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Randall House - Wolfville Historical Society


Accession number: 11.1.2
Category: Art
Date: 1950 – 1980
Materials: Fibre, cotton; Fibre, wool
Measurements: 21 cm L x 18 cm W x 6 cm DiameterWidth is with skirt extended, diameter is of the base

On the bottom of the base is a printed paper label. MARGUERITE GATES N. S. Hnadcraft Dolls Port Williams N. S.

Culture: Acadian

Marguerite (Sharpe) Gates was born in Kentville near the Kentville Agricultural Station. Before her marriage she worked at the Advertiser  as proof reader and copy holder and sometimes worked on the Apple Blossom floats for her employer. She continued her education in the early 1960s graduating from Acadia with a BA and then a BEd after which she taught at Kings County Academy until her retirement in 1980. She began making her "dolls"  in the 1950s and made some 300 between 1950 and 1980. She moved to Wolfville after the death of her husband and lived at Annandale House until her death in 2011.



Description: A decorative doll-like figurine of a woman wearing a white cotton cap, apron and shawl and a blue woolen skirt. The base of the figure is a soft stuffed cone covered in white cotton with a frill of lace at the base made to resemble an underskirt. The arms, body and head are firmer stuffed pieces attached to the base. The hair under the cap is constructed of black embroidery floss and the details of the face are finely stitched with embroidery floss.  The fingers of the hands are delineated with small stitches. A small silver cross is attached to the shawl in the centre where the two ends cross.
History of Use: This hand crafted doll-like figure was based on the character of Evangeline from the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem and was one of many made by Marguerite Gates and sold at the shop at Grand Pre near the Acadian historical site. Accompanying the doll were excerpts from Longfellow's poem describing Evangeline:
Benedict Bellefontaine, the wealthiest farmer of Grand Pre, dwelt on his goodly acres, and with him directing his household, Gentle evangeline lived, his child, and the pride of the village. ...
Fair was she to behold, that maiden of seventeen summers, Black were her eyes as the berry that grows on the thorn by the wayside. Black, yet how softly they gleamed beneath the shade of her tresses! Sweet was her breath as the breath of kine that feed in the meadows. ...
Down the street she passed, with her chaplet of beads and her missal, Wearing her Norman cap and her kirtle of blue. ...