Hitty's Timeline

Welcome to the tentative timeline presented on our Hittygirls' Research Pages
The material presented below is solely the research and work of
Julie G. DeGroat, and is not intended to be the last word on the subject.

This is, by necessity, a very long page, so please be patient while loading.

"After all, what is a mere hundred years
to well-seasoned mountain ash wood
Hitty, Her First Hundred Years.


Editor's note: This timeline is offered as a guide to your own exploration of the subject. Please feel free to contact me about permissions to copy, use material from, or link to this page. If you disagree with any of my findings, pleasecontact me! I would like this timeline to be as accurate as possible.

However---feel free to print out this page for personal use only, such as adding to your Hitty scrapbook!

Works Cited
Field, Rachel. Hitty, Her First Hundred Years". New York, New York:Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc, reprinted 1990.

Encylcopedia.com. "Adelena Patti" http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/09914.html
(April 28, 2001; 3:05 pm)

Encylcopedia.com. "Whittier, John Greenleaf" http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/13840.html
(April 28, 2001 7:17 pm)

Encylcopedia.com. "Dickens, Charles" http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/03638Maturity.html
(April 29, 2001 8:18 am)

The Infamous Necklace Discussion!
Did Julie Old Crow find a descrepancy...?

The Prebles

Tentative Date



Over 100 years ago, dating back from 1929
Hitty states the tentative time of her creation. Pg. 3--"...I must have been made something over a hundred years ago..."
Since the book is written in 1929, it is safe to assume Hitty was supposed to have been created from 1820--1828.
of that time.
Her actual month of creation. Pg. 7--"...after some weeks I was finished...it was still February."
Hitty took some weeks to be created. Therefore, her actual carving could have been started as early as January, or as late as the third or fourth week of February.
February, on
a Sunday
Hitty is dropped in church.
Her first adventure!
Pg. 9--"...I was falling headfirst out of my snug sealskin hiding-place to the floor."
This event took place on a Sunday, she was finally finished on a Saturday night.
After April or May of the same year The old peddler leaves, Captain Preble returns home. Pg 14--"Andy could not make willow whistles until May." "...one day there were buds on the lilac bushes..."
Pg 16-- "...if Phoebe's father had not turned up shortly after."
If the old peddler had to wait for the roads to be passable, and spring was late, it stands to reason he could have left as early as the first of April, or as late as May. The mention of the willow whistles actually does not have a fixed point in time as to whether the peddler was still there or not.
Her first summer, from May to July. Hitty takes many trips with the family to Portland, Bath, and nearby farms. Pg 19--"...trips we took with Captain Preble in his gig, to Portland, Bath, and nearer farms."
I believe this to be from May to July, because Captain Preble probably wasn't home until the first of May, and Hitty was taken by the crows in late July.
Late July of that summer Hitty is lost in the woods, and is almost discovered by Indians. She is then taken away by the crow. Pg 20----"It was a hot afternoon in late July."
Pg 22 ----Indians are spotted, and the Preble children flee, leaving Hitty behind.
Pg 23----Almost discovered by the Indians.
Pg 24-25----Hitty is carried away by the crows.
Two days later Hitty discovers she is near the Preble's home. Pg. 26-27---"...I must have spent the better part of two days and nights in that nest."
It took her two days to maneuver to the top of the nest. The whole description in this passage is a bit vague, leading one to believe she was in the crow's nest for some time, but Hitty plainly states the length of her stay.
The night of the second day. Hitty is jostled from the nest in the darkness of the last day spent there. Pg.28---"...so violently that I could not have stayed in if I had wanted. Up went my two feet, out went my arms, and plop! I dropped over the edge!"
August of the same summer Hitty hangs in the tree, and is discovered by Andy. Pg. 30---"So I hung there for a number of days and nights."
Pg. 32--"Andy tried shying green apples..."
I believe this to have been late summer rather than early fall, since the apples Andy was throwing were still green. In my best estimation, I would have to say August, since she is back with Phoebe by September.
Between August and September of the same summer Hitty receives her cradle. Pg 35---"...I was thankful enough to stay in a neat little cradle Captain Preble had made in odd moments."
Although it is possible he made the cradle before Hitty was taken by the crows and found again, it is not mentioned any earlier than now. This leads me to believe that the cradle was made after her rescue.
Later that same September The Prebles leave to catch the Boston stage, and Hitty goes also. Pg. 38--"...one fine fall morning..."
Pg. 37--" ...if we expect to weigh anchor before November..."
