" Fair Charlotte " Or " A Corpse Went To A Ball "

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
It's a twofer thread. :angel: Or three-fer. A tragedy which may or may not have happened ( sounds as if it could have ) was turned into a poem which in turn was turned into a ballad which for some reason became on of those wildly popular DOLLS. Real ones. To play with, with the word ' corpse ' attached to it.

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A ' Frozen Charlotte ' doll peeking from a toy, glass-windowed coffin. Unsure of date although these dolls ( sans casket ) were popular beginning 1850.



FAIR CHARLOTTE

Now, Charlotte lived on the mountainside,

In a bleak and dreary spot;

There was no house for miles around,

Except her father's cot.

And yet on many a wintry night,

Young swains were gathered there;

For her father kept a social board,

And she was very fair.


One New Year's Eve as the sun went down,

Far looked her wishful eye

Out from the frosty window pane

As merry sleighs went by.


In a village fifteen miles away,

Was to be a ball that night;

And though the air was heavy and cold,

Her heart was warm and light.


How brightly beamed her laughing eye,

As a well-known voice was heard;

And driving up to the cottage door,

Her lover's sleigh appeared.


"O, daughter dear," her mother cried,

"This blanket 'round you fold;

It is a dreadful night tonight,

You'll catch your death of cold."


"O, nay! O, nay!" young Charlotte cried,

And she laughed like a gypsy queen;

"To ride in blankets muffled up,

I never would be seen.


"My silken cloak is quite enough,

You know 'tis lined throughout;

Besides I have my silken scarf,

To twine my neck about."


Her bonnet and her gloves were on,

She stepped into the sleigh;

Rode swiftly down the mountain side,

And o'er the hills away.


With muffled face and silent lips,

Five miles at length were passed;

When Charles with few and shivering words,

The silence broke at last.


"Such a dreadful night I never saw,

The reins I scarce can hold."

Fair Charlotte shivering faintly said,

"I am exceeding cold."


He cracked his whip, he urged his steed

Much faster than before;

And thus five other dreary miles

In silence were passed o'er.


Said Charles, "How fast the shivering ice

Is gathering on my brow."

And Charlotte still more faintly said,

"I'm growing warmer now."


So on they rode through frosty air

And glittering cold starlight,

Until at last the village lamps

And the ballroom came in sight.


They reached the door and Charles sprang out,

He reached his hand for her;

She sat there like a monument,

That has no power to stir.


He called her once, he called her twice,

She answered not a word;

He asked her for her hand again,

And still she never stirred.


He took her hand in his - O, God!

'Twas cold and hard as stone;

He tore the mantle from her face,

Cold stars upon it shone.


Then quickly to the glowing hall,

Her lifeless form he bore;

Fair Charlotte's eyes were closed in death,

Her voice was heard no more.


And there he sat down by her side,

While bitter tears did flow;

And cried, "My own, my charming bride,

You never more will know."


He twined his arms around her neck,

He kissed her marble brow;

His thoughts flew back to where she said,

"I'm growing warmer now."


He carried her back to the sleigh,

And with her he rode home;

And when he reached the cottage door,

O, how her parents mourned.


Her parents mourned for many a year,

And Charles wept in the gloom;

Till at last her lover died of grief,

And they both lie in one tomb.

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“ The name Frozen Charlotte came from an American Folk Ballad, Fair Charlotte which was attributed to William Lorenzo Carter. The song was inspired by a poem, Young Charlotte written by Seba Smith after he read a true story in the New York Observer...."A young woman...was frozen to death while riding to a ball on Jan 1, 1840."

http://awhimsicalfleamarket.blogspot.com/p/fun-frozen-charlotte-info.html

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“These dolls were popular in the late Victorian era, roughly between 1850 and 1920. They were primarily made in Germany, though rarely have a manufacturer’s mark..

….made out of white bisque porcelain and ranged anywhere from under an inch up to 18 inches. While white was the main color, very occasionally you would find a black Frozen Charlotte doll. The majority of the dolls were made in the form of a standing, naked figure with fixed arms, bent out at the elbow, and straight legs,

Frozen Charlotte’s were fairly abundant and had several different variations. There were even male versions, named Frozen Charlies. They were very popular as they were inexpensive enough that they could be given frequently and allowed children to amass a collection. They were so cheap that the smaller versions became known as Penny Dolls, since they could be bought for a penny a piece. These smaller dolls were sometimes baked into confections as favors for children’s parties, chilled and placed into tea cups to cool the tea, or embedded into objects such as necklaces, sewing thimbles, pocket watches, or walnut shells. Some of the larger Frozen Charlotte dolls were left unglazed on their backside to allow them to float for use in the bath tub “

