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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Friday, January 22, 2016

Please Help; Carefully Cataloged Orphan Doll Collection Needs a Home!!

Please see below the email from this hospice social worker trying to find a good home for a doll collection of 5,181 dolls. A separate collection includes around 250 bears by the same owner. The dolls are mostly modern, many are modern porcelain or Walda types, but there is a nice Alexander Pussycat, at least wo Dolls by Pauline, a vintage Kewpie and Patsy type, many international costume and folk dolls. There are also Shirley Temple items, musicals, and 331 thmbles. I do not have the brick and mortar facilities yet, or I would offer to take them.

I think they could be donated to a museum. These dolls are all part of doll history, and need to be preserved by someone. 50 + years from now, they will be vintage and antique. Already, not many are made.

This lady is terminally ill, and her dolls mean a lot to her.

She has carefully cataloged her collection. See below:

I obtained your email from the Doll Show USA website.
I am the social worker for the OSF Richard L Owens Hospice Home in Peoria. I have a patient who is trying to place her vast doll collection before her death. I am trying to facilitate this. If you know of any person or organization who would be willing to accept this collection please let me know. Below are a couple of links from media stories about this collection. Since the video tape the collection has grown by another 20%. I will be happy to assist in coordinating etc. Please do not hesitate to call.
Chuck Wilcox, MSW LCSW
Medical Social Worker / Chaplain
OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home
8630 N. IL Route 91
Peoria, IL 61616
309.683.8444 voice 309.683.8282 fax
One of the news stories:
By Phil Luciano

May 01. 2011 12:01AM

Luciano: Dolls are all dressed up with nowhere to go

Wilma Schubert is crabby with the Peoria Riverfront Museum. So are her roommates.

And she has a lot of them. To be exact, 4,715.

They are her dolls, which fill most of her sharp ranch home in Far North Peoria.

"They're beautiful," the 80-year-old widow says matter-of-factly. "If you have dolls, you are never lonely."

But they need a new home. Schubert has run out of room for them, and she would like to find a suitable spot to which she could will her collection. Her first choice would be the new museum, but the dolls have been turned away.

"They told me it doesn't fit the motif," Schubert says, voice rising. "It just kind of burned me up to have Richard Pryor in the museum and not my dolls."

You can decide whether the museum would be the right spot. I don't know if that's the type of attraction that would lure tourism. Still, you have to admire someone who gets so feisty over her hobby that she is willing to yell at politicians and business executives, even going so far as to bark at the City Council.

Doll collecting is a latter-day hobby for Schubert. Six years ago, she had just 100 dolls - a sizeable number for most people, but just a few shelves' worth of space at her place.

But in 2005, her second husband passed away. Though an active gardener and seamstress, she started to find enjoyment in dolls. She bought some at stores, but many at yard sales and second-hand shops.

By her admission, it became an addiction. Slowly, dolls took over her home. They fill couches, shelves, floors, beds, counters and any other available space throughout the house.

There are celebrities: Princess Di, Michelle Obama, Marie Osmond. Cartoons: Minnie Mouse, Raggedy Anne, Betty Boop. Miscellaneous: a surfer, a mermaid, Kabuki dancers. Ninety-two Barbies. Sixty Cabbage Patch dolls. Several Elvises (Elvii?).

At a small table, two cats drink tea while two dogs play poker.

A few are an inch tall. Some are as big as children.

The only doll-less rooms are the kitchen and one bathroom; Schubert even shares her bed with dolls.

(But not teddy bears, which are downstairs. She has 200 of them, but they're not part of the official doll count because they're bears not dolls.)

Most of the dolls are girls. A pair of naked, beat-up baby dolls survive from her childhood. Two porcelain dolls date to the 1800s.

Her favorite is a Katherine Anne doll, a brunette the size of a toddler, which she got in 1962 for $300.

"I had a little girl who passed away," she says, lightly brushing the doll's hair with her hand. "So I saw this doll in Peoria in the window at Block and Kuhl's. It looked just like her. So this is her."

Though room is at a premium, everyone is happy with the set-up - except Schubert's Pomeranians, Lil Leo and Leo. The pooches, which won the Journal Star's Pet Idol contest in 2008 and 2009, would love to tear into the dolls. So, Schubert takes great pains to keep the dogs away.

"They have a separation issue," she says with a laugh.

Schubert sometimes takes dolls out for visits. She often will visit nursing homes, bringing her dolls and lecturing on their history.

"The residents enjoy it," she says.

By the beginning of last year, Schubert had amassed 2,600 dolls. The house growing cramped, she vowed to stop buying more. She failed.

"I was gonna quit, but I couldn't," she says with a smile. "I just couldn't."

The house now brims with 4,715 dolls, as of Wednesday. But she swears she is done buying more. She might have little choice this time.

