Matryoshka, Matreshka, Matrushka; Doll Hospital (1900)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Jul 28 22:52:39 UTC 2002


   My tour guide wrote it out for me as "matrushka."
   On further examination, OED has an entry under "matryoshka."  The revised entry is clearly not very good.  The first dating is from 1948, then 1964 and 1982.  Alternate spellings (always important for a foreign borrowing) are not mentioned.  OED has 1937 and 1967 for "Russian doll."  It is not in Merriam-Webster ( under any spelling.
   The Google results:

MATRYOSHKA  9,000 hits
MATRESHKA  2,370 hits
MATRUSHKA  547 hits

   The NYPL has a book titled THE MATRUSHKA DOLL (NY: R. Marek, 1979) by Barbara Fischman Traub.  There is a "matryoshka" book, but from only 1969.  The 1990s gave us Becky Hickox Ayres's MATRESHKA (Doubleday, 1992) and Corinne Demas Bliss's THE LITTLEST MATRYOSHKA (Hyperion, 1999).
   "Matryoshka," a poem by Melissa Green, was published in THE YALE REVIEW, April 2002.
   An article on the Matryoshka Museum was published in RUSSIAN LIFE, January/February 2002.  I think it's on the ProQuest database.  "The first museum devoted to Russia's most famous souvenir, the matryoshka nesting doll, has opened in Moscow in the Fund of Popular Craft."  The article states that the doll is a century old (from about 1900), and that it came to Russia from similar Japanese dolls.
   I didn't find the word easily in database searches or in doll books, but I'll keep looking.


   I thought I'd query the good folks at my nearby doll hospital.  It was closed today, though.
   The New York Doll Hospital, Inc., 787 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022, (212) 838-7527, states "ANTIQUE DOLLS & TOYS BOUGHT & SOLD."
   The sign states "SINCE 1900."
   OED's first entry for "doll hospital" is 1917.

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