Q: I have an Ada Lum cloth doll with embroidered Chinese features and a long braid in the back. It is dressed in blue “pajama style” jacket and pants, woven sandals and a straw hat. There is a tag on the doll’s wrist that says “Farmer, an original Ada Lum Doll” and “Made in Hong Hong.” Can you tell me something about the maker?
A: Ada Lum began designing and making dolls in Shanghai in the 1940s. At first she made them just for friends, but as more people wanted them she started a business making dolls. When the Communists took over in 1949, Ada Lum and her family fled to Hong Kong, where she continued her business and employed other Chinese refugees. At first she worked out of her home, but by 1962 she had a shop in the Mandarin Hotel. Her dolls were popular during the 1950s and ’60s and many were bought by American tourists. Ada Lum died in 1988. Value of your doll: about $75.