The original Hitty doll
Hitty is not merely a storybook doll. She really does exist in our world.
The Hitty doll upon whom the book is based was found in an antique shop by Rachel Field in the 1920s. The doll is peg-jointed and carved from ash wood with both arms and legs moving as a pair. She is six and one-quarter inches tall. This doll presently resides at the Stockbridge Library Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts with the clothing and accessories bought for her by Rachel Field.
If you are interested in visiting the Real Hitty, prior to your visit please contact the Stockbridge Library to ensure that you will be able to view Hitty. In the interest of conservation of an antique, she is not always available for viewing. Photos are no longer permitted due to her fragile state, but postcards and related images of her are available for sale.
Mountain Ash or White Ash?
The general consensus, judging from the wood grain pattern, is that Hitty is carved from white ash. Not only is mountain ash a hardwood which is difficult to obtain, but mountain ash and white ash have distinctively different grain. They are unrelated trees such that it is easy to tell the difference.
Although Hitty was declared to be 100 years old at the time Rachel Field purchased her (1920s), the style in which her hair is carved indicates that she was probably made around 1860. Collectors celebrate 22 January as the birthday of the Real Hitty.