, had acquired some of Hitty’s original furniture and wrote an article – “Where is Hitty?" – asking the whereabouts of the original Hitty, which appeared in the February/March 1986 issue of Doll Reader.

At that time, many people were unaware that there was a real doll named Hitty! Several years later, another collector, Nancy Reinhart Charlton “found” the real Hitty and wrote an article, “Hitty is Found!”, which appeared in the August/September 1988 issue of Doll Reader.

She discovered, that after the death of the Lathrop sisters, Hitty was inherited by Roger Linscott and his siblings who decided to donate the doll and her belongings to the Stockbridge Massachusetts Library. The reason for this decision was that the library owned a great deal of Field family memorabilia and it was felt this would be a good place for Hitty to reside so that she could be shared with her many friends.

For most of this time to the present, Hitty has been in the public eye. The library even commissioned an exact replica of the original. A wide variety of social events have taken place in her honor.  Doll clubs have held luncheons featuring a Hitty doll or an accessory for a souvenir.  Programs have been given at doll clubs, libraries and schools.  An award-winning video has been filmed as well as a video on how to carve a Hitty.

Prior to 1994, because of the interest generated by the articles published in Doll Reader, there was such a clamor for more information about Hitty, that a newsletter and a club were organized. It began with about ten members and has since grown to well over a thousand members today. The first-ever Hitty Convention was held in Williamsburg, Virginia in October 2000.

In the fall of 2005, the Friends of Hitty gathered for a “Tenth Anniversary Reunion” in Williamsburg, Virginia to celebrate the previous ten years of the Friends of Hitty. In addition, a Friends of Hitty Newsletter is published (four issues per subscription) as a forum for the dissemination of information and material about Hitty herself, Rachel Field, Dorothy Lathrop and the artists who create Hittys.

Simon and Schuster, the publishing company which now owns the rights to the original book by Rachel Field, commissioned a revised version which was published in 1999. Titled Rachel Field’s Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, this book was written by Rosemary Wells and illustrated by Susan Jeffers. The book was rewritten for younger children and additional adventures have been included.

It is an enchanting introduction to Hitty for younger children and the illustrations are delightful. It is hoped that the young readers will be inspired to read the original version of the book.

Shortly after the book was published, several artists carved their own versions of Hitty. Today there are numerous artists who are creating their own versions of  Hitty in all types of media including cloth, paper, paperclay, porcelain, resin and wood.

To ensure that Hitty will be around for future generations to enjoy, the Friends of Hitty Newsletter/Club established a Conservation and Preservation fund to provide for conserving and preserving the doll itself and her belongings. To this end, the fund provided for the conservation and restoration of Hitty’s clothing which was accomplished by the Textile Conservation Center of the American Textile History Museum. In addition, the club provided funding for a fitted travel case for Hitty.

As Hitty relates in the caption for the last illustration by Dorothy Lathrop in the original book by Field, “I feel that many more adventures are awaiting me.” Surely there will be many more adventures for our little wooden friend in the coming years. She certainly seems to have a propensity for survival as well as travel.

Virginia is the former Senior Editor of Doll Reader magazine (she was with the magazine from 1978 until 1999) and presently Contributing Editor to Doll Castle News.


To visit the original Hitty, contact the Stockbridge Library Association, P O Box 119, Stockbridge, Massachusetts 01262; telephone: 413-298-5501. It is a good idea to call the library ahead of the time of your visit to make sure Hitty can be shown.

To subscribe to the Friends of Hitty Newsletter, contact Virginia Ann Heyerdahl, 2704 Belleview Avenue, Cheverly, Maryland 20785-3006; telephone: 301-772-1555; E-mail: VAH Hitty@aol.com. Subscriptions are $18 for one volume (four issues).

Visit the website for Hitty Preble set up by the Great Cranberry Island Historical Society – which claims that Great Cranberry Island is, in fact where “Hitty” was born! The website is www.HittyPreble.com and you can see the tremendous amount of work that has been done in terms of research for this website.

The Friends of Hitty Newsletter/Club

The purpose of the Friends of Hitty Newsletter/Club is to provide a forum for the dissemination of information and material on Hitty herself, Rachel Field, Dorothy Lathrop and the artists who create Hittys. The organization instituted a Conservation and Preservation of Hitty Fund which was used for restoring and preserving Hitty and her belongings at the Stockbridge (Massachusetts) Library.

