Doll with bisque head and torso. Head has hand painted pink cheeks, blue eyes, pink lips, and two long braids of real blond hair. Wearing a red, blue, beige and black plaid dress, cotton socks with frills at top, no shoes.
This doll, named Bessie, was carried by six year old Harriet Peabody Butler during her family's escape from the Chicago Fire of 1871. As her family got ready to leave, Harriet realized she had forgotten Bessie and ran back into her house to rescue her while the family's carriage waited. It was donated to the Society by Ms. Butler's grand-children. A new dress was constructed for the doll at a later date.
This doll is one of the cherished objects saved by residents fleeing the Great Chicago fire of 1871. Although much of the city was destroyed, residents were able to save beloved items like this doll that they could carry as they fled to the prairie surrounding the city. The fire destroyed about a third of the city's homes and killed 300 Chicagoans. Harriet Peabody Butler carried this doll, named 'Bessie' with her during her family's escape from the burning city.