The basic gist of the poem is that an adolescent girl, Charlotte, gets invited to go to a ball some 15 miles away in the middle of winter. Her mother warns her that she needs to bundle up, as it is extremely cold outside, but she refuses, insisting that her beautiful dress should be seen by all. On the journey to the ball, she gets colder and colder, eventually freezing to death. Her beau, Charlie, who is transporting her there, does not find this out until he reaches the ball. He eventually dies as well from heart-break. This poem was later set to music by William Lorenzo Carter and turned into a folk ballad. “

https://wonderfulcollection.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/frozen-charlotte/
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Joined
Aug 25, 2013
Location
Hannover, Germany
Very good, JPK, enjoyed both the poem and the pictures. I don't think the poem is a true story, I think it was meant as a warning for young girls, to illustrate the effects of vanity ...
And then I instantly thought: compare these to modern day Barbie dolls. 150 years ago women had their corsets to get an extremely slim waistline, but the dolls had a normal figure. Nowadays, the Barbie dolls have that unnaturally slim waistline, while being overweight becomes more and more an issue ... isn't that strange?
 

Allie

Captain
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
What a great thread! I have a couple of Frozen Charlottes - they are sometimes very tiny and work well as dolls to be played with by dollhouse dolls. Tiny ones of anonymous German manufacture are often not very expensive, even when very old. I never knew why they were called that.

@FarawayFriend - the baby like doll was only one kind of doll of this era. There were also fashion dolls, used to model real fashions in miniature for women ordering dresses, and boudoir dolls, which had adult figures, including corseted waists.

One thing that is often overlooked in the criticism of Barbie's proportions, because few people sew for dolls, is the effect of fabric scale. Cotton is cotton, it doesn't reduce in thickness to 1/6 scale just because it's used to make doll clothes. And waistbands require multiple thicknesses of fabric. A fully dressed doll rarely has the appearance of a nipped in waist.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Very good, JPK, enjoyed both the poem and the pictures. I don't think the poem is a true story, I think it was meant as a warning for young girls, to illustrate the effects of vanity ...
And then I instantly thought: compare these to modern day Barbie dolls. 150 years ago women had their corsets to get an extremely slim waistline, but the dolls had a normal figure. Nowadays, the Barbie dolls have that unnaturally slim waistline, while being overweight becomes more and more an issue ... isn't that strange?


SO many old poems and ballads are shockingly dreary aren't they? To think this one birthed children's dolls is a little hysterical isn't it? Of course, the Frozen Charlottes are as weirdly shaped as Barbies in their own way if they are meant to represent adult women. We simply can't win! :smile: Someone did an hysterical full size model of Barbie- she's 6 feet tall with of course that bosom, a tiny little pin head, size 3 feet ( my 5 foot tall daughter wears a 5 ) - astonishingly silly looking. Have to guess a 6 foot tall Frozen Charlotte would have a basketball sized head, size 18 feet and stomach twice the size of her chest. Like I said, cannot win! :smile:

Had not thought of having to work with fabric, creating Lillputian clothing using Gulliver fabric, hmm. I remember doing this for my troll dolls. Hee- we were NOT allowed to have Barbies, not one- as many troll dolls as we liked. Ever try to dress a troll doll? It is VERY difficult. What is more difficult is having them ride your plastic horses.
 
Joined
Aug 25, 2013
Location
Hannover, Germany
This here is the grandmother of all Barbie dolls:

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(picture taken from: http://www.google.de/imgres?imgurl=...DTPtyny-3SKedgLcv6aGhsg=&docid=3ncZ2RgKElPM9M)


She was named Lilli and was invented in 1952 for a German tabloid newspaper still existing, the "Bild Zeitung". In fact she had a green coat also and in one of it's pockets there was a tiny copy of a Bild Zeitung.
My parents hat one and I played with it. we all would never had thought it might become valuable one day. It was eventually dumped and now it would be worth several thousands of Euros!!!
:banghead:
Sorry for the deviation, but I just came to think of that doll.
 