We can reasonably expect that the Preble ship--with Hitty aboard--set sail in the last weeks of September to the first week of November.
First day on the ship. Hitty receives a rope hammock. Later she receives her trunk and other trinkets from the sailors. Pg. 47-- "Phoebe was being measured for the new bunk...and I for a little rope hammock..."
Pg. 48---"...a chip basket, a carved bone footstool, and a sea chest to hold all my possessions."
We can infer from this that, as the bunk for Phoebe was just being constructed, it was the first day out.
2nd year of her existence. Hitty's first months aboard. Pg. 49--"...we made excellent runs our first months out."
Pg 49--"...well past the Horn and into the South Seas."
If they left around Sept./Nov. and a few months have passed, the earliest this could be would be January, and possibly February
Shortly after rounding the Horn. Hitty's first storm at sea. Pg. 51---"However, soon after we came around....the Horn, ...a spell of bad weather."
Anywhere from February on. Hitty spots her first whale, and the fire breaks out. Hitty is left behind, and falls into the sea. Pg. 59--"..towards that mysterious grey shape..."
Pg. 62---"...as he came to eat his supper a few nights later."
Pg 63--"Scarcely was one whale turned into oil before they would be off for another."
Pg. 66--"The ship's afire."
Pg 73--"...I had been abandoned..."
Pg. 74--"...out I flew under the rail, and into the water..."
Since it takes some time, apparently a few days, to process one whale, and many whales are mentioned, it seems that a period of at least a few weeks have passed between the sighting of the first whale, and the fire.
If the time of spotting the first whale was a few months into the voyage, it may have been as early as February or even later.
Unknown amount of time Hitty floats to the island and is rescued. Pg. 77--"...think of those days and nights that I was tossed from wave to wave..."
Pg. 79---"...but come I did in time."
Pg 80--"It takes us the better part of a day to get here, rudder and charts and four pair of oars, an' she gets here all by herself..."
If anyone was so inclined, one could figure out how far it was from the boat to the island by calculating how far the vessel could have traveled with the aforementioned tools, in the given amount of time. Then one could find out common current speeds in the South Seas, and how long it would take an object to travel the distance stated.
That someone will not be me, but feel free!
Two weeks to five weeks later? The natives arrive and confiscate Hitty. Pg. 84--"And so it went, for I am not quite sure how long."
Pg. 90--"...and so I was carried away to become a heathen idol."
The amount of time spent on the island has been left vague. At no point does Hitty gives us a concrete number of days. She mentions the Captain taking notes in his daily log, and when the smoke has been spotted, it is several days after that that the natives arrive. In my opinion, this could be around late February or even March.
Many days Hitty reigns as an idol, is visited by monkeys, and rescued by Andy. Pg 92--"It is rather lonely to be a god for days on end."
Pg 93---"How many days and nights passed thus, I do not know..."
Pg 94--"...I continued this life until the night of my rescue."
Many days Hitty and the others are rescued by the Captain of the Hesper. She gets her coral necklace. She is lost in India. Pg. 103---"We were taken aboard the Hesper about daybreak...."
Pg 106--"...after all those months at sea..."
Pge 106--"....even a string for me of round, red coral."
Pg 108--"Lost in India."
Again, the amount of time is not really accounted for. I believe, from reading this passage many times, that they may have been aboard as much as a month before landing in Bombay.

Little Thankful

Tentative Date
The second year of Hitty's existence. Hitty is picked up by a snake charmer, and works with him. Pg 111--"Stouter dolls than I might have quailed at being pressed in service by a Hindoo (sic) snake-charmer."
Pg 111--"...after several days I came to take (the snake) more calmly."
Pg 112--"...it may have been years or again only a few weeks that I journeyed in the wicker basket."
Although frustrating, the lack of properly delineating the time is probably a literary device to remind us that Hitty is, indeed a doll.
Unknown time later, lasting two years. Hitty is purchased for Little Thankful. Pg 117--"...Little Thankful, it is not that I was unhappy during the two years I was her doll..."
This concrete mention of time (two years) helps us set the date more accurately.
At the end of the two years in April. Hitty travels to Philadelphia with Little Thankful and goes to a party, where she becomes lost again. She remains in the couch for some years. Pg 124--"It was a sunny April day..."
Pg 131---"Before I could take in what had happened, she had seized me and thrust me with all her strength into the narrow corner...of the sofa..."
Pg 134---"...during my years in the horsehair sofa."
A sea voyage takes some months, but we can assume that Hitty counted that voyage when she spoke of the two years with Thankful. It is not possible to have an accurate amount of time spent in the sofa.



