First published in 1929, Hitty: Her First Hundred Years won the Newbery Award in 1930. Narrated in the first person by Mehitabel, or Hitty, herself, she tells how she went from a sturdy piece of Mountain Ash Wood in Maine in the early 1800s to a carved doll and playmate to Phoebe Preble. Hitty's adventure begins when she and Phoebe join Captain Preble aboard his whaling ship. From there, she finds her way from a tropical island, to India, to Philadelphia then to New York. She travels with a snake charmer, attends the opera, meets Charles Dickens, has her daguerreotype taken, becomes a doll of fashion and sits as an artist's model. Sometimes she is a child's plaything. Sometimes she is loved, sometimes she is ignored and sometimes she is treated badly. And, for long periods of time, she is lost to the world whether it is underwater or in a hayloft. As children's book author and illustrator Rosemary Wells says of Hitty, a childhood favorite of hers, she loved Hitty's "indomitable spirit and the time carried her from owner to owner like a river. Hitty didn't mind being stuck in a hayloft for twenty years. Hitty also made American history come alive for me."
For those of you who like these kinds of connections, it is rumored that the nameless doll in the antique shop who befriends the wayward rabbit at the end of the book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, is actually Hitty herself.