The Children's Room

The Children's Room is local history from a child's point of view. The antique, vintage, and retro toys, clothes, books, and dolls were part of childhoods, now long past.

 

The small rocker was donated by a woman who worked for the Kinney family. It had belonged to Harold Kinney, the son of Bert Orrin Kinney, who founded the Kinney Drug Company. It is in very excellent condition, compared to the tricycle from the early 20th century that obviously was so well used, the rubber is almost completely worn off the metal wheels.


Take your time in this room. Each item came from a local donation and was either worn, read, or played with, by a real child from Gouverneur, a long time ago.

In the 1920's, this happy little character once belonged to a little girl from Gouverneur named Martha Willenbacher. Martha was born on November 6, 1923 when the Campbell Kid dolls were very popular.

 

Campbell Kids were first used in 1906 as advertising mascots for the Campbell Soup Company. The Campbell Kid baby was born in 1919. It had curved legs and wore a white dress, under garment and baby bonnet.

 

This doll has the unmistakable face of one of a Campbell Kids Dolls : the painted eyes, glancing to the side, composition head, cloth stuffed with cork body, and jointed at arms and hips. The doll was based on artist Grace Gebble Wiederseim Drayton's illustrations. The sculpted design was created by Helen Trowbridge.

We have a wonderful example of a Holmes stereoscope, from the 1850s. We call it the first "3-D device." It wasn't the very first, but it is an example of the first affordable device.


"In 1861, Oliver Wendell Holmes created and deliberately did not patent a handheld, streamlined, much more economical viewer than had been available before. This type of stereoscope remained in production for a century and there are still companies making them in limited production currently." From Wikipedia

On a hangar on the shelf, is what looks like a green dress with white piping. This outfit was worn by James Otis Sheldon, the son of Henry and Martha Thompson Aldus Sheldon, and the grandson of Timothy Sheldon.


Timothy came to Gouverneur in 1808. Next to James’ formal costume, is a white toddler smock that was once worn by Edward Goulding. Edward married Martha Robinson of Gouverneur in 1938.

Long before this Charlie McCarthy look alike would become part of the collection at the Gouverneur Museum, the Simpson boy's puppet participated in a pageant. The event was sponsored by the American Legion to benefit the American Legion Band. "Charlie" was awarded Second Place: The Prince of Toy Land... he also has another ribbon which tells us more about his achievement that day, as he was awarded the ribbon for "Largest Doll" in the contest. 

 

It is lucky he has the ribbons to remember his achievement by, because what he doesn't know is, he isn't a real Charlie McCarthy doll. This guy is a Charlie McCarthy doll in nickname only. In August, 2019, we sent a photo of our "Prince to Janie Nafsinger of Antique Child Doll Restoration. She said our Prince was a "Dummy Dan" or "Dapper Dan." We (and he) prefers "dapper."  


Children's Room Docent: Judy Brown