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Amanda Goes West: A Journal of Fashion…
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Amanda Goes West: A Journal of Fashion History Through Paper Dolls (The…

by Betty Mills

Other authors: L. C. Ross (Illustrator)

Series: The Amanda Series (book 1)

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When I was younger, I was fascinated with paper dolls and had a large collection; my favorite was the coronation set of Queen Elizabeth and her family. Later when I was in college, my mother cleaned up and threw them out along with my dollhouse furniture and other treasured items. Years later, I spotted this book in the gift shop of a museum. Blending my love of fashion history and paper dolls, it was a perfect fit for me.

Betty Mills, retired curator of the costume and textiles collection at Texas Tech University, has put together “a journal of fashion history through paper dolls,” focusing on early Texas life and using the vast collection of the museum. In book 1, Amanda goes west, Mills writes the diary of Amanda Mills from 1838, when the family leaves Tennessee to settle in Columbus, Texas to her engagement to Matthew Ritter, a Texas settler originally from Pennsylvania, in 1842. The narrative, in addition to Texas life, includes information on Amanda’s and Matthew’s clothing as well as items of daily use such as a hand mirror, sewing box, hope chest, Bible, and Christmas decorations from the period. Ms. Mills also provides a map so the trip can be followed.

There are two dolls, Amanda and Matthew, along with clothing of the period and artifacts used by Amanda. Illustrator L. C. Ross has done a good job in recreating the clothing from underwear, nightgown, aprons, shawls to work clothes and party dresses, bonnets and shoes. Although not easy for a child to cut out, the book could be used for play. Or it could serve as a book on fashion and life of the period with its accurate description of clothing styles and customs. I was impressed that the drawings of the hairstyles were accurate, right down to the part in the middle!

For those who would like more information on Texas fashions, Mills has written several scholarly books, including Calico chronicle: Texas women and their fashions 1830-1910. With an interest in fashion history as well as paper dolls, this book is a perfect blend of the two and can be recommended. ( )
  fdholt | Dec 2, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Betty Millsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ross, L. C.Illustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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