Sudbury Hall NT

Sudbury Hall NT

The Saratoga Trunk


In the collection here at the National Trust Museum of Childhood we are lucky enough to have a miniature doll’s version of the famous Saratoga trunk!


The doll’s Saratoga trunk


Saratoga trunks are named after the spa city where they were most commonly taken – Saratoga Springs, New York. In the 19th century, Saratoga Springs was a hugely popular vacation destination for the rich and famous, where they could enjoy the spas and racetracks of the area.


‘Back in Saratoga’s Victorian heyday, people didn’t just come to the Spa Cityfor a weekend, they came for “the season.” An entire summer away from home meant hauling a whole summer wardrobe. And in the days before shorts and slip dresses, 19th century vacationers needed some serious luggage. Ladies were hauling countless hats and gowns. Never mind the myriad of undergarments required.’ (


Saratoga trunks, with their durability, huge size, curved tops and many compartments and trays within, were the ideal container for transporting this huge wardrobe. Nobody knows who designed the Saratoga trunk, but they appeared during the mid 1800’s. Too big for stagecoaches, they were transported by train, but by the early 19th century when people started travelling by car, the trunks became too cumbersome and they fell out of favour.


A full size Saratoga trunk


The Saratoga trunk we have here at the Museumof Childhoodis a much smaller version of the original – just 460 mm long, 327 mm high and 310 mm deep. However, it is a perfect little replica, complete with all the compartments and trays within. It came fully stocked with all the clothes and accessories that a fashionable doll of the 19th century could ever need, including hats, shoes, gloves, parasols, jewellery and corsets!

Inside the doll’s Saratoga trunk

This doll’s Saratoga trunk was given to a little girl called Mary Ann by her father on her 8th birthday in the 1850’s. Her father, a wool buyer from Manchester, bought the trunk while he was attending wool sales inLondon. Mary Ann was a very lucky girl indeed to be given such an extravagant present!

Below are a few examples of the contents of the doll’s Saratoga trunk

A doll’s hairbrush

Doll’s shoes

Doll’s haircombs

A doll’s parasol

A doll’s corset


You too can come and see our doll’s Saratoga trunk, which is on display in our Toy Gallery, complete with many of its contents.



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