The Skookum Indian Dolls were made to be sold to tourists. They are sought after by many collectors today.
Skookum dolls can be identified usually by a sticker on the bottom of the foot that identifies the doll as a genuine Skookum Doll.
A dolls age can be determined by the shape of the sticker. The last of the Skookum dolls that were made had brown plastic shoes that say Skookum instead of a tag. There are many faces used on these dolls, but most of them have very thin eyebrows and their eyes are glancing to the right. There are a few glancing to the left and they are considered very rare. The dolls range in size from a seated doll that is four inches tall to a big thirty six inch doll that was used in displays. The most common sizes are the four to twelve inch sizes. Skookum dolls never have arms as they are always wrapped in a blanket. Their head and necks are
stationary and their hair is usually mohair, but a few were made with human hair. Just because a doll is wrapped in a blanket does not make it a real Skookum.
There were many similar dolls made at the same time and look similar, so be careful you are getting a genuine Skookum Doll.
The first patents were filed for three dolls, they were a male, a female, and a female with a baby on November 29, 1913.
The patents were granted in February 17, 1914 to Mary McAboy. The dolls became so popular that Mary McAboy partnered with H. H. Tammen Company of Denver, Coloradoo in 1920 to keep up with sales. Mary became head of the Skookem Assembly Division.
The Skookum Dolls were factory made from the 1920's to the 1960's. They were made to look like Native American Indians and were sold to tourists. There was a variety of styles to represent the different tribes and style of dress. The early Skookum dolls had heads made of apples. The bodies were made of wood or muslin bags stuffed with straw and grass. The hair was made of mohair or string. They were dressed in blankets and usually had jewelry and other accesssories. Later dolls were made of composition or plastic. The word Skookum originated from the Chinook or Siwash traders of the American Northwest
with the main meaning being Bully Good.