About Me

Growing up in a small New England town with a mother who was an antiquarian it was inevitable that I would be exposed to old things. After graduating from UMass/Amherst I lived in Connecticut, taught school, married, and raised three children in suburbia. A move to Newburyport MA renewed my interest in all things old. This background has now evolved into research, writing, consulting and all the things I love to do.

Prudence Fish

Sunday, April 13, 2014



In my previous post, “At the Auction”, I talked about becoming a doll collector inspired by finding a French Jumeau doll in a dilapidated back-yard antiques shop.  As the word got around that I was interested in antique dolls, several people gave me their childhood dolls.  Some of the dolls that came my way were 
particularly nice.
French Jumeau, Cosette, found in a back
yard junk shop for $1.50.
Ada Carleton (left) and Amy Fiske (right)  Ada is a fine doll sometimes
called a "china Greiner" dating to the 1850s.  Amy dates to 1870 and
with her extensive wardrobe just appeared in Doll News magazine.  Both
dolls were gifts from neighbors and friends,
Over the course of many years the dolls would take a back seat only to re-emerge because of collector friends who would inspire me at least temporarily.

In the fall of 2013 my life changed in a single day.  Here is what happened.

A lady whom I had never met came to Cape Ann from Texas for a three week vacation.  My friend,  
Peggy, found her a place to stay although they had never met either. 

However, we knew a bit about this lady; her reputation as a doll collector, dealer in antiques and hooked rug designer, just for starters, had preceded this talented lady. I was persuaded to unpack some of my dolls for Edyth to see.

Peggy and Edyth arrived for a tea party and an afternoon of playing with dolls.  Dolls were scattered all over my living room.  It was an afternoon that changed my life.
Peggy (left) and Edyth (right) surrounded  by dolls and snacks in my cluttered living room
taken over by dolls.
As we got better acquainted it became clear to Edyth that for Peggy doll making and collecting was a primary interest and that my area of expertise was old houses.  Edyth declared that Peggy and I must have blogs, just as she has.  This was the last thing on my mind.  I hadn’t paid attention to blogs or followed any blogs. 

By the following day Edyth had contacted her friend, Dixie, in Maine who set up two new blogs.  Suddenly Peggy and I both had blogs!  It seemed to me that things were moving faster than I could digest but, what the heck, I jumped in anyway.  My first blog was posted in October and less than six months later I have thirty seven posts under my belt and still writing, writing, writing.

My interest in dolls has also been revived and I actually added a new doll to my collection for the first time in years.  (See “At the Auction”).

Penelope, a papier mache doll, patented by
Ludwig Greiner in 1858.  Notice that her style
matches Ada ( above)  Same style, different
material. Same age.
But Edyth was not through yet!  

One of my dolls mentioned in “At the Auction” was a doll named Amy Fiske.  Amy was so named by her original owner who received the doll for her birthday in 1870.  Amy is remarkable because of her extensive wardrobe of beautiful handmade garments.

Amy Fiske, 1870
Upon returning to Texas Edyth alerted her contacts at Doll News magazine about my special doll, Amy.   Before I knew it Amy was going to be featured in the January (2014) issue of the quarterly magazine.  At 144 years of age Amy made the big time in a multi-page spread in this most beautiful magazine of special dolls.  I couldn’t be more proud and appreciative of Edyth’s intervention.

Nor could I possibly have imagined the speed with which my blog traveled to the farthest corners of the planet with the nicest comments contributed by readers.

Recently one of the comments came from a childhood friend, Susan, with whom I shared a playhouse. After an Internet search I found her number and called her.  We had a heartwarming conversation. (See “Childhood Impressions Can Last a Lifetime”.)

I urge you to check out Edyth’s blog called “My Red Cape”. (edythoneill.blogspot.com) and Peggy’s blog, “Dolls in the Neatest Manner". (peggyflavin.blogspot.com)  Just as I deviate from houses to talk about dolls, Peggy likewise, delves into old houses.  Edyth’s blog talks about dolls, houses, gardening and all the the things that we enjoy and you probably enjoy similarly.
Edyth's blog logo, "My Red Cape"
You will also realize that Peggy’s house is the Oliver Griffin cottage that appeared in my post on gambrel roofed cottages houses of Cape Ann.  You will be able to get a peek of the inside of this charming house if you take a look at Peggy's blog.
Two of Peggy's meticulous made-by-hand
dolls, Eliza and Jane, in the style of Izannah Walker
If you enjoy my blog you surely will want to add these two blogs to your favorites.  You won’t be disappointed.

As always, I appreciate your responses.  The number of "hits" and the far off places from which they originate boggles the mind.  It has been an exciting trip and it all began with a tiny but mighty lady from Texas who took charge and led us down this  road.

Thank you, Edyth.


  1. I found your blog by reading Edith's post! I really must add how much I have enjoyed reading all three of your blogs. Please keep them coming!

  2. Dear Pru, I am humbled by your knowledge and talent. I love your blog and am just one among many who do. warmly, Edyth