Vol. VI, No 4  January -March 1999


Inside this edition of Small Wonders...

Curator's Corner

New Exhibit: Moccasins to Mukluks
Dolls of the First North Americans
February 6 - May 2, 1999

It is quite a pleasure to bring you an exhibit of wonderful dolls from some very important doll makers - the first North Americans. We have wanted for a long time to put this special exhibit together, and it is finally happening! There is such a fabulous diversity and range of dolls made by Native Americans; we promise you a great exhibit, both enjoyable and educational. Bring the family and escape the late winter doldrums.

Along with some fine examples of dolls from the Museum's own collection, including a fascinating group of Native-Alaskan dolls (Rosalie Whyel was born and raised in Alaska, and a number of the staff have lived there), we are honored to display a selection of dolls lent by mother and daughter, Jane and Sarah Gregory of southern California, from their remarkable collection. Most of their dolls date from the 1930s to the present, including many whose makers are identified (a real bonus, as often that information was lost through the years). Some local collectors will also be sharing dolls in the exhibit, which features about 150 dolls, depicting over 50 different groups or tribes, dating from the late 19th century to the present and representing all of the different cultural areas of North America: Arctic, Subarctic, Northwest Pacific Coast, California-Intermountain region, Plateau, Southwest, Southeast, Plains, and Eastern Woodlands.

You'll also find wonderful dolls by non-native doll artists. The late Frances Bringloe of Seattle, Maria Ahren, Sylvia Lyons and Rainbow Hand, Mary Ellen Frank and Lillian Hopkins are just a few of the doll makers whose depictions of Native Americans are both empathic and very accurate.

In contrast to both of these types, we offer a look at some of the commercially produced "tourist dolls" and "exhibition dolls," from a rare early 20th century German bisque by Simon and Halbig depicting the typical European idea of Indian culture during that period, to the ever popular and charming (but not culturally accurate) "Skookum Indian" dolls.

Most doll lovers and collectors today approach Native-American dolls with respect, but they may have little appreciation and interest in them, due to a lack of understanding of the cultures that created them. The dolls are often not traditionally "pretty," created of indigenous, sometimes "strange," materials such as animal skins and fur, porcupine quills, horsehair, and bone - materials to which "western" or European-influenced dolls have not been properly introduced! However, when we begin to learn and understand more about the history and traditions of the peoples who made them, the dolls take on a very special beauty and appeal of their own. Let this exhibit be a delightful and easy way to start or add to your knowledge.

A very special opportunity to view such a diverse collection, this is a "Don't Miss!" for doll collectors and doll lovers from young to old as well as educators and historians. It may just change the way you look at Native-American dolls. So...be prepared to discover a new passion!

- Susan Hedrick, Curator

from the Director

1999! - Incredible to think of, isn't it? Remember how quickly 1998 went? Are you where you thought you'd be at the end of this millennium, or did you dream you'd even be here to see it? What I've given considerable thought to, as a collector and Museum director, is the fact that next year we will have dolls that have known five centuries...how very lucky we are to be in their presence.

Our next changing exhibit will be of dolls with a much shorter history but they still have so much to teach us. Something about being human impels us to stretch and grow and learn and move forward, which is good. Unfortunately though, in this quest to progress, we put aside our old ways and too soon forget how we were. Many histories of cultures are lost this way and often the dolls of a society are the only remaining "voices" of the past. Our exhibit of Native-American dolls which opens on February 6th has been a challenge to acquire. Thanks to the loan of some well-documented dolls as well as some recent purchases from knowledgeable collectors, we were able to put together quite a comprehensive display yet it barely scratches the surface of the many tribes who've walked these lands before us. We thought it appropriate that they be remembered and hopefully studied in this last year of this millennium.

On January 17th, we will be afforded another great opportunity to learn about another very American cultural aspect when Awilda Verdejo, internationally famous opera singer, will present an afternoon of Negro Spiritual music and prose. Awilda's career took a new direction in 1994 when she moved to Seattle, and we are the benefactors of her call to new works. Come hear her story and the history of the first truly American music. We are honored she has chosen the Museum for her presentation, recognizing its celebration of cultural diversity and spiritual energy. Please see "Calendar of Events" for further information and plan on attending this exciting event.

