skookum dolls
Skookum Dolls - Skookums Doll History
The history of Skookum dolls starts with Mary McAboy filing two applications for patents for a doll or toy figure on November 29, 1913.  The patents were granted on February 17, 1914.  One of the applications was for a male and the other a female and in three styles - a male doll, a female doll, a female doll with a baby.

The dolls started to become so popular that Mary McAboy partnered with H.H. Tammen Co. of Denver, Colorado in 1920 to keep up with the demand.  She stayed on and was the head of the Skookum Assembly Division.  The look of the doll stayed the same but some of the materials used to make them changed and plastic and some other materials were used.  They were factory made dolls from the 1920's - 1960's that resembled Native American people and were usually sold in tourist spots

Skookum dolls came in a variety of sizes and styles to represent various tribes, customs and dress.  From 2" souvenir mailers to 3 foot store displays.

Skookums don't have arms but were wrapped with Indian style folded blankets so that it looked like they had folded arms.  Some had jewelry like earrings or bead necklaces, papooses, hair ties, cigarettes, headbands, kerchiefs, feathered headdresses and more.  They will usually have the words "Skookum" stamped on the bottom of the plastic shoes or come with a tag that says "Skookum".  Most Skookum dolls were made so they look to the right.  Some look to the left but are pretty rare and hard to find.

Composition Of Early Skookum Dolls
Heads were made of dried apples.
Bodies were made of wood and stuffed with twigs, leaves, straw and grass stuffed in a muslin sack.
Legs were made of wooden dowel rods.
Shoes, feet or moccasins were made by felt, leather or usually suede over wood.
Hair was made of mohair or cotton string.
Eyes were made by pins.
Usually had blankets, jewelry and other accessories.

Composition Of Skookum Dolls Later Down The Line
Heads were made of plastic or composition.
Bodies were made of plastic.
Shoes and feet were made of plastic and usually brown from 1948 until the end of production.
Usually had blankets, jewelry and other accessories.

What does the word Skookum mean?
It's a word that originated from the Chinook or Siwash traders of the American Northwest and has a few meanings.  The main one attributed to the Skookum doll is Bully Good! which means very good, excellent or large.  Some other meanings of Skookum are strong, good, brave, tough, best, powerful, ultimate, first rate, cool etc.
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