Tentative Date
Possibly ten years later, in August. Hitty is found by Clarissa. Pg. 134--"...I found that the little girl in whose home the party had been given was now grown up and married."
Pg. 135--"So I was adopted by Clarissa..."
Pg. 140---"...month of August, when I came out of the attic..."
I believe this date to be about ten years later. For one thing, the little birthday girl was probably under twelve. She still played with dolls. She was now grown up and married. She was probably married at age 18--20. Also, it does not say how long after that event Hitty was rediscovered.
During her time with Clarissa Hitty learns to read and write. Pg 136---"I should not know now how to hold my pen and write these words as I do if I had not been Clarissa's desk companion at the little dame school..."
We can assume she meant that she learned to read also, since she can't write without reading. Also, it's possible that Hitty learned sums. How else could she calculate her voyages and so forth? If we knew how old the little girl having the party was, we could have guessed there.
1862, November Hitty meets Adelana Patti. Pg 140--"...at age nineteen..."
Adalina Patti. "1843-1919, coloratura soprano, b. Madrid, of Italian parents. She was trained in New York City, where she made her debut in 1859." --(Enclyclopedia.com)
If Patti was born in 1843, and was 19 years old at the time of the concert, it would make it 1862.
*1862?* Hitty has her daguerreotype take within days of this event. Pg 154---"...to his house for First Day dinner."
Pg. 155---"...perhaps she will permit the doll to sit for me alone?"
First Day is December 25th, but unfortunately the Quakers also called every Sunday First Day.
*1862 ?* Hitty meets with Poet John Greenleaf Whittier. He 'writes' a poem about her. Pg 158--"Telling the bees."
Pg 159--"I fear it must have been lost..."
Whittier, John Greenleaf, 1807-92, American "Quaker poet and reformer." --(Enclyclopedia.com)
"Telling the Bees " was written in 1858. Although it is hard to pinpoint Whittier's activities, he certainly could have met Hitty in Philadelphia at this time.
*1861* ?
Civil War is declared. Pg. 160---"...it has come to war."
There is a slight mix-up of the dates here, but perhaps that is due to Hitty misremembering the sequence of events in her rather busy life.
1864 Hitty mentions that Clarissa turns twelve. Pg. 162--"...was twelve now, and too old for dolls..."
Clarissa acquired Hitty in August. She was ten years old shortly after. She is now twelve. She heard Patti sing in 1862. Add two years to make Clarissa twelve, and it is 1864.
1864 to 1868 Hitty goes into camphor. Pg. 165--"...towards the end of the Civil War that I had my first taste of going into camphor."
Pg 165--"....nearly two years that I lay in this state."
The Civil War ended in 1865, so if she went into camphor near the end of that war, it could have been as early as the end of 1864, and as late as 1865.
1867 Hitty goes in the box to New York. PG. 165--"..(the box) had been removed...sent to distant cousins in New York."

Isabella and Miss Pinch

Tentative Date
1868 Hitty is found by Miss Pinch, and a wonderful wardrobe is created for her. Pg. 166---"I was unearthed at last by Miss Milly Pinch."

(Although Hitty claims she was some time in that attic before Miss Pinch found her, we can see that, if she did indeed meet Charles Dickens, then it can't have been for more than a few months at best.)
1868 Hitty is claimed by Isabella. Pg 170--"In Miss Pinch's room...and I mean to have her."
Pg 172--"I was to be taken over to prove what wonders she could perform with her needles."
It is at this time that Hitty is temporarily a 'fashion model'.
1868, Winter Hitty meets Charles Dickens. Pg 176--"...so snapping cold that Isabella's cheeks were..red."
Pg. 176--"But Mr. Dickens rose to the occasion, or rather stooped to it, for he bent and picked me up most gallantly."
"...three tours in the British Isles (1858, 1861-65, 1866-67) were followed by one in America (1867-68)." --Enclylopedia.com
Since Dickens was, indeed, in the United States from 1867 to 1868, then he had to have met Hitty in 1868. It was winter, because Hitty uses the phrase "snapping cold".
1870 New Year's Eve Hitty is lost to Isabella. Pg 179--"I might still be in the Van Rensselaer family...New Year's celebration of the following year."
Pg--182--"A crowd of urchins bore... down upon us."
Obviously, if she met Dickens in 1868, then the following New Year was 1870. I believe it to be the following New Year, not the one in 1869, because I think Hitty would have phrased it differently. (She would most likely have said "that New Year's Eve" instead of "of the following year".)