The club contributed over $3000 to the fund which supported the efforts of the Textile Conservation Center of the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts, to accomplish the needed conservation work on Hitty’s clothing. In addition, the club provided funding for a fitted travel case for Hitty.

The newsletter is published four times per subscription and contains articles on:
*Artists who create Hittys – today as well as yesterday.
*Retrospectives: Out-of-print previously published material is shared.
*Bazaar: A listing of Hitty-related items for sale.
*Potpourri: Patterns, ideas for accessories, whatever might be of interest to our members.
*Happenings: Reports on events, shows or gatherings of interest to our Hitty enthusiasts.
*Our Members: Meet our members and learn how Hitty has affected their lives and what role she plays in their lives today.

For additional information on Hitty, please contact the Friends of Hitty Newsletter/Club, c/o Virginia Ann Heyerdahl, 2704 Belleview Avenue, Cheverly, Maryland 20785-3006; telephone: 301-772-1555; fax: 301-772-6241; e-mail: VAHHitty@aol.com. A subscription to the Newsletter is $18.00 per four issues. Back issues are available.

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

Jointed Hitty Dolls--Oh My!

Hitty doll carvers are some of the most talented doll artists you will find anywhere.  They are imaginative and innovative as evidenced by two jointed Hitty doll friends up for bid on ebay.
Connie Hardt Jointed Hitty Friend
Auction Photos by Connie Hardt

This 7" tall Hitty friend is hand-carved by Connie Hardt. She is jointed at the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. 

To view the auction Click Here.  The seller id is stonedragon44

Josh Buffington Jointed Hitty Doll Friend

Auction Photos by Josh Buffington

Josh Buffington is the creator of Andy, a basswood Hitty doll friend who stands 6 1/2" tall. Andy has jointed shoulders, elbows, knees and hands. His left hand moves left and right and his right hand moves up and down allowing him to hold objects

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

I live in New Zealand

New Zealand Flag

My Name is Hitty Rosie Posie

I live on a sheep farm in New Zealand.

On the South Island of New Zealand, sheep outnumber people twenty to one!  Fifty percent of the world's sheep products come from New Zealand.

I would like to share some photos of my home taken by Sue.

This is Amelia and I love to sit on her back.  It is so soft.

Our Sheep

Spectacular View!

Submitted by Hitty Rosie Posie of New Zealand

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

Roy Sterrett Hitty Doll

In 1979, the Black Hills Doll Club of South Dakota in Region 4 held a Regional Conference in Rapid City, South Dakota. A hand-carved Hitty was the souvenir doll along with a copy of the book, Hitty Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field.

The doll was hand carved by Roy Sterrett.  She is 6 1/2" tall.  You will note the “white” streaks painted in the hair.

Mr. Sterrett was no doubt using the illustrations of Hitty to carve his version and thought that the “highlights” in the hair shown in illustrations indicated gray hair. So he painted them white!

Some of these dolls are marked on the legs with the carver’s name as well as “Rapid City So. Dakota.”
1979 Roy Sterrett Hand Carved Souvenir Hitty Doll

1979 Roy Sterrett Hand Carved Souvenir Hitty Doll

This souvenir Hitty Doll is from the collection of Virginia Ann Heyerdahl, who is the publisher of The Friends of Hitty Newsletter.  She has done extensive research about Hitty, Rachel Field, Dorothy Lathrop and the artists who have created Hittys in the past and those who are creating her today.

2010 Hitty Travel Doll

Where the Boys Are

Joey, who is new to the Sunny State Hitty House (and the first boy), welcomed Michael The Artist yesterday. Michael set to work immediately in his new studio and Joey is wondering if Michael will give him lessons. Joey thinks he might want to be an artist when he grows up.

Joey is a Basswood Hitty friend by Robert Raikes.  He is a 2006 limited edition of 100 pieces and is signed by Robert on the back.  Joey was adopted at the 2010 Naples Doll Show Naples, Florida.

Dolls by Robert Raikes can be found on the secondary market.  Here is a link to dolls by Robert Raikes.  Click Here

Michael The Artist is number four of the Seven Brothers Series by Wanda Harrigan of Wildhare Art Studio.  His brother, Aaron The Elvis Impersonator, recently sold on eBay.

