(Photo courtesy Nyla’s Crafty Teaching, http://mscraftynyla.blogspot.com/2014/03/its-carnival-in-t.html)
The Baby Doll character, a common sight during late 19th Century Carnival, is a satirical portrayal of a mother with an illegitimate baby. Often the masquerader portrays a gaily dressed younger woman, with a frilled dress exposing her legs, gloves, and a large poke bonnet or mob cap. In all instances she carries a doll representing the illegitimate child.
The masquerader usually stops male passers-by and various audience members, accusing them of fathering the child, then embarrassing them into giving money for milk, clothing, other needs, and/or to simply cease her accusations.