This little girl is known as Sunbonnet Sue. The image was created by the artist and illustrator Bertha Corbett (Melcher) (1872-1950). Sue became an illustration for the book The Sunbonnet Babies Primer (1900) and for a very popular series of children’s books entitled Sunbonnet Babies (1902). You can read an excellent article on Bertha Corbett Melcher in the Minnesota Historical Society publication, Minnesota History Magazine.
Sue has remained a relatively unchanged embroidery and quilt pattern from before 1900 until today. She also appeared on postcards, dishes, ashtrays and quilts after 1900. Margaret Hobbs Cook, at 104 years young, has spanned that century of Sunbonnet Sue’s popularity and Margaret was still quilting at 103.
We attribute these bookends to Hubley. Hubley began in 1894 and produced quality painted iron toys, doorstops, bookends and other products until about 1970. Because the Sunbonnet Sue image originated and became very popular early on, we guess that Sue bookends were first issued in the first decade of the twentieth century. Many of the Sunbonnet Sue bookends that we see are poorly cast and extensively rusted. This pair has apparently original paint and in five colors.