WildHare Art Studio Dolls can sometimes be found on ebay  Click Here
Wanda also has an etsy shop

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

2010 Naples Doll Show

Hitty Doll by Gale Lyonsby Hitty Flora Sunny State Hittys

This past Saturday, I was privileged to attend the Region 9 UFDC Doll Show and Sale sponsored by the Naples Doll Club.  This is an awesome show which is well attended so it pays to get there early for the best bargains.

The admission price of $8 is a small price to pay for such a good time!  You will find modern dolls as well as museum-quality antique dolls and hard-to-find fabrics and trims. Some of the best doll artists and doll dealers exhibit at this show. Until his passing last year, Richard Wright, the doll expert of Antique Roadshow, was a regular.  He is greatly missed.

Photo highlights of my day at the doll show.  Enjoy!

Dolls on vacation at the Naples Hotel and Beach Club in 1935

Dolls on vacation at the Naples Hotel & Beach Club 1935

Seminole Exhibit

Seminole Exhibit.  Awesome!

Gale Lyons Hitty Flora Doll at the Naples Doll Show 2010

I sure liked that old truck!

Gale Lyons Hitty Flora Doll at the Naples Beach 2010

It was windy on the beach.

Gale Lyons Hitty Flora Doll--Sandcastles on Naples Beach

Sandcastles.  Oh Yeah!

Florida Alligator

An Alligator we saw enjoying the sunny day.

Robert Raikes Joey and Hitty Flora

Joey and Me.  He came to live with the Sunny State Hitty Dolls.

For more information:

Naples Doll Club

U.F.D.C United Federation of Doll Clubs

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

Hitty Doll Body Style Comparison

The Sunny State Hitty dolls and Hitty Doll Friends have agreed to pose au natural so that you can compare the body styles of Hitty Dolls by different doll artists.  As you can see, Hitty dolls favor each other but they are not all alike.  That's what makes Hitty such a special doll!

Photos of the Sunny State Hitty Dolls

These Sunny State Hitty and Hitty Friend Dolls are considered Classic (6 1/4") or Hitty (6-7").

Hitty Doll Body Comparison

Top Row L to R:
  • Boneka Sophie DeBois
  • Robert Raikes Meg
  • Robert Raikes Hitty
  • Gale Lyons Hitty
  • Hitty Margo Irene by Paulette Morrissey
  • Anne Luree

Bottom Row L to R:
  • Judy Brown Souvenir Hitty
  • Judy Brown Hitty
  • DRC HittyKin
  • DRC Hitty
  • Michael Langton Hitty
  • Gail Wilson Kit doll
  • Sue Sizemore Cloth Doll

    Boneka Sophie DeBois, Robert Raikes Meg, Robert Raikes Hitty

  • Sophie DeBois is all wood and was mass produced and marketed by Boneka
  • Robert Raikes Meg is all wood and was originally a blond.
  • Robert Raikes Hitty is all wood.

Gale Lyons Hitty, Paulette Morrissey Resin Hitty, Porcelain Anne Luree Hitty

  • Gale Lyons Hitty Carved of Wood
  • Hitty Margo Irene sculpted of  polymer clay by Paulette Morrissey
  • All Porcelain Hitty by Anne Luree
Souvenir Judy Brown Hitty, Hitty by Judy Brown, DRC Hitty-Kin

  • Judy Brown Souvenir Hitty.  Made of wood and produced in China
  • Wood Hitty made by Judy Brown
  • Resin Hitty-Kin by De Ann R Cote
Resin Hitty-Kin by DeAnn R Cote, Resin Hitty by Michael Langton

  • Resin Hitty-Kin by De Ann R Cote.  Real Hitty Type
  • Resin Hitty by Michael Langton.  Modeled after the real Hitty.

Gail Wilson Cloth Hitty, Sue Sizemore Cloth Hitty doll

  • Cloth Hitty made from a Gail Wilson kit
  • Cloth Hitty by Sue Sizemore Designs

If you have photos of your Hitty dolls you would like to share just email me.

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

Aaron Elvis Impersonator

Aaron is an Elvis Impersonator Hitty doll friend created by Wanda Harrigan of Wild Hare Studio Designs
This little guy stands 6 3/8 inches tall. He is number five in the Seven Brothers Series of Hitty friends. His real name is Aaron. He was stationed at Fort Chaffee, just like the real Elvis. He was invited to a Hitty costume party and went as Elvis. He even sang and everyone wanted him to sing at their parties. He eventually ended up doing his Elvis Impression in Vegas.

