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Melbourne Museum


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Doll - Frozen Charlotte, Porcelain, circa 1880 Archaeology Reg. No: LL 079286

This Frozen Charlotte doll was uncovered in 2002 during an archaeological dig of Casselden Place, part of an inner-city Melbourne block colloquially referred to as 'Little Lon'.

Frozen Charlottes were typically unjointed china dolls that ranged in height from 25 mm to 100 mm (the museum's example is 42mm). Originating in the USA, they were popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The 25 mm (or 1?) dolls were commonly known as 'penny dolls' as they sold for 1¢ in America.

From the number of Frozen Charlotte dolls (or parts thereof) uncovered in archaeological digs in Little Lon, we can surmise these dolls were popular in Melbourne too. The discovery of two hand carved wooden Frozen Charlottes also indicates that the type was adapted by local people.
Miniature ceramic 'Cherub' figure - pudding/cracker doll -painted pink over glaze.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from Heritage Victoria, 2005
Discipline: Archaeology - Historical
Dimensions: 42 mm (Height), 14 mm (Width), 13 mm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: toy, doll, toys, play, children s play, making history - little lonsdale street
Themes this item is part of: Little Lon, Little Lon Collection
On Display at: Melbourne Museum
Primary Classification: HISTORICAL ARCHAEOLOGY
Activity: domestic
Trench Unit Number: 23/05/34
References: Information in Object Summary from Msueum Victoria web site 2008, written by Charlotte Smith.


elizabeth herbert Posted on 28 Feb 2010 1:53 PM
hello...a strange echo of another time and place here...frozen charlotte dolls have been excavated from Thuringian doll factories grounds for many years. How odd that another type of this doll found its way underground a world away...any comments? Thank you, Elizabeth Herbert, Canada. I'm a published art historian--such synchronicities fascinate me.
Discovery Centre Posted on 02 Mar 2010 11:51 AM
Museum Victoria Comment
Hi Elizabeth, thanks for posting a comment on our Collections Online website and for contacting Museum Victoria’s Discovery Centre. I am excited to know that the work we are doing here in Australia is being viewed by colleagues in Canada.

This Frozen Charlotte doll is just one of many in the museum’s collection. A handful were uncovered during excavations of the Commonwealth Block between 1988 and 2002, but the museum also holds over 50 dolls recovered from rubbish tips in Melbourne, and a couple that have been handed down by descendents of their 19th century owners.

Being mass produced, cheap to buy, and manufactured over a long period of time with little variation to form, it is likely the dolls in the museum’s collection were purchased in Victoria rather than brought out with new immigrants; though there are bound to be exceptions to the rule
Judy Kattula Posted on 18 Nov 2013 4:54 PM
These tiny dolls about 4 cm long were also called "plum pudding dolls " as they were cooked in the Xmas pudding along with coins in Victorian times..

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