Americans, and most all humans, have long sought ways to divine what the future holds. Fortune tellers have used a variety of methods to predict future events. Tarot cards have been around for centuries; some predictors work from reading tea leaves, handwriting, the palm of an individual's hand, or even the contours of the skull. In the 19th century, books written for girls offered instructions in making fortune-telling dolls or Fate Ladies. These dolls required girls to sew a dress, and maybe a hat, for the doll and to make a skirt of leaves of folded paper onto which they had written fortunes. Girls used dolls made wood, porcelain, china, papier mache, or even more paper for their fortune-tellers, which explains why there is such variety in these novel dolls.


  • Title: Doll
  • Creator: Sybill Fortune Telling Doll Co.
  • Date Created: 1925-1930
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Subject Keywords: fortune telling
  • Type: Dolls from the Nineteenth Century
  • Medium: cloth, composition, paper, paint
  • Object ID: 80.1228

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps