Staff Artifact Pick Video: 1905 Doll in BGH Nurse’s Uniform

Staff Artifact Pick: 1905 Doll in BGH Nurse’s Uniform

Watch the video as Administrative and Collections Assistant Danielle highlights the fascinating story of this doll.

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According to oral history the doll was given to Lena Sharpe in 1905.  Lena was a young girl undergoing cancer treatment at Belleville General Hospital.  Unfortunately, her arm had to be amputated and she was hospitalized for quite a while.  The nurses that cared for her at the hospital gifted her with this doll, dressed in an exact copy of their own nursing uniform.

Doll in BGH Nurse's Uniform, circa 1905

The doll itself dates between 1893 and 1905. It features a German bisque head with human hair and brown glass”sleep eyes” that open and close.  The body is made of kid leather with muslin arms and legs.  The doll is wearing knit stockings and bloomers that may be part of the doll’s original costume. She is wearing a blue and white striped cotton dress with a white cotton cambric apron, bib, cuffs and hat.

Tucked into the back of the apron are a small pair of scissors that were used to remove the stitches from Lena’s surgery.


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Lena’s daughter tells us that her mother remembered seeing and riding in her very first motor car, while she was recouperating at the hospital. A doctor owned that motor car and seeing her interest, took her out for a short car ride.  What a thrill that must have been!