Siouxland Museum ode to dolls the Blackwood Sisters, Le Mars

8 Jul

This past spring I visited the Plymouth County Historical museum in Le Mars, Iowa. It is a place worth visiting, and could easily take all day and more to really look at all of the exhibits, starting with a log cabin situated outside. But one exhibit caught my eye that opened then. A rural Battle Creek, Iowa farmer and artist, Robert Smith, now deceased, created “living” dolls, the Blackwood Sisters, out of walnut wood. He then learned to sew and made each of his creations clothing, applied make-up and eyelashes and whatever else was necessary to make them life-like, according to a newspaper article that is displayed in the room of his creations. There are so many different “characters” in so many different clothing attire that it takes a while to soak it all in. The dolls created represent a broad spectrum of occupations and it is sad there is no recorded conversation of the artist talking about his creating this work. Insight is always helpful to understanding, if just to broaden one’s own perspective.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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