Katie and the Misses Larraby

Tentative Date
1870, New Year's Day Hitty is given to Katie. Pg. 185--"Katie...for her he had saved me from the boys."
1870, January Hitty has her first train ride. Pg 185--"...I had a chance to go traveling by the new steam cars..."
1870, Spring to July Hitty goes to the country. Pg 187--"...(Katie) and I were put aboard another train..."
Pg. 187--"It was July..."
The reason for the leap from early spring to July is the amount of time needed for Katie's recovery.
1870, July or August Hitty is lost in the hay. She remains there for some time. Her coral beads are, sadly, lost at this time. Pg 188--"...my first weeks there..."
Pg. 189--"I was trodden down under the children's feet..."
Pg 191--"...more than one season's mowing...during the years that followed..."
Hitty was at the farm for a few weeks before the hayride, and so it could have been still in late July, but more likely in early August, as that is when the second cutting would commence. Hitty is not too precise about the amount of time spent there, but then, she may not have had any way of telling the year.
Between 1870 and 1884, April. Hitty is found, and becomes an artist's model.

She travels to New Orleans, celebrates Easter there, and is given to the Misses Larraby.
Pg 193--"...finally pitched me out of my hiding place..."
Pg 193--"He gave the boy...a quarter for me."
Pg 199--"I know that I could leave her in no better hands than yours..."
We know that it had to be after 1870 when she was lost in the hay, yet before 1884, when the Cotton Exposition occurred. Also, since Easter occurred shortly after Mr. Farley's arrival in New Orleans (and was 'late that year', it was April.

Due to some comments made by the sisters (that they had both lost beaus in the Civil War) and Hittys comments as to the sisters' ages, we wonder if she considered them to be old when they could not have been more than 45 to 50? The Civil War ran from 1861 to 1864, and even if the beaus had been killed on the very first day of the war (and we know one was killed in the battle of Vicksburg), that would still have only made it 20 years before the Cotton Exposition in New Orleans, which occurred in 1884-85.
1884-5 Hitty goes to the Cotton Exposition dressed as a bride. Pg 303--"I had a place of honor in the section of the hall devoted to cotton products."


Sally, Cooky, Miss Hope

Tentative Time
1884-5, August Hitty is stolen from the Cotton Exposition by Sally Loomis, rides on the Riverboat Morning Glory, and is set afloat on the Mississippi. Pg. 206--"(Sally) had watched for her chance...hand darted in and firmly seized me..."
Pg 213--"...sun shown blazing hot..."
Pg. 217--"...I wondered if Sally Loomis...would regret...casting me in the river..."
It had to be August when Sally stole Hitty from the display case, for she is not on the boat too long. Indeed, Hitty mentions casually that the days were busy, and seems to have let that suffice. I assume it to be August for three reasons. One, Hitty describes the sun as blazing hot, and two, the sisters sewed for some time on the outfit before she was sent to the Cotton Exposition. Hitty never really says how long she was on display, or how long she floats in the basket.. Three, Cooky finds her in September.
1884-5, September Hitty is found by Cooky and given to Car'line. Pg. 218--"...Cooky....decided...(to) take me back to his little sister, Car'line."
Pg. 219--"...late September..."

