January 24, 1851

Doll

Jan 24 Friday.  Was very busy this morning about house  Sent

for Abby to go to Augustus’s.  Mr Torrey called to say that

she could not go & made a long call and was as plausible

and good as ever.  Went to Augustus about ten

and alone, but had the pleasure of Mr Whitwells

company back as far as his house  This evening have

called at Mr Holmes but did not see Miss Eaton

Have finished both of the dolls frocks of pink, blue lace  Fine day

The doll that Evelina has been working on since the beginning of the year was finished today.  Wooden with painted features and lace dresses, it was fashioned as a miniature adult.  Baby dolls didn’t come in until almost the 20th century. Isn’t it interesting that the doll was handmade and not store-bought?  It was just a few years too early for Evelina to be able to buy a porcelain doll out of Germany and France, the ones with the big glass eyes, leather hands and silk dresses that speak to us today of Victorian taste. Those manufactured dolls began to enter the American market in the 1860s. With Yankee ingenuity, and not a little help from others, Evelina made her own doll for her daughter. How did Susie like the it?  We don’t get to find out, nor do we know when Evelina gave it to her daughter, but we can guess it was a pleasant surprise.

John Torrey called at the Ames house today.  A former colonel in the local militia, Torrey was also Evelina’s brother-in-law.  He had been married to Evelina’s late sister, Hannah, who died in December, 1848, leaving behind two daughters, Abigail and Mary “Malvina”.  The Torrey family lived right in the village of North Easton, so Evelina was able to see her nieces often.  Abby is 20 years old as the diary opens, Malvina only ten.

Reverend Whitwell featured in Evelina’s diary again today; she certainly seemed to enjoy his company.  She may have been someone who placed ministers up on a pedestal; they were the spiritual leaders of the day and she was a woman of sincere faith.  But, despite his being described by Chaffin as a serious, scholarly type, he may also have been an attractive novelty at a gray time of year.  He was new to the neighborhood and sought the acquaintance of Oakes and Evelina. Did Evelina have a little crush on him?

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