I am a doll collector. My first personal doll acquisition was a Barbie. This is the story of how I came to be an eclectic doll collector.
During this period of sheltering in place Florence Therialt and Stuart Holbrook of Therialts doll auction house have been hosting via Facebook Wednesday afternoon cocktail (doll) hour at 5 pm . It has been a special treat as I miss my doll club meetings and the "doll talk" we enjoy. They posed the question: Why do you collect dolls? This set me pondering about my hobby and why I am a collector.
My very first doll was a sleeping baby made by the " Sun Rubber Company". It was all in one piece,wearing footie pajamas and the flap was down on one side revealing a little bit of tush. I must have been two and I spent a lot of time examining this doll. I tried to open her eyes and fix her pajamas, all to no avail. I remember sitting in a playpen with my grandmother (my mothers mother) watching me, and she said "That child needs a REAL doll." Soon after that I receives a Vogue Ginnette. It was perfect. Its eyes opened and closed I could take its clothes off and take it in the bath. Perfect tiny fingers and toes. I spent many happy hours with that doll.
My mother was not a collector and somewhat of a spartan minimalist. My grandmothers cousin Dixie owned a giftshop/Stationary store in California. One day when I was about 4 a box arrived for me. My mother opened it and a not said "For Edna from Cousin Dixie. It was a stunningly beautiful Effanbee Honey dressed all in powder blue ballerina clothes and she had perfect dark auburn curls. My daydreams were filled with visions of her. My mother put her away as she thought I was too young. I guess I was about 6 when she finally gave her to me. One comment my mother made had a great impact on me. It was "Why would anyone give a doll to a little girl for no reason?" I was supremely happy when I finally received her and myself a promise that when I grew up I would give little girles dolls "for no reason". I am pleased to say I have been able to live up to that promise. I have given dolls to friends, family and neighbors. I still have this doll and she sits in an upholstered chair on my night table. I named her Laura when I was 10 after Laura Ingalls Wilder as I read the entire series of Little House Books.
I see as a collector I have pursued many of my childhood dolls that my grandmothers had given me. The last doll that I received as a child was for my 12th Christmas from my fathers mother. It was a "Twiggy" Barbie by Mattel. (Friend of Barbie) . I still have her too in the display case that my, husband had built in our bedroom. I have found several of the dolls I had as a child. Vogues Baby Dear at two, Baby Dear (actually I still have my original). My mother was seized with the idea she should make curls on Baby Dears head with a laundry marker which totally dismayed me. But I kept her as I loved her so much. My mother did have an interest in dolls. I had a PlayPal type doll and one day my mother said she couldn't stand having her around as it scared her. So one day She took her and put her out with the trash and the garbage guy put it on the hood of the truck at which time I started to cry as I wanted her back. But she left and I knew someday I would find her, and years later, I found one just like her. My grandmothers giving me dolls lend me to think that there is a genetic component to this. My great Aunt Dixie sending me that doll for "no reason" also supports this.My great Aunt Violet had a secret Ginny doll collection. Aunt Violets Ginny collection inspired me to sew doll costumes. After my mother passed I came across a little wooden and composite doll that was my mothers. The fact that she had saved this little girl (which I have subsequently had restored) also supports that there is a genetic component, For cultural end social reasons were most likely thought of by my mother as inappropriate.
When I was 7 I contracted Scarlet Fever and Rheumatic Fever. I remember being somewhat comatose and seeing light dark light dark as the days passed. Then ond day I guess my fever broke I opened my eyes and there next to the bed was a doll house filled with what I know now was a renwall family and home. My fathers partner in work gave it to me as his daughter no longer wanted it. I wrote the man a thank you note as I was overcome with joy and delighted that I was given this again for "no reason". I still have many pieces of the original but again, I found a the house and furniture.
A friend of mine collected china dolls and porcelain dolls. There was a doll artist named Mary Brouse who made beautiful porcelain dolls in the 1970s. I have collected them throughout the years, they live in my grandmothers glass china closet.
I have my original Raggedy Anne doll, Which my brother gave me when I was 9. I also have a small Raggedy Ann collection. I have Barbies, many celebrities and the "grand parent dolls" and the pregnant Barbie with the removeable stomach. This is an article I wrote about my passion for Barbie collecting.
My doll clubs 60th anniversary was the same year I turned 60. The commemorative doll was fashioned by doll artist Denis Bastien. These dolls have become my latest passion. LULU as Dulcie our club logo and now our official "Travel Doll" and her "cousins" from "Affordable Designs" Dulcie Lou has her own Facebook Page.
I am a business owner and that business is cut and dried. Not very creative .....So why do I collect dolls? I collect for love and beauty. Memories and the connection with the past,. I am not refined. I go with my gut. I have dolls packed away which I will have to find new homes for. I remember in the "cocktail hour"it was said that a curator packed away dolls from the 1930s. Mine are from 2008 but I feel they need to have an appreciative home, so will start looking for potential "homes" for them..... I have a Star Trek Barbie set as this was a favorite TV show. I found that I do not do well with investing as a criteria. Ill never turn a fortune but I know this hobby gives me tremendous joy eclectic as it is.
Robert Sacchi on June 21, 2020:
Edna Straney (author) from Oneonta New York on June 21, 2020:
Robert Sacchi on June 05, 2020:
A great insight into a doll collector's thoughts and some history about dolls. Nicely done.