Posted on July 20th, 2012 by Rachel
A blog post by Lisa Perrin, Education Intern
As you may recall from my previous blog post “Drawing from History” on June 27th (check it out here: http://2012/06/drawing-from-history/) as part of my internship with the education department I have been creating a series of paper dolls celebrating famous Jews of Maryland to be used as educational resources. One of my favorite elements about creating paper dolls that represent real people is the process of learning about their lives and legacies. It gives me a unique opportunity to connect with a person from history, and try to understand what they might have worn or what objects they would have owned and used. To do this I need to do some research on the era as well as explore the individual from a personal perspective.
For example I am currently working on a paper doll of Henrietta Szold. She is an inspiring woman who took on the great endeavor of attempting to cultivate a Jewish homeland. I wanted to depict a strong but tender woman before her time. Szold was born in 1860 in Baltimore, the daughter of a Rabbi and lived until 1945 when she died in Jerusalem. I looked at many photographs of her and created a likeness based on the iconic image of her as an older woman with deep, thoughtful eyes and graying hair. For her accessories I drew a cloche hat, shawl, Israeli flag, letter, book, and olive branch. I felt that these objects represented her as an individual, but also as a leader and innovator.
Henrietta Szold held many prestigious posts and accomplishments. She founded the Hadassah Women’s Organization and co-founded Ihud. She lived to help and serve others. I wanted to create a paper doll that commemorates this bold woman and Zionist. I hope people of all ages and backgrounds are reminded of her accomplishments with this paper doll and find themselves as inspired as I am.
Posted on June 27th, 2012 by Rachel
A blog post by Education Intern Lisa Perrin.
Paper dolls are very dear to my heart. I collected them obsessively as a child and fretted endlessly about whether or not to cut them out. I loved the costumes and the potential for storytelling in each paper doll book. And I did not realize it at the time, but I was learning. Paper dolls shaped my sense of history. When I think of the Civil War era I envision hoop skirts and mutton chops. I can picture the straight silhouettes of the 1920s and the flared, tailored dresses of the 1950s. Knowing about the styles of those eras has helped me better understand them in a grander sense.
An example of a paper doll I was commissioned to make for the Mutter Museum gift store in Philadelphia, PA of Dr. Mutter, for whom the museum is named.
It will come as no surprise that I began to make my own paper dolls inspired by history and literature. I also sold them through an online Etsy shop and discovered that many people feel a special connection to this simple toy. During my education department internship interview with the Jewish Museum of Maryland I mentioned my passion for making paper dolls. I was met with a great sense of enthusiasm and an idea for a project. I was asked to create a series of paper dolls representing famous Maryland Jews to be used as learning tools. I am very excited because I know of very few paper dolls depicting Jewish people.
- A working sketch of my first paper doll: Mendes Cohen, a Jewish man who served in the war of 1812.
My hope is to make paper dolls that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds as a unique and fun way to educate them about the history of the Jewish people in this state.
Stay tuned for updated posted on my progress!