Philadelphia Rag Babies or Sheppard Baby Dolls

Last week I emailed Joan & Lynette Antique Dolls and Accessories to ask if I could post pictures of the Philadelphia Baby in their Ruby Lane shop. They said yes, and here are the pictures provided by them. Isn't that a sweet baby face above?

21.5 inches tall

Linda Edward, in Cloth Dolls Ancient to Modern, pp. 41 and 42, says this about Philadelphia Babies:

"Philadelphia or Shepherd babies were made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1900. These dolls were sold in the infant's departement of the J. B. Sheppard & Co. store which was in business from 1860 to 1935. It is known that the dolls were costumed by skilled needle workers in Sheppard's own workshop but whether the dolls themselves were made there or elsewhere remains a mystery.

Philadelphia babies measure 18 to 22 inches (45.5 to 56 cm) and have a molded stockinette face with a vertical seam running up the back of the head. The faces are well modeled with deeply incised eyelids. The bodies are also stockinette with the lower arms, lower legs, shoulderplate and head being oil painted. Examples have been found with both light and dark hair colors with the eyes done in blue or brown. There are sewn joints at the shoulders, hips and knees. When found on the dolls, the original clothes usually consist of a long baby gown and bonnet."

The simple applied ear is appealing.

The chunky body style
would be perfect for a child to hold.

Thanks to Joan & Lynette Antique Dolls and Accessories for allowing us to have a peek at this great cloth baby doll through their pictures!


  1. Lovely doll! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I have seen an Philadelphia baby in person but was not allowed to strip it down! An urge all of us dollmakers can hardly resist! LOL! I love the shape of the arms and legs on these babes, not to mention the heads!

  3. Another interesting doll I have never seen before! I love the applied ears and sweet expression.

  4. isaw one in my doll book in perfect shape and was in love at first site. ik sad to my partner that i would really want one of those because of the beautifull face, i absolutly love it! so sweet, the eye i find so special and those sweet pink lips. unfortunatly there was no maker written with the pictuer, glad i no now what kind of doll it is. hope i can find one here in holland! thanx for the pictueres and the information!!! a dutch antique doll lover

  5. Love these photos, Dixie. I've always thought there was something special about Sheppard Baby faces...the heavy lidded eyes, I think. Looking forward to seeing your interpretation in a pattern!


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