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"Past Times" newsletter for July 2002
The monthly newsletter from Ruby Lane Antiques, Collectibles,
Fine Art, and Arts & Crafts
Welcome to Past Times!
IN THIS ISSUE:
o Collecting Dolls by Dorothy McGonagle of The Journal of
Antiques and Collectibles
o Share Past Times with A Friend
JOURNAL OF ANTIQUES AND COLLECTIBLES
Flying over the United States, looking down at the towns and
cities, the thought has struck me that just as most towns have a
"cat lady", a kindly person who shelters the unwanted, finds
them homes or keeps them herself, these towns typically also
have a "doll lady". Often it is the same lady, perhaps because a
compassionate nature is frequently at the heart of both. But
doll collecting has grown well beyond such simplicity; today it
is reputed to be neck in neck with stamps and coins in American
collecting popularity. Let us take a brief look at its
First, there have been dolls as long as there have been people.
Dolls have served a variety of purposes, from religious
representations to simple play dolls. They reflect remarkably
accurately the social and cultural history of their makers and
their countries of origin. They mirror the moment they were made
and speak to us of what their designers or makers considered
important. Dolls reflect technological developments, political
statement, personal ingenuity, whimsy, and love. And there
probably isn't a material made that someone hasn't made into a
The earliest dolls brought to America from Europe are English
wooden dolls. However, only the most affluent would have such a
doll. Many of the "homegrown" dolls of America's first two
centuries, simple wooden dolls made by a father's hand or rag
dolls from a mother's needle have not survived. However, by the
nineteenth century, advances in technology coupled with a
burgeoning middle class and a change in attitude toward
childhood as a special time in life resulted in dolls from
Europe arriving in this country in unprecedented numbers. By the
end of the century, American women were already at the forefront
of collecting dolls as a hobby, an interest which expanded in
the twentieth century to the formation of doll clubs. Records
tell of 19th century exhibitions of dolls, many held to raise
money for worthy causes and a means by which women could "do
good" while doing something that really appealed to them. Many
churchwomen also made and dressed dolls to raise money for their
church's missionary outreach or pastoral needs. Today these
dolls are highly prized and collected both for the handmade
appeal and their historical significance.
Do you want to read more about collecting dolls? Visit the
Journal of Antiques & Collectibles at Journal of Antiques.
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issue on to others. Happy reading!
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