A Brief History of Skookum Dolls

Mary Dwyer McAboy turned apples into dollars.

In Episode 21 – “Spooky Skookum and Carved Kachina” we take a look at two very popular southwest collectibles. Kachina dolls are typically created by Native Americans. Skookum Dolls, however, were the work of one very successful young lady from Minnesota.

Below is a brief history (in pictures) of Skookum Dolls and their creator, Mary Dwyer McAboy.

Look Towards the Doll’s Feet

The age of Skookum Dolls is easily figured out by the material used to make the feet and the stamp or sticker attached.

Sure it’s a weird name, but where did she come up with it? It turns out the word was heavily used in the northwest and typically meant excellent.

Skookum Doll Rivals?

When someone sees something gain in popularity they tend to try and copy it. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. None of these competitors came close to the real deal.

Mary Dwyer was married to Frank McAboy for only four years before he succumbed to Tuberculosis at the age of 30. She never remarried and stayed involved in her business until around 1953. She passed away eight years later.

Not So Fresh Produce

These highly collectable dolls found at gift shops up and down Route 66 were originally made with apples. Some of them are still around today, though not many.

Which way is your Skookum looking?

It matters, trust me. A majority of Skookums look towards the right. This is said to bring good health and healing. Owning one that is looking to the left is said to bring misfortune. Although owning one at this stage could at least bring some serious cash with your misfortune.

Thank you to Skookumnews.com for much of the information used in Episode 21


Listen to Episode 21 – “Spooky Skookum and Carved Kachina” below or on any major Podcast App

2 thoughts on “A Brief History of Skookum Dolls

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  1. As an avid collector of Skookum Dolls for over 30 years, I enjoyed your article and your podcast as there is not a lot of correct information on these dolls out there!! I have a 160+ collection, 5 of which are Appleheads, (Just so you know.. they don’t stink. lol) and 22 left lookers. I also administer a Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/758639474887933/?multi_permalinks=1012755152809696&notif_id=1629584166600169&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic&ref=notif which you are most welcome to join! 🙂

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