1884-5 Christmas Day Hitty is discovered by Miss Hope, and rescued. Pg. 221----"....Christmas Eve came..."
Pg. 223--"We must return her at once..."
On Christmas Day of either 1884 or 1885, Car'line takes Hitty to a celebration at the big plantation house. Here, she is discovered by Miss Hope. I wish we knew how long she had been on display. It could have been anywhere from a few months to a year, so we don't know if it was 1884 or 1885.
One-two weeks later. Hitty has been cleaned up, and mailed off. She is in the box for an undetermined amount of time, and ends up in the dead letter office. Pg. 224--"I must say it was pleasant being in Miss Hope's bedroom even for the week or so it took to have my clothes washed."
Pg 225---"...put me in...a small wooden box...and sent me off..."
Pg 225--"I cannot say how long it was before the box was opened."
Pg. 226--"...this goes to the dead letter office."
Many months later. Hitty is almost traded for a painted soap dish, sent to a man who ordered cigars, discarded at a little shop that sells tobacoo, accidentally picked up by another man, and ends up in a railway station. As Hitty does not like to discuss the 'black time' she spent in the dead letter office, is rather humiliated to have been almost traded for a soap dish, and then flung down and discarded by the man who ordered the cigars, we will not discuss this matter further.

The final years before the Antique Shop

Tentative Time
Summer, sometime after 1885-6 Hitty is transformed into a pincushion by the ticket agent's wife, sent to a church fair, and given to Aunt Louella as a birthday gift. Pg 230--"...doll pincushions are all the rage.."
Pg 230--"...church fair next month..."
Pg 233--"...the very thing for Great-Aunt Louella's birthday."

We do know that she spent a little more than a month with the ticket agent's wife, because it took several days to make her, and the woman declared that she was to be sent to the church fair 'next month'. Also, it must have been summer for the church fair to have occurred.
Summer Hitty is rejected by Great-Aunt Louella, and given to Miss Pamela Wellington. Miss Pamela guesses her age to be almost one hundred years old.

Pg. 235--"...Miss Pamela...carried me home to join her famous collection of old dolls."
Pg. 235--"...must be going on a hundred."

Many Years Later, July Hitty is lost again. Pg.239--"... the next thing I knew I was caught among some knotted tree roots."
. 238--"It must have been July..."
We don't know how long Hitty spent with Miss Pamela, for she is very vague--"...I had not left her room for a number of years..." and "...I shall pass lightly over the next years of my life." When she is lost among the tree roots, she merely states that it had been "...years...since I had been alone with the elements." However, we do know that it was July, or so Hitty guesses.

A few weeks later, still summer Hitty is found by picnickers, left in a wagon, and discovers she is once more in Maine. Pg. 240--"...unattractive lot of young men and women..."
Pg 240--"I was left sitting on the high back seat for a number of days."
Most likely, this 'number of days' is not months.
1913, summer Hitty sees a calendar in the stable office. Pg. 241--"There were still four figures in a row, but now there was a nine instead of an eight...next there had been another one, and last of all, a figure three."
Hitty clearly gives us the date here--1913.
1913 to 1916 Hitty is taken by Carrie and put up for sale. Pg. 242---"...what seemed to me like two or three years at the least..."

'At the least' suggests that she could have been there even longer.
1916, summer to, roughly, 1920 something Hitty is purchased by the 'old lady' and returns to the Preble home. She lives with the old lady an undetermined amount of years. Pg 243--"I was in the Preble back parlor again after all these years."
Pg 246--"....for a number of winters..."
The last concrete date we have is 1913. She was up for sale in 1913, stayed with Carrie a minimum of three years (1916), and then stayed with the 'old lady' until September of at the least 1920, and probably later than that. There is no suggestion that she is in the antique shop for nine years!
1920 something, September Hitty is sold at auction, and goes to the Antique Shop in New York. Pg 252--"The Old Gentleman came forward, and a cheer actually went up as he straightened my clothes. Never since my days on the island have I felt more grateful for an escape."
We can't know how long Hitty spent in the Antique Shop, nor how long it took her to write her memoirs. But I do believe, from casual remarks dropped about her being over one hundred years old, that it was probably 1929, and that Hitty was probably made anytime in the winters of 1820-1828. This is, of course, merely my opinion.

     Interesting Hitty Questions
and Anomalies 

While doing research for my Hitty timeline, I came across some anomalies, and some downright fascinating stuff!
I'm currently looking for info on Hitty's hair style and suggestions as to her true age.

The Infamous Necklace Discussion!
Did Julie Old Crow find a descrepancy...?

If you have a comment to add, let us know by clicking here.
Although I hate to admit it,
I'm not always 100% right.
No, really!