Elvis ...er Aaron is hand carved and is painted with acrylics and sealed with Delft semi gloss. He has some wood burning in his hair for texture and on his shoes to simulate stitching.

Aaron the Elvis Impersonator, has pegged legs and elastic strung arms so he can move them independantly. His outfit is white cotton with red silk insert in pants. It is designed and sewn by me. I hand set the red, clear and blue crystals on the suit. His scarf is red silk . His clothes are fully removable to reveal his blue boxers with little Teddy Bears painted on them. His shoes are painted to resemble Blue Suede.

He stands all by himself without a doll stand. He can sit or wave his hands. His head can turn from side to side as shown in pictures. He also comes with a special edition Reeses banana and peanut butter Cup.

This doll sold at auction recently for $139.

Wanda of Wild Hare Studio Designs also has an etsy shop.  Here is the link.


© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

Hitty Big and Small by Michelle del Valle

Michelle del Valle made her first wood doll at the age of ten and pegged her limbs with screws.  It was just the beginning.  In 2003, after many requests, she carved her first Hitty doll.

In 2005, Michelle and her husband Bernie started drawing up the plans for a life-size Hitty.  Logs were felled from the forests of the Crazy Mountains in Montana and the work began.

Big Hitty is a chainsaw carved peg wooden.  A Douglas fir log was used for Big Hitty's torso, lodge pole pine for the arms and Douglas fir logs for the legs.  Heavy distressing creates a worn and antique look.  Bernie helped drill and peg the arms and legs. Michelle's mother created Big Hittys clothing using antique lace.  Michelle and Bernie donated Big Hitty to the Great Cranberry Island Historical Society in Maine where she is the subject of much admiration and many photographs.

Photo of Big Hitty by Sue G of  The Northeast Hittys.  Follow Sue's Blogs;


Tree Hollow Folk Auctions

©Photo is by Michelle del Valle and is used with permission.

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

Fort Myers City of Palms

Gale Lyons Hittyby Hitty Flora Sunny State Hittys

Florida is called the Sunshine State because the sun is almost always shining.

I live in the Fort Myers area of Lee County Florida.  The Caloosahatchee River (hatchee is the Caloosa Indians name for river) and the Gulf of Mexico converge at Fort Myers.

Sanibel Island, Captiva Island and Fort Myers Beach are popular destinations for Southwest Florida locals and tourists.

Golfing, fishing, boating and beaches along with shopping along the Tamiami Trail and Interstate 75, make Fort Myers a busy place all year long but especially when the Snowbirds come back.  Just a note,  Tamiami Trail opened in 1928 and linked Tampa and Miami by road.  It is pronounced "Tammy-Ammy".

We call Northerners who "fly South" for the winter Snowbirds.  Some of my best friends are Snowbirds and I miss them when they return home in the Spring.

Fort Myers was established as a military fort and was named after Col. Abraham C. Myers.  During the Civil War, a regiment of Buffalo Soldiers fought during the Battle of Fort Myers in 1865.  Native Americans named the African Americans "Buffalo Soldiers" because of their hair. A monument in Centennial Park honors their service.

Fort Myers was greatly influenced by Thomas Edison and his friends Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone.  Seminole Lodge and The Mangoes are the winter homes of Edison and Ford and are located in Fort Myers on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River.  Both homes have been completely restored and are open for tours.

The Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins make Fort Myers their spring training home. Higher education needs are served by Florida Gulf Coast University, Edison College, Hodges University and others.  The Barbara B Mann  Cultural Arts Hall brings in big name performers from around the world.

When you visit Fort Myers, be prepared to have a good time!

Royal Palms line the streets of Fort Myers Florida

Royal Palms in Fort Myers, Florida

The Fort Myers Yacht Basin

Fort Myers Yacht Basin

Beach Rules sign

Sign on the wall of a Fort Myers Beach shop

 Hitty Flora Save our Beach

Save our Beaches!

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

Kathy Probst Wood Doll

Kathy Probst Carved Doll

Not much information seems to be available about this wooden doll by Kathy Probst.  She is signed and numbered on the back so we know who carved her and we can assume that the carver created seven dolls before this one.

This doll is unpainted except for her shoes and has an elaborate hairstyle.  She stands about 10.5 inches tall and has jointed elbows and knees--very nicely done.

If you know anything about this doll or the carver, please leave a comment below.

This doll recently sold on ebay for $55

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll