I bought this doll a while ago and when I did I planned to take the bell off. It made me uncomfortable but it looked like it has always been with her. After doing some reading and talking about it I understand and it is a good thing in way. On farms and plantations often elderly women were put in charge of taking care of children while the adults worked in the fields. But other means of making sure children were safe also required tying them to trees with a lead that allowed them to move around or the use of a bell tied around their necks so they could heard. No bell meant they were asleep or they were out of hearing range. One woman said that mothers knew the sound of the bell that was their childs and not someone else's. It is awful to think that mothers had to do such a thing but I remember as a kid our next door neighbor tied her two year old to a tree lots of times in the summer so she could hang laundry and not chase him all over. So that is the story of the bell. A way of survival when surviving was a hard job.
She is just as I found her with the falling apart dress, the little stub arms, the sock body stuffed with rags. She is a bitter sweet memory of the past. Circa 1890 and 13" tall.