|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Tuesday, May 23, 2017
|Two 150-Year-Old Civil War Dolls Get X-Rayed at VCU Medical Center for Signs of Smuggling|
A Civil War-era doll dubbed Nina lays on an imaging table at Virginia Commonwealth University's Medical College of Virginia hospital radiological center in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010. Nina and another doll, Lucy Ann, thought to have been used to smuggle medicine past Union blockades, were X-rayed Wednesday, disclosing hollowed papier-mache heads that once could have contained quinine or morphine for wounded or malaria-stricken Confederate troops. AP Photo/Steve Helber.
By: Steve Szkotak, Associated Press
RICHMOND (AP).- Two Civil War-era dolls thought to have been used to smuggle medicine past Union blockades were X-rayed Wednesday, disclosing hollowed papier-mache heads that once could have contained quinine or morphine for wounded or malaria-stricken Confederate troops.
The 150-year-old dolls, dubbed Nina and Lucy Ann, were likely packed with the drugs and shipped from Europe in the hope that Union troops would not inspect toys when looking for contraband, a museum official said.
Nina and Lucy Ann were taken to VCU Medical Center from their home next door, The Museum of the Confederacy, to see if the contours inside their craniums and upper bodies were roomy enough to carry the medicines.
The conclusion: yes.
The next step could be forensic testing for any traces of the drugs.
The dolls were given to the museum by donors who said they were used to smuggle medicine past Northern blockades to Southern troops.
Nina was donated to the museum in 1923 by the children of Gen. James Patton Anderson, who commanded the Tennessee Army of the Confederacy. She has red felt boots.
Lucy Ann, attired in a salmon-colored cape and dress, was given to the museum in 1976 by an anonymous donor. She is adorned with a coral necklace.
Lucy Ann has an open gash on the rear of her bonneted head, possibly made when its contents were emptied. Nina was likely disassembled then stitched back together.
Museum officials believe the dolls were in fact used for smuggling in the Civil War.
"In all of the research that I have been able to do, these are the only two confirmed smuggling dolls that I've been able to find," said Catherine M. Wright, collections manager at the museum. The X-rays were conducted as part of the museum's continuing research of its vast Confederate holdings, believed to be the largest in the U.S.
"People have been so interested in children's toys and dolls from the Civil War in general," she said. "The smuggling aspect is very captivating."
Wright carried the dolls, each 2 to 3 feet long, in a box to the radiology department of the hospital.
Registered technologist Lanea Bare gently placed each doll on the X-ray table, taking images of each facing up, then on their sides. Ghostly images were then displayed on a screen in the busy radiology department, drawing stares and wisecracks from passing doctors and technicians as the dolls lay neatly back in their box.
"Looking here, this looks like a cavity in the head and upper chest," said Dr. Ann S. Fulcher, pointing to Nina's image on the screen. "That's probably where the majority of the goods, the medicine, was put."
The hospital visit was free-of-charge.
The dolls' heads and shoulders are stitched to the bodies, which are stuffed with wool or cotton. Safety pins used to secure their clothing, including undergarments, were visible in the X-rays.
The museum knows little about the dolls' silent service to the Confederacy.
One theory is that they were purchased in Europe, then shipped to a Southern port with the medicines stuffed in their heads to avoid detection by the North's blockade of Southern ports.
"The idea behind the smuggling dolls is that even if a ship was boarded and searched, it was unlikely that they were going to do such a thorough search that they would find this medication hidden inside of dolls," Wright said.
The blockade from 1861 until 1865 was intended to thwart the delivery of arms, soldiers and supplies such as medicine to the South. Rhett Butler, the fictional rogue in Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With the Wind," was a blockade runner.
A well-known illustration from the period shows a woman tying bundles of medication under her hoop dress for delivery to Confederate troops, Wright said.
Once the dolls reached a port, the powdered quinine would be pressed into pills for Southern troops, Wright said.
