Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Shoe-box Doll Bed

When I was about eleven years old I had a Ruth Gibbs "china doll" and a canopy bed complete with bed-hangings that my mother made for her out of an old Miles shoe box. Through the years my doll disappeared and I ended up with my cousin's. About 10 years ago at an antiques show I bought a doll which reminded me of the one I once owned.

This is the canopy bed my mother made. The bed hangings are made of floral chintz with tiny blue piping and the "mattress" is filled with cotton batting.

When mom was a Girl Scout leader she made similar beds for the Girl Scout Fair that was held at the "Girl Scout Littlehouse" in Leonia, NJ. Really, that's what it was called.

Underneath all that fabric is the bed frame--a Miles shoe box. I love the rope-bed effect. Four dowels are held in place with wire threaded through the corners of the box.   

The bed has certainly seen better days but I just can't part with it. I put a stick in the middle to keep the bottom from caving in.

My cousin's doll which I've had since I was a teenager.

At one point, I decided to make her a new outfit. Here are pantaloons and a petticoat . . . 

. . . and a dress. Looks like 60s fabric to me.

You can read about Ruth Gibbs and her dolls here. In this ad from the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, March 21, 1950: "Complete Line of Ruth Gibbs Godey Dolls--Others $2.50 Up" 

"Godey's Lady Book Dolls by Ruth Gibbs, A Replica of Those from Long Ago" in the Boston Herald, October 14, 1947.

And this is the doll that I purchased at an antiques show in Somerset County, NJ. The hat is what caught my eye. It took me a minute to focus and then I had a flash-back--this looked like the doll I used to have--could it actually be mine?? I didn't even hesitate. I bought it on the spot.

Copyright 2013, Barbara Schaffer

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wonderful Wildflowers!

Another hobby of mine is seeking out wildflowers whether they be in the woods, along roadsides or on mountain tops. A long time ago I had purchased A Field Guide to Wildflowers by Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny in a used book store in Lake Placid and immediately began to note my findings.

In the margins of the book I'd write the date and location of where I saw the flower and then I'd color in the drawings using colored pencils.

I have a large patch of May-apples in the back yard and a few single plants in the front. I transplanted these from the woods behind our house probably 35 years ago before construction started on a huge office complex. The large lemon-like berry is edible. I once made May-apple jelly.

My all-time favorite wildflower is Pink Lady's-slipper or Moccasin-flower as it is sometimes called. Last year my daughter took me to a large patch of Lady's-slippers that were growing near a hiking trail in Wilmington, NY.

I'd never seen so many in one place!

We saw Wood Anemone on a hiking trail in May. 

Our backyard in the Adirondacks is filled with Bluets during May and June.


Gorgeous Trilliums abound in the woods near our cabin. . .

. . . as do Yellow Violets. . .

. . . and Buttercups.

Down near the river were dainty Maiden Pinks. . . 

 . . . and Celandines.

Viper's Bugloss was In the middle of a mountain biking track where my grandkids often go to ride. Such an ugly name for a rather pretty plant with blue flowers and red stamens.

One flower blooms at a time on these short branches.   

Last month my son-in-law was leading a hike for some of our friends and we saw Indian-pipes growing in a moist area on one of the trails.

My grand-dog, Masala, posed (on her own) in a field among Black-eyed Susans and Queen Anne's Lace at Whiteface Mountain. Isn't she beautiful?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Jonathan Hand Osborn: Stonecutter

This is a follow-up to my April post about gravestones that were signed by 'The Osborn Brothers.'

Jonathan Hand Osborn was born in Elizabeth, NJ, on February 22, 1760 the son of Jonathan and Abigail Osborn of Scotch Plains. At the age of 16 he enlisted in the Revolutionary War and served two years as a drummer for which he received a yearly pension of $85 beginning in 1831.


The signature of Jonathan Hand Osborn at age seventy-two as found in his Revolutionary War Pension Record dated August 17, 1832 on

I'd like to thank Robert Lenahan for sharing the following photographs that he took at the Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Westfield, NJ. Note the various ways Jonathan Hand Osborn signed his work.   

Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

The gravestone of Eliakim Smith 1785:

cut by Jonathan Hand Osborn S.P.

This stone is erected
to the memory of Mr.
Eliakim Smith who
Died April 11th 1785
in the 67th year of
his age

 Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

Note the 'ES' monogram in the center of this elaborately carved signature 'cut by Jonathan Hand Osborn Scotch Plains, NJ.'  The placement of the signature (at the top rather than at the bottom of the stone) may at one time have been a way for Jonathan to advertise his work.

 Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

The gravestone of Hannah Willis 1777:

In memory
of Hannah Wife of Tho
mas Willis who died July
ye 8th 1777 Age 66

                        J Hand Osborn 

Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

Unlike many signatures that are in the lower right corner of the stone at ground level, this variation of Osborn's signature is in the lower third of the stone on the right.  

 Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

 The gravestone of Noah Miller 1802:

In memory of
Noah Miller who
died Nover 2d 1802
aged 37 years 2 mons
& 23 days

Let not so many tears fall from my friends
Live holy happy God will recompense
Into your bosoms all your love again
And your affections whilst I did remain

                                      J H O

 Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

Simply signed 'JHO' beneath the epitaph.

  Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

The gravestone of Phebe W. Crane 1820: 
to the memory of
Phebe W. wife of
Ezra Crane Esqr
who died Sepr 4th 1820
aged 45 years 6 mons & 11

She was virtuous and chaste through life
A tender mother & beloved wife
With sympathetic tear her eyes would flow
And gladly relieved all others woe.

                                                            Osborn S. Plains
Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

This signature 'Osborn S. Plains' is similar to the one below but note the difference in the small 's' in Osborn.

 Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

The gravestone of Cortland Radley 1821:

[Sacred to] the
memory of
Son of [John] and
Phe[be] [Rad]ley who
died Novr 18, 1821
[aged] 23 years


                                                Osborn SPlains

 Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

Of further interest:

The Presbyterian Church of Westfield  

The Presbyterian Church Cemetery

The Osborn Cannonball House

If you have time, you might enjoy watching this documentary about the Osborn House. 

Copyright 2013, Barbara Schaffer