Speaking of "blessed events," from May to November, 1999, we will be exhibiting twin dolls and other multiple birth dolls. We would love to display photographs of actual multiple birth real people of all ages, even "then and now" photographs. If you are one of these or know some who are, please let them know we're looking for these photos for our exhibit (we'll take good photocopies in black and white or color so please don't send originals). We need the photos by May 1 if possible. Do plan on attending because if you bring your twin or triplet etc., they will get in free! (Even if you're the seven little McCaughey's!)

I promised I would tell you about Shelley's and my doll tour to Germany in October with travel director Ellie Klinger, Atha Kahler, and fifteen other doll enthusiasts. It was beautiful beyond our wildest dreams. A fall day cruising the Rhine with blazing yellow and red grape vines cascading down the hillsides, framing the castles staggered on either river bank, can only be described as living in a fairy tale. Then, to actually spend the night in a castle or within the walled villages with histories dating back 1,000 years can set the imagination afire. We fairly wallowed in doll and toy museums, visiting twenty in eight days and loving every minute of it! But, that wasn't all, our translator/tour guide embellished the trip with wonderful history lessons and visits to churches, shops, other museums, factories and village market squares.

All we can say is, "If you get a chance, go, and take us with you!" We're ready to go again.

We barely touched ground and it was time for the dolls to whisk me off again, this time to Japan and the Grand Opening of the Sekiguchi Doll Garden, our Sister Museum outside of Tokyo. Six-hundred people attended the festivities, enjoying the wonderful hospitality of Mr. Koichi Sekiguchi and his staff. The Museum is a beautiful three-level structure with adjoining gardens, a Museum store and a small lunch room. One wing of the Museum relates the history of the Sekiguchi business which celebrates 80 years of dollmaking, from the celluloid Kewpies of 1918 to the "Monchichi" and porcelain dolls of today. A separate wing showcases the work of contemporary doll artists, and we were fortunate to meet many who traveled there for the event. Sylvia Natterer received the 1st Annual Sekiguchi Award for the world's most adorable doll and indeed the display of her works supported that. You'll be able to find her dolls in our Museum Store after the first of the year! We look forward to working with the Sekiguchi Doll Garden to promote friendship and understanding through our mutual doll interests. We hope to exchange doll exhibits and knowledge in the future.

As an added attraction, many of us roused at 4 a.m. on the morning of November 18 to watch the meteor shower against a beautifully clear Japanese sky.

Italo-American Museum Lenci Exhibit - If you are in the San Francisco area, be sure to attend this important exhibit of Lencis brought together from over twenty different collections. We are proud to have been asked to loan several dolls and know you will be amazed at the dolls you'll see there.

Northwest area doll collectors were especially saddened by the death of dear friend and avid collector, Verna Ortwein last October. Verna was best known for her extensive doll and toy museum in Woodinville, Washington, and her sharing of knowledge which started many people collecting dolls. Her high spirit and honest observations will be greatly missed. Verna was an Honorary Docent of the Museum and many of her dolls can be seen here. Even after being confined to a wheelchair, Verna rarely missed an exhibit opening here at the Museum.

- Rosalie A. Whyel, Director

Welcome to Our New Members:

Marcia Dyer
Nancy Greenwalt
Kathleen M. Haven
Kimberly Lacy
Lisa McKelvey
Kathy Miller
Patricia Rogers
Cindy Schmitt
Dolores I. Stuart

News From Rosie's Too

Happy New Year from Rosie's Too! The girls have been busy adding dolls and other items to the new "Sale Corner" at Rosie's Too and are constantly striving to get more dolls, clothing and accessories priced and out on the shelves. We have some great doll and bear books on sale at 20% off and remember, we carry hundreds of back issues of doll and bear magazines; most are priced at just $1.00.

As per your request, Rosie's Too is stocking up on doll preservation and packaging supplies such as archival boxes and acid-free tissue.

We'll also have supplies such as zip lock bags in many sizes for packaging your doll clothing as well as doll boxes to hold your teen-size dolls and GI Joes.

For those of you who restore dolls, Rosie's Too now has old composition body parts and ball joints available as well as old eyes (most on eye-bars) for compo and hard plastic dolls. We are also working on getting out more bodies and china and bisque heads and limbs.

Did You Know - By popular demand, Rosie's Too wil be OPEN EACH SATURDAY FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This is on a trial basis only for many of our working customers who are not able to make it in during the week. We hope to see many locals as well as friends from out of town during this period.

