In 1884, at the age of twelve, the remarkable Miss Sarah Elizabeth Birdsall Otis – known to all as Birdie – made an extraordinary paper doll’s house in the form of a book. While these were fashionable enough at the time, they were usually drawn and painted: Birdie, however, chose the medium of collage. Her album’s exquisite rooms, accompanying paper dolls and tiny accessories are true works of art, full of period charm but also distinctly appealing to a modern taste and sensibility.
Eric Boman’s full-colour photographs capture Birdie’s remarkably vivid fantasy world in all its quirky splendour. Boman also tells her life story and the background to the making of the doll’s house through turn-of- the-century photographs found in her family albums. With an envelope at the back of the book containing press-out dolls and sticker costumes from the original collection, this publication showcases an astonishing example of youthful creativity.