I love the sort of projects that start with a co-worker saying, “We have something special we want you to box,” because I always know it’ll be anything but a regular book. When I saw this little Blue Devil Doll, I knew a fun project lay ahead.
This doll was donated to the Duke University Archives this spring. It was purchased on campus in 1938 and is made of straw with a wax (I think) head and dressed in a smart blue felt outfit. The devil’s tail has floral wire wrapped around it to provide stiffness. The doll itself is in fair condition but, as you can see below, it has sustained some damage to the felt, most likely from insect activity.
Because of its condition, I wanted to make a sturdy box that had a cushioned interior to protect the fragile doll. The end result would be a drop-spine box, also called a cloth-covered clamshell. Before constructing the outer box, I would have to make an inner box with a cushioned interior.
The inner box is constructed of buffered corrugated board, lined with polyester quilt batting with a cotton fabric liner. The fun part was making the side bolsters to keep the doll from rolling around. These are made from rolled up polyester batting and then encased in a polyethylene pocket using our CoLibri book cover machine to make tubes. These provide enough structure to hold their shape but are still soft should the doll shift. Who knew that all my sewing experience would come in handy this way?
Once done with the inner tray, I constructed a clamshell box around it. The final enclosure is sturdy and keeps the doll firmly in place. The creative use of the CoLibri pockets worked really well. I’ll remember that should another devil cross my path.
For more photos of the Blue Devil Doll in his new home, visit the Conservation Lab’s “Boxing the Devil” set on Flickr!
Post contributed by Beth Doyle, Collections Conservator, as part of our ongoing “In the Conservation Lab” series.
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The Devil’s Tale Archive
- Marcel Montassut papers, 1914-1975. August 21, 2014
- Bengal Chamber of Commerce letter of gratitude to Daniel Mackinlay upon his retirement, 1860 February 21. August 21, 2014
- John Symonds Breedon diaries and account books, 1736-1808. August 18, 2014
- Rosina Lyon letters, 1846-1849. August 15, 2014
- H. C. Kisner papers, 1857-1922 and undated. August 13, 2014
- Precationes ex veteribus orthodoxis doctoribus : ex ecclesiae hymnis et canticis, ex Psalmis denique Dauidis collectae, et nunc recens recognitae & auctae August 8, 2014
- The danger of premature interment : proved from many remarkable instances of people who have recovered after being laid out for dead, and of others entombed alive, for want of being properly examined prior to interment : also a description of the manner the ancient Egyptians, and other nations preserved and venerated their dead, and a curious account of their sepulchral ever burning lamps and mausoleums : likewise, the pernicious effects of burying in the body churches, and confined church-yards pointed out, whereby many valuable lives have been lost to the public, and their friends : selected from historical records August 7, 2014
- Conseils aux femmes de quarante ans August 7, 2014
- The Anchor (Volume c.1) August 21, 2014
- The Methodist (Volume c.1) August 21, 2014
- Bericht der Verrichtungen w?�hrend des Synody des Lutherischen Ministeriums : (Volume c.1) August 15, 2014
- Proceedings of the district conference of the Charlotte DistrictN.C. Conference M.E. Church Sout (Volume 1878 c.1) August 15, 2014
- Minutes of the ... annual meeting of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and Ministerium of North Carolin (Volume 1827 c.1) August 15, 2014