Malaria was widespread among Union and Confederate troops. Some 900,000 Union troops contracted malaria during the war, leaving 4,700 dead, according to the "Medical and Surgical History of the Civil War."
Statistics for Southern troops were not compiled but malaria was probably more widespread, said Robert Krick, park historian at the Richmond National Battlefield Park, which includes the site of the Confederacy's largest hospital.
Wright, the museum collections manager, was elated after the examination.
"This has been really thrilling," she said. "It's not often that you get to research a topic that one else has ever worked with before."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
October 28, 2010
SFMOMA Presents Major U.S. Retrospective of Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson
A Masterpiece from the Museo Archeologico Regionale di Agrigento Goes on View at the Getty Villa
Specially Equipped Silver Aston Martin First Driven by Sean Connery Sells for $4.1M in London
FBI Seizes a Forgery of Andrew Wyeth's Painting "Snow Birds" from an Auction House
Harry Blain and Former Sotheby's Vice Chairman Emmanuel Di Donna to Open New York Gallery
Caravaggio-Inspired Dutch Masterpiece Acquired for Fitzwilliam Museum
Documentation and Artwork, 1972-1985 by Cuban-American Artist Ana Mendieta at Galerie Lelong
Iwo Jima Mementos, a Faded Photograph and Child's Drawing, Bring Closure to Japanese Family
Christie's Sales of Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art to Offer an Impressive Array of Rare and Important Works
Oakland Museum of California Acquires Historic "All of Us or None" Poster Collection
Two 150-Year-Old Civil War Dolls Get X-Rayed at VCU Medical Center for Signs of Smuggling
Baltimore Nuns Auctioning Famous Baseball Card to Raise Money for Diocese
Kunsthaus Zürich Embarks on Ambitious Restoration Project on the Work of Alberto Giacometti
Irma Stern Makes New £2.4 Million World Record for South African Art at Bonhams in London
Harn Museum of Art Creates New Position to Increase Collaborations with University of Florida Faculty and Students
The U.S. Department of State and the Bronx Museum of the Arts Announce International Community-Based Visual Arts Program
Children's Spontaneity "Wiped Out by Teaching" Claimed Beatrix Potter in Forthright Letters for Sale at Bonhams
SFMOMA Debuts a New Body of Work by R. H. Quaytman
Leslie Hewitt Awarded 2010 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize
Sylvia Sleigh, Prominent Painter, Dies at Age 94, Seminal Work On View at the Hudson River Museum
Tate Launches The Muybridgizer App for iPhone, Free for the Duration of the Exhibition
Exceptionally Rare Darth Vader Costume to Be Offered at Christie's South Kensington
Audit Shows Records at National Archives in Washington at Risk of being Lost for Good
Saatchi Gallery Opens Second Installment of Museum-Scale Survey of Emergent British Contemporary Art
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa Wants Yale University to Return Artifacts to Peru
The Hayward Gallery Presents Seminal Works by Leading Artists in Move: Choreographing You
Special Exhibition Reconsiders John La Farge's Contributions to American Art in Centenary Year of Artist's Death
Successful Anniversary Year Boosts Meijer Gardens Attendance and Membership
Rudy Giuliani's New York City Hall Portrait, Painted by Everett Raymond Kinstler, is Unveiled
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Pissarro painting seized in WW II turns up in exhibition at the Marmottan Museum
2.- First comprehensive retrospective of Mark Tobey's work in Italy opens in Venice
3.- Apple-1 still tops the list of most-wanted tech collectibles
4.- Desire, love, identity: British Museum explores LGBTQ histories
5.- Exhibition focuses on the Nazi period and the acquisitions made during those years
6.- Tate Modern opens the UK's first major retrospective of Alberto Giacometti for 20 years
7.- MFA Boston reaches agreement with estate to retain 18th century porcelain
8.- Anish Kapoor's Descension installed at Brooklyn Bridge Park
9.- United States pavilion opens with Mark Bradford's "Tomorrow Is Another Day"
10.- Venice's 57th International Art Exhibition is a tonic for global woes
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.