Hinges and Hearts

Hinges and Hearts
An Exhibit of our Metal Dolls

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Tuxedo and Bangles

Tuxedo and Bangles

A History of Metal Dolls

A History of Metal Dolls
Now on Alibris.com and In Print! The First Book of its Kind

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
Peace in 2013

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Emma, aka, La Contessa Bathory

Emma, aka, La Contessa Bathory
Her Grace wishes us all a Merry Christmas!

Annabelle

Annabelle
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Emma Emmeline

Emma Emmeline
Our New Addition/fond of stuffed toys

Cloth Clown

Cloth Clown

Native American Art

Native American Art

the triplets

the triplets

c. 1969 Greek Plastic Mini Baby

c. 1969 Greek Plastic Mini Baby
Bought Athens on the street

Iron Maiden; Middle Ages

Iron Maiden; Middle Ages

Sand Baby Swirls!

Sand Baby Swirls!
By Glenda Rolle, courtesy, the Artist

Glenda's Logo

Glenda's Logo
Also, a link to her site

Sand Baby Castaway

Sand Baby Castaway
By Glenda Rolle, Courtesy the Artist

A French Friend

A French Friend

Mickey

Mickey
From our friends at The Fennimore Museum

2000+ year old Roman Rag Doll

2000+ year old Roman Rag Doll
British Museum, Child's Tomb

Ancient Egypt Paddle Doll

Ancient Egypt Paddle Doll
Among first "Toys?"

ushabti

ushabti
Egyptian Tomb Doll 18th Dynasty

Ann Parker Doll of Anne Boleyn

Ann Parker Doll of Anne Boleyn

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Tin Head Brother and Sister, a Recent Purchase

Tin Head Brother and Sister, a Recent Purchase
Courtesy, Antique Daughter

Judge Peep

Judge Peep

Hakata Doll Artist at Work

Hakata Doll Artist at Work
From the Museum Collection

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Japanese Costume Barbies

Japanese Costume Barbies
Samurai Ken

Etienne

Etienne
A Little Girl

Happy Heart Day

Happy Heart Day

From "Dolls"

From "Dolls"
A Favorite Doll Book

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Jenny Wren

Jenny Wren
Ultimate Doll Restorer

Our Friends at The Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum

Our Friends at The Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum

Baby Boo 1960s

Baby Boo 1960s
Reclaimed and Restored as a childhood Sabrina the Witch with Meow Meow

Dr. E's on Display with sign

Dr. E's on Display with sign

Dolls Restored ad New to the Museum

Dolls Restored ad New to the Museum
L to R: K*R /celluloid head, all bisque Artist Googly, 14 in. vinyl inuit sixties, early celluloid Skookum type.

Two More Rescued Dolls

Two More Rescued Dolls
Late Sixties Vinyl: L to R: Probably Horseman, all vinyl, jointed. New wig. R: Effanbee, probably Muffy, mid sixties. New wig and new clothing on both. About 12 inches high.

Restored Italian Baby Doll

Restored Italian Baby Doll
One of Dr. E's Rescued Residents

Dolls on Display

Dolls on Display
L to R: Nutcrackers, Danish Troll, HItty and her book, Patent Washable, Mechanical Minstrel, Creche figure, M. Alexander Swiss. Center is a German mechanical bear on the piano. Background is a bisque German costume doll.

A Few Friends

A Few Friends
These dolls are Old German and Nutcrackers from Dr. E's Museum. They are on loan to another local museum for the holidays.

Vintage Collage

Vintage Collage
Public Domain Art

Early Thanksgiving

Early Thanksgiving
public domain image

The Fennimore Doll Museum

The Fennimore Doll Museum

Robert

Robert
A Haunted Doll with a Story

Halloween Dolls Displayed in a Local Library

Halloween Dolls Displayed in a Local Library

The Cody Jumeau

The Cody Jumeau
Long-faced or Jumeau Triste

German Princesses

German Princesses
GAHC 2005

A Little PowerRanger

A Little PowerRanger
Halloween 2004

The Island of the Dolls

The Island of the Dolls
Shrine to Dolls in Mexico

Based on the Nutshell Series of Death

Based on the Nutshell Series of Death
Doll House murder

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A lovely dress

A lovely dress

Raggedy Ann

Raggedy Ann
A few friends in cloth!

Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum, WI

Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum, WI
Pixar Animator's Collection

Little PM sisters

Little PM sisters
Recent eBay finds
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Dressed Mexican Fleas

Dressed Mexican Fleas

Really old Dolls!

Really old Dolls!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

In Memoriam, Two who Shared Doll Memories with Me

The 14th and 15th of August are bittersweet days for me. A young friend of mine, Janet Coulter, was killed on the 14th 40 years ago in a freak car accident. She had just recovered her health after being in the hospital nearly a year, and was riding home from her job in a fastfood restaurant. She was my next door neighbor's great niece; Charlotte, our neighbor, lived to be 106. Janet and I would write, and she would visit her aunt during the summer. She was from a little town in a very rural community. We talked about farms, and boys, and music. She still liked dolls, and the summer we were ten we played Barbies in twilight. We used illustrated books as backdrops for doll houses, some were books about dolls, and they made a great stage. We caught fire flies in jars, and let them go, and watched the sun set. I have a couple photos, her letters, and two necklaces her mother gave me, and the memories that are never far from my heart. My grandma Marie was born August 15th, a holy day commemorating the Assumption of the Virgin. She, my great grandmother Margo on my dad's side, and my friend, Rosemary, are the three truly good, guileless people I've known. They never lost their tempers, never were vain, never said a bad thing about anyone. Grandma Marie sufferred her whole life; as a child, she had no toys, and went to school at 11 to learn to be a seamstress. She wore black because her father died when she was a little girl. She sufferred from ill health, World War II, the deaths of two children, her mother, her mother -in-law who was her best friend, and the death of my Grandpa Steve. She taught me Greek, though she had no former schooling past age 11. She was magnificient with her crochet hook, creating her own designs and pictures, never using a pattern. She baked, but not Greek pastires, rather she made cherry pie and chocolate chip cookies. She loved poems, and cut them out with her pinking shears from Greek newspapers. She would make little books by fastening her poems together with safety pins. She married grandpa Steve through an arrangement, and they met in Paris. She had a complete French trousseau. After the War, they came back to Villa Grove, IL, and resumed their business, Fanakos Bros. Restaurant. During the Depression, when transients would come to beg for food, she would make them fried egg sandwiches and ask if they wanted mustard. She always crossed herself when she passed a church, and she heated our dog's meat scraps so he wouldn't eat cold food. Before I started school and everyone moved across country but for me and my parents, I stayed with her and grandpa Steve. It was the best time in my life. I helped her bake, and plant flowers. We took little walks, and she told me stories and sang. She never complained, even when she broke her hip in a car acccident the day before Christmas Eve that nearly killed all of us. No matter what pain she suffered, she never let on. She would just pick up a quilt, or her crochet hook. Grandma Marie was famous for disliking nudity. She cut the photos out of certain Nataional Geographics, and if I left a naked doll lying around, it would have dress sewn for it by morning. She asked my uncle, who was an artist, to paint outfits on the Greek Figures on the vases and plates my family collected. After the war, she and the rest of my family travelled. They brought back lots of dolls, and two of those started my doll collection. Grandma loved dolls, but never had any when she was little; she worked all the time, and they were too poor. She also wore pins on special occasions, and that started me wearing them, and collecting them. She died in 1981, and I miss her everyday. My grandpa Steve died in 1979. My mother, her sister,my great grandparents, two uncles, and that little aunt who died in infancy are with her. If there were prizes given for being excellent women, she would have won them all. I miss you, Yia-yia.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dolls are only "Creepy" if you Lack Something to Love

