Monday, December 2, 2013
A Story about Dr. E's on her Work Newsletter
See below, written by Annetta Miller, a freelance writer who also wrote for Newsweek wrote a very nice feature about us: When Dr. Ellen Tsagaris was a child in Greece, her mother presented her with a rubber yellow bunny doll that squeaked. “I liked it very much,” she recalled. Two Greek dolls dressed in national costumes followed that present. “By then, I was hooked. I remember saying, ‘I’m going to collect dolls.’” And collect she did. Today, some 50 years later, Ellen is not only the chair of multiple academic departments, but also one of the nation’s foremost collectors of and authorities on antique dolls. “When I was young, I loved portrait painting and I was interested in photography, costumes, and textiles, too,” she said. “I found that doll collecting encompassed all those interests. I’ve always loved having dolls, collecting dolls and reading about dolls.” Wooden dolls, porcelain dolls, dolls made of china and wax, Ellen has them all. And this year, she authored the first definitive book on dolls made from metal. Entitled With Love from Tin Lizzie, A History of Metal Heads, Metal Dolls, Mechanical Dolls, and Automatons, the book addresses the way dolls reflect cultures and civilizations, and how they have given rise to an international “doll economy.” Reviewers have described the book as an “academic text, a photo album, and book of memories all in one.” Ellen’s dolls hail from 50 U.S. states and most of the countries in Europe, Asia and South America. Her family–world travelers–have continued to bring Ellen antique dolls, folk dolls, costume dolls and souvenir dolls from all parts of the globe. One of her favorites is her ‘Vogue Baby Dear,” the type of doll that Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev took back to his grandchildren in Russia after his iconic “shoe-banging” speech to the United Nations in 1960. She received a Japanese Ningyo doll made of papier mache and covered in white oyster shell enamel when her Uncle Tom visited Japan as a U.S. Serviceman in the Korean War. At Knott’s Berry Farm in California, her father presented her with a strawberry blonde doll designed by celebrated ballet dancer and artist Suzanne Gibson. When she’s not collecting dolls, Ellen is something of an academic renaissance woman. She holds a law degree, a doctorate in Modern British Literature, a Master’s Degree in English, and a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Spanish. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honorary society. A member of the Kaplan family for 15 years, Ellen chairs three academic departments, including Legal Studies/Paralegal Studies, Public Safety, and Humanities/Composition. Her interest in dolls has dovetailed seamlessly with her academic interests. She has researched and written about dolls in literature and about Anne Rice, who was an avid doll collector. Ellen’s next frontier: When she retires, she hopes to establish a non-profit doll museum similar to the one Rice established at the former St. Elizabeth’s orphanage in New Orleans. The museum will tell the story of human history through dolls, dollhouses, and related objects.