Mary B. Billie chopping sabal to harvest palmetto fibers for dollmaking - Big Cypress Reservation, Florida

Mary B. Billie chopping sabal to harvest palmetto fibers for dollmaking - Big Cypress Reservation, Florida

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/120224
(please include photographer's name when noted).

Title

  • Mary B. Billie chopping sabal to harvest palmetto fibers for dollmaking - Big Cypress Reservation, Florida

Image Number

  • FS80277A

Year

  • 1980

Date Note

  • Photographed on July 15, 1980.

Series Title

General Note

  • Mary B. Billie has been a dollmaker since she was 17. She learned the skill by watching her mother, who had learned it from Mary's grandmother.
  • Accompanying note: "'She said if she can find it early enough, she sometimes gets about fifty, but it depends on the day. If she finds it late in the afternoon, she cuts about fifteen. She's looking for the ones that are smooth. You have to cut it and see, you know, take it apart and see if it's good or if it's not she'll just go on until, you know, she'll look for it until she finds it.'"
  • "The best palmetto fiber comes from plants that have recently been burned by fire. People used to set small fires in order to get the right kind of palmetto fiber. 'That's what they used to do. But ever since that forestry came in, I don't think they allow anybody just to start a fire. They have to watch it. They have to ask the forester to help them. If it's not burned, it's really no use, I guess, unless it's burnt for at least maybe two months, you know, later.'"
  • "When Mary finds a good palmetto, she starts to strip out the fiber. 'First, you have to cut the leaves that are standing on that thing and then, after that, you just cut that thing off. You use the smaller knife to take the palmetto fibers off.'"

Physical Description

  • 1 slide - col.

Subject Term

Geographic Term

Personal Subject


Learn more about the Folklife Collection »

Mary B. Billie chopping sabal to harvest palmetto fibers for dollmaking - Big Cypress Reservation, Florida
Mary B. Billie chopping sabal to harvest palmetto fibers for dollmaking - Big Cypress Reservation, Florida

Order Prints

Please select the size and options

Mary B. Billie chopping sabal to harvest palmetto fibers for dollmaking - Big Cypress Reservation, Florida
FS80277A

* Shipping fee: The fee is a flat rate of $2 per order. The expected turnaround is 7 to 10 business days, not inclusive of shipping time. See FAQ for more information. 

Order Scan

Please select the size and options

Mary B. Billie chopping sabal to harvest palmetto fibers for dollmaking - Big Cypress Reservation, Florida
FS80277A

*Scans will be available for download in 3 to 5 days, and will have a flat $2 per order handling charge. An email will be sent with a link to the download. See FAQ for more information.

For help or more information about ordering see the FAQ or Customer Service