Again, I say, "Free the Talega 11!" held hostage in San Clemente. By the way, has anyone wondered how SC's Finest "booked the dolls" into evidence? Did they have itty-bitty handcuffs? Were they careful not to get ink on lace dresses when they were trying to take little porcelain fingerprints? Surely, this has been a terrible misunderstanding. Perhaps we could hold a teaparty with sugar-water tea and tiny donuts with the C.O.P to discuss bail. I had thought of starting a fund on Kickstarter. So, again, this message to the good officer who "arrested" the dolls; if you don't want them, send them to our Museum. We'll do just fine with them. So, enough of this creepy doll garbage. Dolls, no matter how expensive, have evolved into children's toys. They were mant to be innocent companions of childhood, and were meant to be loved by children. Dolls are created to prevent nightmares, not cause them. Before I go on, the wonderful images are courtesy our friends at Theriault's, the Dollmasters! I know, there is no accounting for peoples' taste. Not everyone likes dolls. Not everyone likes Nascar. Not everyone likes marbles, or beer cans, or baseball cards, or Dungeons and Dragons. After all, some of us are a little bit country; some of us are a little bit rock n' roll.
To each his own, or, in the immortal words of Sly Stone, "different strokes for different folks." I'm on board with all of it. I'm not on board with people who have no passion for anything but make fun of those who do.
Virginia Woolf advocated finding a room of one's own, maybe not literally, but she cetainly meant in her long essay of the same name, that to stay sane, we needed something that encouraged us to be ourselves, to foster our creativity, to be our solace and shield from "the slings and arrows of fortune." Barbara Pym called this passion "something to love." It didn't have to be a man, or a woman, or anything tangible. It had to be a passion, a cause celebre, books, travel, gardens, or a beloved collection. People make fun of collectors because they've never had any interests. No, diddling around on an Iphone and taking selfies are not hobbies. They are not a passion that encourages learning and study. You don't learn to network with other like-minded people or hone your skills and knowledge to be an expert in your field. Collecting dolls teaches history, community, networking, creativity, and more. That passion for dolls inspires a love of people and their cultures everywhere, as Anne Rice has implied in her quote from "Taltos." I find the series "The Collector's Voice" enlightening on these topics, as I do the books of Marilyn Gelfman Karp and Mary Randolph Carter.
Moreover, dolls are images of ourselves. They are soul portraits, and reflect the artists who created them. The biographies of early doll makers are as intersting as those of composers and artists. What's creepy about that? I've met many people writing for about.com who find their dolls comfort them as they face terrible life challenges, including serious illness, the loss of loved ones, infirmities of all types, and despair. Writing about dolls is one of my strongest passions. When I sit and look at my dolls, or rearrange them, write about them, mend them, or make them, I forget all my other problems. They've kept me going in some very bad times, and the thought of sharing them in my writing and through a museum keeps me going. It's not for nothing that I say that when the going gets tough,the tough collect dolls. Like most collectors, I have many interests. I could tell the fine folks of Inside Edition didn't quite get that when they talked to me. They also knew nothing about dolls, and it strikes me how ignorant the general public is about them. Here are some of the other things I'm "following:" my family stamp and coin collections, music, especially singing and the piano, ballet, the geography of Strabo, ancient art, prehistory and anthropology, Anne Rice's work, mystery novels, Shakespeare, Tudor History, especailly Anne Boleyn, local highschool football, sustainability of water, plants, gardening, green living, the life of Erzebet Bathory, books of all types, gymnastics, The Olympics, writing poetry, blogging, my pets, my flowers . . . . You get it. I have hundreds of contacts and network in live settings and social media. I'm a school administrator who graduated from law school, with a Ph.D in literature, and I'm a wife, daughter, parent, friend, and cousin. My church and family are important to me, but I like to follow politics and listen to the news. I don't consider tabloid TV news, but I get a kick out of seeing it once in awhile. I like to write letters, and was a good student. I made several honor societies including Phi Beta Kappa, but my friends come from all walks of life. My mother taught me tolerance. My dad taught me courage. My grandmother, whose birthday would have been Friday, taught me compassion. Oh, and I don't type well and have arthritic fingers. So, I'll end my rant. I hear tiny hands applauding. Dolls are NOT creepy. They are not haunted. All objects bare traces of their owners' personalities; all have significance in their owners lives, whether they are kept or discarded. Doll collectors are historians, curators, artists, business people, teachers, clergy, and parents. There is nothing sinister about having dolls, just as there is nothing sinister about Lladro figurines, Depression glass, or Beardsley prints. We aren't hoarders, though space can often be at a premium for us. We are generous, and we share our knowledge and collections. To those who don't get it and think dolls are "creepy," well, get a hobby. Collect something, and learn a little history and some organizational skills. And, Grow up.