"I've run out of room," she says with a shrug.

Schubert says she doesn't have an estimated value for the collection. But she is willing to give them away free - to the right place.

Her three adult children don't want the dolls. So Schubert wants to find a new place. She says there are no doll museums in the state, and she wants to keep them in Illinois.

So, she has pushed to put the dolls in the new museum. She has spoken loud and long before the City Council. She has called Caterpillar Inc. She has talked to Lakeview Museum.

The response every time: thanks, but no thanks.

The riverfront museum will have a set criteria for exhibits, says Nikki Cole, Lakeview's vice president of development. Right now, Lakeview accepts donations of fine art, decorative art and folk art, along with examples of natural science. The dolls do not fit within those parameters.

Schubert finds that view shortsighted.

"What are they gonna have that's beautiful?" she says. "What are they gonna have for children to look at?"

Meanwhile, perhaps there is a better solution. Ideas? Again, Schubert wants to keep them local, so keep that in mind. "I want them to stay in Peoria," she says.

PHIL LUCIANO is a columnist with the Journal Star. He can be reached at, 686-3155 or (800) 225-5757, Ext. 3155. Luciano co-hosts "The Markley & Luciano Show" from 5:30 to 9 a.m.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Our Doll Collecting Newlsetter

Reading "Creepy A**ed Humans, the Dolls Reply."
January seems to be flying by us; from my perspective, this has been a very mild one.  This week, I am sharing my experiences with The Princeton Women's Club, where I read from an upcoming book of mine, titled as above.  These are poems about historical dolls like Letitia Penn as well as doll auctions, museums, puppets, and doll hospitals.  Even a Teddy growls here and there!  We have more on Happy Meals, revisit a favorite collection, and more. Remember, I'd love to hear your ideas!  Write anytime!  Look for upcoming reviews of doll movies, dolls on Flickr, Tumblr, and more, and reviews of individual vintage, collectible, and antique dolls.  Happy Collecting!
Ellen Tsagaris
Doll Collecting Expert
Old Rag Doll
Reading "Creepy A**ed Humans, the Dolls Reply."  
Reading poems about dolls and showing dolls to doll aficionados makes for a perfect afternoon.
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Some Great Collectors were Only Children  
Only children who collect dolls are my soul sisters in doll collecting. Read about a variety of antique and collectible dolls, and their amazing owner.
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Barbie, Monster High, plus International Toys  
Get McHappy! Happy Meal Toys updates; a great way to start a popular, but inexpensive collection.
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Dolls from the land of the Olympians  
A variety of cultures influenced the creation of Greek Dolls, many of them ancient. See how Greek dolls rocked the cradle of civilization.
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Cotillion Marque Brings $280,000!  
One of my poems is about a Marque; review a story about the monetary respect these dolls command!
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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: February Sneak Peek!!

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: February Sneak Peek!!:   Feb. 2016 Superlative hardly begins to describe our cover! There can be no doubt that some dolls are true works of art. This r...

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: February Sneak Peek!!

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: February Sneak Peek!!:   Feb. 2016 Superlative hardly begins to describe our cover! There can be no doubt that some dolls are true works of art. This r...

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: A Few Words with Alan Scott Pate

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: A Few Words with Alan Scott Pate: I have been studying and dealing in Japanese dolls since 1993. It is a subject I never grow tired of and only seem to grow more impassion...

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Japanese Doll Festival Celebrates Early this Year; Theriault's Cabaret

See, below, from Florence Theriault.  I have collected Japanese doll my entire life, and I have a doll from Kyoto that dates to the Korean War, brought to me by my uncle.  Great essay, and a wonderful auction upcoming!

It is a mystery to me that this rich and highly artistic genre of doll collecting has remained largely unexplored by Western world doll collectors. Perhaps it’s something as simple as language barriers, for, admittedly, Japanese is not a common language taught in American schools. Yet, how easy to start from this simple lesson. Ningyō means doll. Say the word. Ningyō. Ning rhymes with ring. Yo rhymes with go. Ningyō. Say the word ten times. Now you’re on your way.

Perhaps it is feeling that these dolls are too strange, too apart from the common doll “experience” of Western children and Western doll collectors. We are taught that they are formal, stylized, historic, and never, never, play dolls. But consider these commonalities with the European dolls that American collectors so avidly seek.

• Just as Paris was the center of French doll-making in the 18th and 19th centuries, so was Kyoto the center of Japanese doll-making at that time. Small studios buzzed with activity throughout both cities – and, not incidentally, both cities were considered the apex of artistic and intellectual pursuits in their respective countries.

