Friday, May 31, 2013

Add Another One to the Collection

I love old trunks.  My very first antique purchase in 1979 was an embossed tin camel-back trunk.  I still have it.  My most recent is this doll trunk ... found at Goodwill a few weeks ago.

It looks like someone tried to use it as a stepstool, by the way the top is cracked.

The bargain-basement price of $6.99 won me over, and I tucked it under my arm and headed for the check-out station.

It was only once I had paid for it and was in the car that I realized what a treasure this little trunk turned out to be.  It still has its original fitted tray, though the bottom of the tray needs to be reattached.



Underneath the tray was a collection of someone's doll clothes.

These are about the right size for an 18" doll, and they were obviously made at different times.  First, we have an eyelet slip.  The waistband and seams appear to have been done at one time, and the slip was hemmed by someone else at a different time ... perhaps someone who doesn't sew well (a child?), judging by the all-over-the-place stitches.


This pink dress is probably the oldest and most-well-loved piece in the trunk.  It is made with very tight pin-tucks, and it shows a lot of mending and repair.



This little cotton shift and slip are smaller than the previous pieces.  They are cotton, well made, and well loved.


The last piece in the trunk was this dress.  It looks to be a lot newer than any of the other pieces, still handmade, though.  The fabric is different, the snaps look newer ... it is well made but it doesn't have the same detail that the other pieces do.


The last thing in the trunk was this key, but not the key to the lock on the trunk, though.  Just some random key ... perhaps used as a toy.

I'm kind of torn as to whether I should repair this trunk or leave it as it is.  I think I'm going to do both, if that makes sense.  One of the pieces of cracked fiberboard on the top of the trunk is loose, and I should glue that down so I don't lose it.  I should also replace the missing nails to reattach the hinges, and tack the loose piece of molding on the lid back into place.  I think that's where I'm going to stop, though.  This little trunk will certainly be displayed up high on a shelf, perhaps in my sewing room, so having a cracked top won't matter.

The doll clothes could use washing, but I am not going to do that.  They are what they are, and they will stay stored in this little trunk ... just like I imagine they were for little girls who played with them long ago.


  1. I see this fantastic find and all I want to do is photograph all the surfaces of the trunk and dresses and use them as textures for my digital photographic art. Seriously. That is a texture collector's dream!

  2. Oh gosh, what a sweet find. We can only imagine the history.

  3. Oh I do love hidden treasures and that's what you've found! Its fun to think about the trunk and its history with the sweet little dresses inside, isn't it?

    By the way, if and when you get a chance, I'd love to know more about using glyphosate to kill the poison ivy we have growing everywhere.

  4. What an absolute treasure!!! Wouldn't you just LOVE to know the history behind it!

  5. I always wonder what is in the secret compartments of old trucks. It is nice to find out too. Nice find you got there!

  6. What a fantastic find and I LOVE that you found old doll clothes inside. What a bonus. Isn't it nice to know that some little girl stored her treasures there? xo Diana

  7. The key in the trunk looks like a locked diary key - I had one in the 1950's when I was a teenager! A doll trunk would be a perfect hiding place for such a key. Memories...

  8. What a fun treasure! Love the doll clothes!

  9. And when little girls grow up they still play, don’t we, Connie? What a precious find. I love your plan to maintain your little trunk and treasures without going too far. My latest trunk is oversized, with a flat ribbed top and sits on the cottage porch serving both as a table and storage for chair cushions in winter. Most of the leather is gone so teak oil brought out the luster of her wood and original fittings.

    Happy June, Connie, a most happy June.

  10. Such fun to find such a cheap old trunk with hidden treasures. I always wonder who have been the former owners and did they know there was still such a beautiful old dress in it. I am sure you can make it looking beautiful in your house, you are so handy.

  11. I share your passion for trunks, and have collected quite a few antique doll trunks. Even have one that was Bob's mother's doll trunk (she was born in 1915), plus her doll bed, no doll though. I gave my mother one very much like this, in almost perfect condition, but doll clothes. It is now mine again. Wouldn't you just love to know the history, and what doll went with it. Good find, though I might try to fix it...or bribe Bob into it. ;)

  12. treasure chest hyperventilating over here. What a find.


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