Allie

Captain
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
This here is the grandmother of all Barbie dolls:

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(picture taken from: http://www.google.de/imgres?imgurl=http://193.238.185.184/images/2212435?size=large&index=2&imgrefurl=http://www.lauritz.com/de/auktion/bild-lilli-puppe/i2212435/&h=450&w=300&tbnid=qE7pX7C7wlYy_M:&zoom=1&tbnh=90&tbnw=60&usg=__UI0gDTPtyny-3SKedgLcv6aGhsg=&docid=3ncZ2RgKElPM9M)


She was named Lilli and was invented in 1952 for a German tabloid newspaper still existing, the "Bild Zeitung". In fact she had a green coat also and in one of it's pockets there was a tiny copy of a Bild Zeitung.
My parents hat one and I played with it. we all would never had thought it might become valuable one day. It was eventually dumped and now it would be worth several thousands of Euros!!!
:banghead:
Sorry for the deviation, but I just came to think of that doll.
I have a Bild Lilli! Mine is a vintage HK imitation, the original German ones are quite pricey as you mention. Lillis have painted on shoes and glued-on mohair wigs instead of rooted Saran hair, but apart from that, they look very much like #1 Barbies - the purchase of a Bild Lilli in Germany inspired Ruth Handler to create Barbie. Lilli came in two sizes, one similar to Barbie and the smaller ones which were only 7 inches. Mine is the small kind; she's hanging out in my miniature diner next to the jukebox. And now you know way more than you wanted about my doll collection!
 

Allie

Captain
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
@Allie, @FarawayFriend that is so cool!

I love porcelain dolls and really any type of dolls. I am not too old! :smile: Allie- if this is not getting too off-topic, what else do you have in your doll collection?
Hopefully the moderators will allow us some leeway... If not we can take it to another thread. I'm mainly a Dawn collector. Dawn was a short-lived and very groovy little fashion doll made between 1970-1973 - which means she was rapidly disappearing from shelves just as I fell in love with her as a child. I have a variety of other interesting things though - my husband and I both just really like playing with all kinds of stuff. I do have one larger porcelain - a modern reproduction of an antique Jumeau which was made for me by a friend's mother - and a number of dollhouse sized porcelains which I costumed, plus several dollhouse dollhouse sized dolls. My Lilli. Some mod era Barbies - I love the way early Barbies were like a history of fashion. One of my favorite things is a dollhouse sized vintage Japanese doll in her original wooden box with a whole set of interchangeable wigs. I have no idea of the date on her, from the label I'm guessing 40s but I have never seen another one similar. Fortunately for me my husband is up for building and photographing all kinds of dollhouse miniatures, so my Dawn dolls have everything from a scale guitar shop to an RC fighter plane.

To connect this back to the original thread: toys reveal a lot about a culture. Studying the history of toys is a good way to learn about technology and manufacturing, fashion, cultural expectations, income levels and free time, and the attitude of the culture towards children. Someone had to design and build and patent the knee joint in a Barbie doll; there are patents for dolls from the Civil War era too. If you love porcelains, the competition in the 19th century between German and French doll manufacturers is fascinating stuff.
 

Allie

Captain
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
The Charlotte with the blonde curls, long painted eyelashes, and pearl on her hat looks an awful lot like a kewpie to me.
She's different than the others.
Yep, she appears to be possibly from the 20's. The OP explains that they were common from about 1850 to about 1920.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Hopefully the moderators will allow us some leeway... If not we can take it to another thread. I'm mainly a Dawn collector. Dawn was a short-lived and very groovy little fashion doll made between 1970-1973 - which means she was rapidly disappearing from shelves just as I fell in love with her as a child. I have a variety of other interesting things though - my husband and I both just really like playing with all kinds of stuff. I do have one larger porcelain - a modern reproduction of an antique Jumeau which was made for me by a friend's mother - and a number of dollhouse sized porcelains which I costumed, plus several dollhouse dollhouse sized dolls. My Lilli. Some mod era Barbies - I love the way early Barbies were like a history of fashion. One of my favorite things is a dollhouse sized vintage Japanese doll in her original wooden box with a whole set of interchangeable wigs. I have no idea of the date on her, from the label I'm guessing 40s but I have never seen another one similar. Fortunately for me my husband is up for building and photographing all kinds of dollhouse miniatures, so my Dawn dolls have everything from a scale guitar shop to an RC fighter plane.

To connect this back to the original thread: toys reveal a lot about a culture. Studying the history of toys is a good way to learn about technology and manufacturing, fashion, cultural expectations, income levels and free time, and the attitude of the culture towards children. Someone had to design and build and patent the knee joint in a Barbie doll; there are patents for dolls from the Civil War era too. If you love porcelains, the competition in the 19th century between German and French doll manufacturers is fascinating stuff.


If the mods do not mind you know no one else does, speaking of dolls in general? I'm guessing someone would have spoken up by now. It's not a thread where deviating from topic is annoying to an era discussion on the war, just fun. I know little about dolls across the board so it's ALL interesting to me. There are few topics not interesting - heck, rocks are interesting. ( Ok, most technology is a big snore, I know, shocking ) Feel free to discuss dolls!
 
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