We would like to thank the following people for their generous donations during the last quarter:

Garland Bell & Jan Robertson
Vintage clothing;
1940's Chess Set

Barbara Bosley
Swedish Dolls

Janis Gangi
Doll Wigs

Ann Miller
Doll Reader magazines

Sarah Nelson
Doll clothes and child's gown

Marcia Magoon
"Dawn" doll

Doris Williams
Composition "Skippy" doll

We sincerely hope we have not excluded anyone.

The Museum Store

Lions, Tigers & Bears -- Oh My!!

Each season brings a special gift that melts your heart. This year you'll fall in love with Ark Babies, now featured in the Museum Store. These furry creatures with angelic bisque faces are the work of Earth Angels, a group of Northwest women who - each having overcome her own adversity - have joined together to create what they call "collectable critters from heaven."

As we prepare for the coming of the millennium, it's a good time to look to the future while preserving the past. Wouldn't it be exciting to find a looking glass to peer at centuries gone by? As doll collectors, our eternal quest is to discover and preserve history. Now you have the opportunity to create your own legacy with our "Times Square 2000 TIME CAPSULE." This 20 piece kit includes a special letter to future generations that you can write and have sealed in Times Square on December 31, 1999. What fun to spend the next year collecting pictures and memorabilia to create a treasured heirloom for your family's future generations.

Call or stop by for more details or call the Museum Store: (425) 455-1116 or toll free at 1-800-440-DOLL.


If among your New Years Resolutions is a determination to take time out to have a little more fun, or perhaps to add a special doll or doll accessory to your collection, why not do both?? "How," you say? - by attending a doll making workshop at the Museum!!

1999 workshops scheduled thus far include:

March 6th - 7th 1999, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Instructor Patti Medaris Culea will facilitate a two-day cloth doll workshop. Participants will make "Rachel," an adorable 16" jointed doll. Techniques taught in this class will include face drawing & sculpting, hand sculpting, wired hands, body sculpting, and dyeing of laces and trims.

May 22nd - 23rd, 1999
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Instructor Carole R. Tinsley will guide participants in sculpting a doll with Paperclay. If you have not already done so, this is your chance to work with one of the new sculpting mediums.

June 26th, 1999

Make a miniature photo album for your doll with instructor Mary Johnson. This three-hour workshop will be offered twice on June 26th: From 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 pm and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Watch for photograph in next newsletter.)

If you would like to receive a registration form when it is available for any of the above workshops, please call Jill at the Museum.

- Jill Gorman, Education Coordinator

Watch for these articles by Museum Curator, Susan Hedrick:

"Ten Persons, Ten Colors"
A three-part study of contemporary Japanese doll artistry in DOLLS, February, March and April 1999 issues. (February on sale now!)

Area Doll Show Dates

Montgomery Park, Portland, OR
Saturday, January 23, 1999

Bellevue Best Western, Bellevue, WA
Sunday, January 24, 1999

Sea-Tac Marriott, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sunday, January 31, 1999

Youth Soccer Bingo Hall, Kenmore, WA
Sunday, February 14, 1999
Sunday, April 11, 1999


Puyallup Fairgrounds
March 20 & 21, 1999

Sponsored by "Seattle Doll and Toy Collectors Club"
Lake City Community Center, Seattle, Washington
Sunday, April 18, 1999
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Tables Available -- Contact Lisa Pepin
(206) 362-9723

Wheeler Pavilion, Eugene, OR
April 24 & 25, 1999

*Look for the Museum sales table

Coming Events at the Museum

Saturday, January 9, 1999
Opening of St. Martha & Mary Chapel in Miniature
Temporary display of chapel located in Pike Place Market

Sunday, January 17, 1999
Awilda Verdejo in Concer
3:00 p.m. 

Martin Luther King Jr Day
Monday, January 18, 1999

Museum OPEN

Saturday, February 6, 1999
Opening of New Exhibit:
"Moccasins to Mukluks: Dolls of the First North Americans"
(Exhibit will run through May 2, 1999)

Presidents' Day
Monday, February 15, 1999

Museum OPEN

March 6 & 7, 1999
Two-Day cloth doll workshop by Patti Medaris Culea
(See inside for registration information)
 Sunday, March 7, 1999
Barbie's 40th Birthday Party

  Hosted by the Pacific NW Doll Collector's Club

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