Seminole Dolls

Dublin Core


Seminole Dolls

Alternative Title

Seminole Dolls


Seminole Indians--Florida
Native Americans
Indigenous peoples--United States
Dolls--United States
Patchwork--United States


Dolls in patchwork clothing created by members of the Seminole tribe in the 1940s. By the end of the 19th century, the few indigenous people remaining in South Florida after the Seminole Wars lived in isolated camps in the wilderness of the Everglades area known as Big Cypress Swamp. Their encounters with white settlers and traders introduced them to hand-cranked sewing machines and other goods. With these new sewing machines, different designs were sewn out of brightly colored cotton fabric pieces in a style that came to be known as patchwork. The designs were intricately made and were inspired by animals and elements of their natural environment.

In 1917, Alice Osceola, the wife of William McKinley Osceola, became the first known woman to wear patchwork adornment on her clothing. As more women took up the practice, the clothing became more elaborate and colorful. Indigenous women made patchwork articles to sell to tourists visiting their camps and settlements. Patchwork clothing and goods became a hallmark of the tribes' handicrafts and sales of these items helped support many Seminole and Miccosukee families before the arrival of the gaming industry. Seminole seamstresses made these dolls out of red palmetto fibers and dressed them in patchwork-style clothing like that of the tribe's women. The dolls are highly prized today by collectors of Seminole Indian artifacts. These specific dolls date to the 1940s and were donated to the Museum of Seminole County History by Clarabel Van Tuyl.


Original color digital image, 2015: Museum of Seminole County History, Sanford, Florida.

Date Created


Is Part Of

Seminole County Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.




124 KB


10 patchwork dolls


Physical Object


Seminole County, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Humanities Teacher
Visual Arts Teacher


Donated to the Museum of Seminole County History by Clarabel Van Tuyl.

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by the Museum of Seminole County History and is provided here by RICHES of Central Florida for educational purposes only.


Fried, Aaron
Cepero, Laura

Digital Collection

External Reference

Downs, Dorothy. Patchwork: Seminole and Miccosukee Art and Activities. Sarasota, Fla: Pineapple Press, 2005.

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

3 color digital images



Transcribe This Item

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