A Beginner’s Guide To Hitty

~~ The Original Hitty on her Settle Bench ~~

People discover Hitty from all different sources. Many of us read the book as children, while others discover the book through their own children. Some Hitty friends find out about Hitty the doll first, through their doll collecting friends, or through casual mentions by Hitty people. However one is familiar with Hitty, we have found that there is certain basic Hitty information that most new Hitty friends are eager to discover. It can be difficult to know where to begin, however, (particularly if one is extremely excited and impatient, as we were,) and it can also be hard for those familiar with the “world of Hitty” to remember what it was like when they first discovered it. This can make it even harder for a new Hitty friend to ferret out the information that seems like ‘common knowledge’ to others. Here at Hitty.org, we remember what it was like to be “new,” and we have put together this FAQ in the hope that it can be a guide and starting point to new Hitty friends. Thus we’re happy to present,

Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have a question we might answer? Send it to us here.

Who is Hitty?

The name Hitty, (a nickname of Mehitabel), is commonly used to refer to two things. First, “Hitty” is a beautiful small, antique peg-jointed wooden doll representing the figure of a child, which was purchased by Author Rachel Field and Artist Dorothy Lathrop in an antique shop in the 1920s. Second, the term “Hitty” is often shorthand for the Newberry Award Winning 1929 book, Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, written by Rachel Field and illustrated by Dorothy Lathrop about their doll.


What is the real doll like?

The original Hitty doll is 6.25 inches tall, and appears to have been carved from White Ash wood rather than Mountain Ash as described in the book. (For more information regarding the wood, see next question ). She is peg jointed, meaning that her arms and legs are jointed to her body with pegs. She has black hair, similar to an old china doll and blue eyes, and was originally covered over her entire surface with paint. For extensive details and photos of her physical makeup, please refer to our ‘The Real Hitty’ page. For the best understanding of the character given her by her physique, there is no better source than the original book, Hitty, Her First Hundred Years.


What kind of wood is Hitty made from?

A Hitty friend has stated that the original Hitty appears to be made from Mountain Ash wood, and had this further to say:

" Unless one cuts a sliver of her wood and examines the cells under a microscope, we can not be sure. Most Mountain Ash wood has very irregular dark lines, unlike white ash wood which has very regular alternating light colored wood with darker,
open pore grain. When I examined the original doll, in the area inside her hip joints where there was no paint, and on areas of her face where the paint had worn off, it appeared to me that the wood was far more like white ash than mountain ash. The two "ash" woods are from entirely different families. Mountain ash is a member of the "Cherry" fruit tree family. Check any Audubon or other guide to Eastern American trees. BUT: I've also carved Hittys from small limbs pruned from mountain ash trees, and they have a far more regular grain pattern showing that is much closer to white ash grain than mountain ash cut from a larger trunk or limb. I do believe the original doll is white ash, but can not say so categorically."

For more information about Mountain Ash and White Ash wood, visit Jean Lotz' Rowan vs White Ash page.

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What are her measurements?

You can see the real Hitty's exact, precise measurements on our 'The Real Hitty' Pages.

What is “Hitty, Her First Hundred Years” about?

Hitty, Her First Hundred Years is a book of a little over 200 pages, (depending on the edition,) detailing the imagined adventures in the first 100 years of the Hitty doll’s life. It is written in the voice of the doll, as she describes her extensive travels and her experiences with many different owners. It is a Newberry award winning book that captivates many children and adults, and seems particularly popular in homeschooling curricula.

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How old is the original Hitty? Who made her?

Some people believe that the original Hitty dates from around the 1820s or 30s, based on the idea that she was 100 years old when purchased by Lathrop and Field. Others, however, based on her hairstyle, are more likely to place her making at around 1860. With an original piece of artwork, it is impossible to say. She was almost certainly created by an individual artist, not a professional dollmaker or by commercial production, and most of us imagine she was created for a child by a relative.


Where is the original Hitty now?

The original Hitty doll now resides in the Stockbridge Library Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where she is under the care of curator Barbara Allen . The address there is Stockbridge Library Association, Main Street, Stockbridge, MA 01262, and the phone number is: (413) 298-5501. She can be visited by the public, and we recommend contacting the library before making your travel plans as it is easiest for the library staff if patrons visit Hitty when the curator is there. We were told that the best time to visit Hitty is usually on weekdays, as opposed to weekends. The Library does not have a website at this time. Due to her fragile condition, photographs are no longer allowed. However, on speaking with the curator, we were told that some were available for purchase.

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Where can I see a picture of the original Hitty?

Check out the beautiful pictures of the original Hitty on our ‘The Real Hitty’ page!


Where can I buy Hitty?

There are many active Hitty artists. You can find Hitty.org’s list of artists on our links page http://www.hitty.org/links/links.html. Another good place to find a Hitty for sale is to maintain a ‘Hitty’ search on e-bay. You can find e-Bay here: http://www.ebay.com. Merely enter the word ‘Hitty’ into the search engines, and make sure to save your search. You can also have updates on this category e-mailed to you daily. Please note: Hitty.org is offering these suggestions as a guideline only. We cannot and do not endorse or recommend any seller.

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Who are some of the e-bay sellers?

You really need to do a search for Hitty on e-bay, as we cannot and will not recommend, endorse, or suggest any particular seller. Here’s a current selection of Hitty offerings and sellers found today on e-bay.


Who are the current Hitty doll artists and where are their sites?

Please check out our links page, http://www.hitty.org/links/links.html. We have a lot of Hitty artist's pages as well as personal Hitty sites. Please note: Hitty.org is offering these names as a guideline only, and does not and cannot endorse or recommend any seller.

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How can I make my own Hitty?

Many beginning Hitty carvers find that the best place to begin is with Judy Brown’s “Carve Your Own Hitty (Really No Excuses) Kit.” In this wonderful complete Kit, you will receive carving knives, a doll ‘blank’, (a shaped but uncarved doll), Judy’s acclaimed instructional video, and her “Guidelines For Carving Hitty Booklet.” Judy’s kit is an especially good choice if you do not have access to a drill or saw. For those who wish to begin on their own, basswood is an excellent beginning wood and studying the measurements and details on our “Real Hitty” page and/or studying the illustrations in the original book can help you to get an idea of what you want your Hitty to look like. Hitty.org does plan to have a more extensive “How to Carve a Hitty” page in the future.

There are also several doll artists who offer a cloth Hitty pattern. Barb Spencer and Julie DeGroat sell the pattern from their personal sites. Both are listed on the links page. The cloth Hitty is a perfect solution for someone who wishes to create their own Hitty, but doesn't feel confident enough to carve.

Who makes Hitty clothes?

Hitty is such a tiny doll it is often difficult for someone with limited or no sewing abilities to create outfits for her. However, there are a lot of doll artists who create lovely ensembles. We recommend checking out the offerings on e-bay on a regular basis. Many beautiful Hitty outfits come up for sale. When buying from an auction, you may wish to ask the seller if the outfits will fit your particular Hitty (give your measurements) as Hitty does come in several sizes, depending on the artist. You can also check our links page, as we have some designers listed. http://www.hitty.org/links/links.html. Please note: Hitty.org is offering these names as a guideline only, and does not endorse or recommend any seller.

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Where can I buy patterns for clothes?

Quiltdziner, through Hitty.org, offers a selection of Hitty Clothing Patterns, as well as a cloth Hitty pattern. You can find her here http://charlotte.hitty.org/patternsale.htm. There are many others listed on our links page. http://www.hitty.org/links/links.html


Will dollhouse furniture work for her? What scale is Hitty?

Hitty’s scale is a matter of some debate, and while some people feel that dollhouse furniture ‘fits,’ others feel that it is too small. Most American dollhouses and miniatures are in 1/12-inch scale, where one inch represents one foot. In that scale, Hitty, at 6.25 inches tall, appears to be 6 feet four inches in height! Because of her proportion, she can’t fit into many dollhouse furniture items. However, many dollhouse accessories can fit into Hitty’s world seamlessly. Hitty’s actual scale is difficult to determine, because of course it depends on how big you imagine Hitty to be. As the original Hitty doll represents a child, some people prefer to put her in larger furniture and surroundings to make her appear to be child-sized, or less than 4 feet tall. Others feel that Hitty should be larger in proportion to her surroundings, as her proportion to her original desk and bench make her seem more adult-like. Her voice in Hitty, Her First Hundred Years is very mature, and it seems strange to some collectors to represent her as a small child. You will need to determine through experience what scale Hitty seems to be for you, and it is easiest to decide on an individual basis if a given accessory or piece of furniture is appropriate for your Hitty.

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Where might I find some Hitty furnishings and accessories?

Keep your eyes open! Department stores, craft stores, even flea markets and rummage sales can net you a wide bonanza of goods. You can also purchase items through doll-house and miniature magazines and web sites. E-bay is, as mentioned, a rich source of items.


Where might I find patterns to make Hitty furnishings and accessories?

There are a lot of miniature sites that offer regular doll-house sized projects. Many of them can be scaled slightly larger to fit Hitty. Try going to http://www.about.com and typing 'miniatures' into their search engines. They have a nice selection of printable minis. Here on hitty.org we offer some projects and printables free to print out.

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What are some Hitty-related sites?

Check out the links page for some entertaining sites. Some of the sites are informational and some are just plain FUN.



Where can I find a discussion group, list or message board about Hitty?

We have several lists and a message board linked on our links page. Check them out to chat about our favorite heroine!


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Do you have a question we might answer? Send it to us here.