Returning a Favor

Fall 2018 As Seen in Our Fall 2018 Issue
Returning a Favor

Beloved gift to a distraught child finds its way back to Johns Hopkins

Isabel is a stockinette doll who has been in the family of Marcia Moore since the early 1900s: “Sometime, probably between 1906 and 1909, my grandmother, Marcia Godfrey Davis, was hospitalized at Johns Hopkins after a mental breakdown. My mother, Cornelia Patten Davis, who was born in 1902, stayed at Hopkins while her mother received treatment. Throughout her life, Mother remembered her time there, and that ‘they wouldn’t let me see my mother.’ Her main, and maybe only, consolation was a doll the nurses gave her.”

The exact historical and medical details are fuzzy, Moore reports, because the hospitalization was never spoken of within the family. But her mother loved the doll, as did she. “My daughter, now in her 40s, preferred Cabbage Patch Kids,” explains Moore, a former journalist and author
of the children’s book Wind and Oyster Jack. Rather than have her linger in a box somewhere, Moore wrote to Dean Patricia Davidson asking whether the school would like to have Isabel as a reminder of an act of kindness that lasted “not only for a lifetime but for generations.”

And so Moore brought the doll from the Eastern Shore in September to “live” at the School of Nursing.

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