• Just as the Parisian (and English and German) dolls were constructed of wood or paper-mache in the 1700s and early 1800s, so, too, were those of Japan. In both cultures, the sculpting and painting of the dolls reflected current notions of elegance or refinement: the aquiline nose of the European aristocracy, and the distinctive “sky-brows” of dolls of Japanese nobility, as examples.

• Just as the Paris doll world was composed of a number of small ateliers, so was that of Kyoto. Even the construction of the dolls – largely a matter of assembly of parts from various specialists, wigs from one atelier, textiles and costumes from another, carved wooden parts from still one more – was a similar pattern in both cities. As a result, early 1800s dolls from both cultures were largely identified by the shop which sold the doll rather than the assembler; collectors of French poupees speak, for example, of their Simonne doll, although Simonne was a doll shop, not a doll maker. Although in France, by the end of the 1800s, large named doll-making firms, notably Jumeau, presented dolls under their own name, Parisian doll shops such as Au Nain Bleu, and even Parisian department stores such as Au Bon Marche who offered their Bebe Au Bon Marche, continued to offer assembled dolls, and in Japan, according to scholar Alan Scott Pate (Japanese Dolls, The Fascinating World of Ningyo, page 240) “Meiji-era manufacturing...was executed mostly by anonymous artists working closely with wholesalers and dolls shops which sold them under their own brand names”.

• Costuming was of utmost concern in both worlds. So it can be of no small coincidence that in both cultures, the bodies of early dolls (except exposed hands and feet) were crude and simplistic: for these early dolls, swathed with luxury fabrics that were permanently affixed, the hidden body was of little consequence except that it be durable. Then, beginning in the late 1700s, dolls of both cultures were designed with the notion of dress/undress/re-dress and the style of body began to change to accommodate this. In Japan, the flexible padded upper arm was introduced to allow the doll to be easily undressed, as well as the mitsuore-ningyō or triple-jointed doll, designed for articulated play; in France, the early notion of tacking-on or stitching the costume to the body evolved into costumes with drawstrings or hooks and eyes, and the construction of a doll body that was realistic as well as malleable became an industry obsession, hence the development of the articulated wooden body. In a delightful confluence of the two worlds, it was the Japanese mitsuore-ningyō, presented at the London Universal Exhibition of 1851, that is said to have been the major influence on the development of the Western articulated child doll.

• Entire industries concerning the costuming of the doll grew up in each culture. It is often remarked upon by admiring collectors of 18th/19th century Western dolls that even the scale of woven pattern was miniaturized to match the size of the doll. So, too, is this true with Japanese dolls. The use of woven symbols (fleur-de-lis in France, chrysanthemum in Japan, for example) is a commonality, just as the presence of luxury fabrics signaled the importance of a doll; in both cultures, velvets, brocades, or other fabrics with interwoven gold or silver threads were important statements of prestige.

• Just as the Western dolls celebrated their heroes and heroines in the form of dolls – from Empress Eugenie to George Washington – so, too, did the Japanese – from Empress Jingu to military warlord Hideyoshi.

• And what of play? There is a commonly-held belief that Japanese ningyō were not play dolls. True, and yet not true. They were not play dolls in the rough-and-tumble sense that we often associate with American play. Yet, they were play in that they were designed to visually stir the imagination, to teach proper societal roles, to instill a sense of fashion and style. Not unlike, in fact, their counterpart English wooden court dolls or French bisque poupees with fashionable trousseaux and elaborate coiffures. Further, the notion that Western world dolls were all subjected to vigorous play is distorted; in fact, in the 1800s owning a “store-bought” doll was a luxury and many a story has been recounted that “My doll was kept stored away and I was only allowed throughout my childhood to bring it out of its box at Christmas to display it under the holiday tree”. Not so very different than the Japanese hina matsuri or Girl’s Day dolls!

Finally, in both cultures, there is a desire for preservation, a link with the past. Most simply, for the doll to remain in the family, to pass from generation to generation. As collectors know, this is not always possible. There, then, remains the next best choice. That is for dolls – for ningyō – to pass into the hands of other caring people who will preserve their significance, their beauty, their history. That is what Norman Carabet achieved over his decades of collecting, and the opportunity that he now offers to a new generation of those who cherish the past.

– Florence Theriault

Traveling & Information
The Fairmont Hotel is located at 4500 MacArthur Boulevard, Newport Beach, California 92660. For hotel information or reservations call 949-476-2001. Ask for the special Theriault’s room rate. For auction information call Theriault’s at 800-638-0422 or online at

Coming to the auction is the most fun. Choose the dolls that “speak” to you, and have the fun of bidding and winning in person. Meet new friends. Convene with old friends. Laugh and enjoy, and don’t forget the hot fudge sundaes! And if you absolutely can't be there to bid, remember that you can bid absentee, bid live on the telephone, or bid live on the internet. For more information, please contact us at 800-638-0422, email us at or