July 29th, 2019

     Against the eastern wall in the Mather Homestead attic, sits a large black steamer trunk. A metal tag riveted into the top reads "Marshall Field & Company Retail Chicago." On the right side, in large letters are the initials: "S.T.M." The trunk was no doubt purchased by Stephen Mather during his professional years in Chicago. 


     Inside this trunk, there are 22 dolls altogether, on the top insert there are twelve and on the lower portion, there are ten. These dolls are seemingly from the four corners of the earth. There's an American Indian doll, dolls representing the Orient, a particularly scary figure from Bali D.E.I, and King George VI in coronation regalia to name a few. 


     The newspaper wrapping some of the dolls’ clothes is from the New York Times on January 31, 1954…65 years ago. The dolls were most likely put away by Bertha Mather McPherson, for at that time her youngest daughter would have been in her early teens.


     The George VI doll is in its original Liberty London box and was made to commemorate the May 1937 coronation. This doll was probably purchased by or given to the McPhersons, whose elder daughter would have been nearing her third birthday at that time.


     Will we ever know if some dolls were the favorites? Will we ever even know if they were given names and what those names might have been? It is likely not. And perhaps that is their legacy to hold and their mystery to share.

Coronation Doll
Bali Doll
Asian and Native American Dolls
Assortment of Dolls
Photos and Text by Donn Smith

© 2017 by The Mather Homestead Foundation. 

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19 Stephen Mather Road, Darien, CT  06820

Mailing address:  PO Box 1054, Darien, CT  06820

info@matherhomestead.org, 203-202-7602

"He laid the foundation of the National Park Service, defining and establishing the policies under which its areas shall be

developed and conserved unimpaired for future generations. There will never come an end to the good that he has done."            

-Louis C. Cramton, referring to Stephen T. Mather (1867-1930)