Vol. X, No 3 October-December 2000


Inside this edition of Small Wonders...

Curator's Corner

The story of cloth dolls probably began very soon after the earliest production of cloth itself.  Evidence of dolls made of cloth has been found amongst the remains of early Egyptian, Greek, and Roman societies.  These homemade "rag babies" have charmed and comforted children for centuries.  Even when dolls of wood or wax, or the beautiful china and bisque head dolls reached their peaks of popularity, the less breakable, "snugly" dolls of cloth never lost their appeal to children.
     The child's age-old appreciation for cloth dolls has not always been shared with adult doll devotees.  China and bisque head dolls, and those of earlier wax and wood, were for many years preferred by collectors, and cloth dolls were generally ignored.  In recent years, however, many doll enthusiasts have happily re-discovered the irresistible appeal of cloth dolls, both old and new.  Countless doll clubs are devoted exclusively to collecting, studying, and/or making cloth dolls. Exhibits featuring cloth dolls are also a favorite among visitors to the Museum. "The Cloth Doll Christmas" will be the Museum's third changing gallery exhibit devoted to cloth dolls.
     The fragility of cloth, coupled with the cloth doll's propensity for being a child's favorite, most heavily played-with toy, bode ill its chance of survival.  Very few cloth dolls made prior to the 19th and 20th centuries exist today.  "The Cloth Doll Christmas" exhibit will feature a few such rarities, but will primarily examine cloth dolls of the 1800s & 1900s.  Many enchanting homemade rag dolls will be featured, along with "cottage industry" efforts, including the dolls of Izannah Walker, Roxanna Cole, Martha Chase, Ilse Ludecke and other factory- produced dolls spanning two centuries will also be represented.  "Rounding out" this history of the cloth doll will be a few examples of advertising, personality, ethnic and "cut and sew" dolls, and, of course, the extraordinary contemporary works of art, known as "artist dolls".
     Cloth dolls and Christmas-What more could we ask for? Well, just one more thing...YOU!  Please come and enjoy...and perhaps reminisce about your own childhood cloth companions.
     Happy holidays.

-Jill Gorman, Curator

from the Director

     As this is being written, we are in the midst of our “Birthday Week” at the Museum, celebrating our eight great years of operation. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to thank our many members, volunteers, visitors, and collectors who patronize the Museum and Rosie’s Too all year long, and to meet new people who find their way to our doors.
     This year we held our annual sale in the atrium and reserved the “Rose Room” as a play room where Kara Cooper from Lolly & Company showed wonderful ways to fashion our Corolle dolls’ hairdos (or your own dolls’).   At another table young and old alike were invited to dress up Ginnys in her latest fashions and accessories.  At a third table children, parents, and grandparents enjoyed a “spot of tea” in our children’s tea sets. All participants received a discount coupon for the Store for purchase of these items. It was a great time for doll play and family interaction as our theme “It’s a Family Affair” indicated.
     Congratulations to the winners of our door prizes - this year many of whom were children including the 25” Alt, Beck & Gottschalk bisque doll from the 1890s. 
     Usually, at this time of year we are feeling the twangs of separation as we prepare to dismantle yet another changing gallery. Our Millennium exhibit which had been years in the planning and contained many memorable and rare dolls would be particularly difficult to have to store away, not to be shared again for many years possibly. However, we couldn’t bring ourselves to do that, so we are attempting to put many of these special dolls and toys on permanent exhibit. Some will be additions while others will replace dolls now on permanent exhibit. We think you too, will enjoy being able to see these amazing playthings each time you visit, and it takes the sting out of packing away these dolls and toys.  Of course, the advent of our “The Cloth Doll Christmas” is a great buffer. These dolls will bring back some very nostalgic times, we are sure, for how many of us haven’t cuddled with and confided in these warm and love-filled creations? We think the settings will strike a familiar note also.
     Please look for the enclosed schedule of programs by well-known cloth doll enthusiasts we will be hosting during this exhibit.
     It was very exciting to announce at our birthday a new home for our Rosie’s Too retail store. In response to a growing and faithful following, we are moving to a larger and even friendlier venue sometime this winter. A coffee corner, dressing and “body matching” table, bright and welcoming environment, as well as a larger sales area means more fun, and more dolls for you! The new address will be 221 106th Avenue NE in downtown Bellevue, within walking distance of many restaurants, new condominiums, the Galleria, and the new Bellevue Art Museum. Watch for the Grand Opening!
We would also like to announce the acquisition of a wonderful and historic collection originally from the Traphagen School of Design in New York. The 83 dolls in this collection were commissioned from doll artist Lilly Baitz of Germany and made in Austria in the 1930s. Children in the dress of many decades dating back to the early 1800s are paired with their toys or accessories of the time. Fabulous sets of ethnically costumed couples and 24 of early actresses of the stage and silent screen complete this important collection. The authentic and to scale costuming paired with individually sculpted heads for each of the dolls comprise a most beautiful and fascinating documentation of the two centuries.
     With the purchase of this collection, the quarterly publications of this famous school of fashion design and scrapbooks documenting the travel of the dolls throughout the United States for educational purposes, were donated to the Museum.
     Next summer will be the first exhibition of the character children in our changing gallery along with a selection of characters from our collection. Be prepared for a visual feast at this historic event - these dolls will truly touch your heart.
     A heart-felt “thank you” to so very many of you at UFDC in Chicago and through the mails etc. who have expressed your appreciation for my part in the UFDC publication “Dolls at 2000”. It is very gratifying to work with an organization that entrusts one with such a responsibility and is supportive of the efforts involved. The positive and timely response of the authors and the sharing of their expertise made this valuable tool for doll collecting possible. I am thrilled that you are enjoying it, too.
     Please welcome
our new part-time employee, our own long-time docent and daughter of Nancy, Rachel Uttech. Rachel has “grown up” with the Museum and is a bright and friendly face who greets our visitors at the admissions desk. We are excited to welcome Rachel “on board” and hope you take the time soon to become acquainted with her.
     Thank you to Yvonne Baird of Olympia, WA for the insightful article she wrote for Antique Doll Collector magazine on our exhibit "Nothing New Under the Sun: Five Hundred Years of Playthings".  It's great to see our exhibits through the eyes of others, and Yvonne's mixture of knowledgeable observations and playfulness made for a most interesting review.
     A special thanks to Keith and Donna Kaonis of this fine magazine for the ample space they provided for the many photographs Yvonne chose.  If you missed it (our exhibit) the article is in the September 2000 edition.  Another fascinating article on "Working Wax" dolls by Debra Gulea includes one of the Museum's dolls also.
     Just a reminder or something you may not realize:  The Museum is always looking for inventory for the Museum Store and Rosie's Too and the many shows we do.  We are always looking to buy one good doll or an entire collection; please tell your friends and family who are collectors.  We will gladly travel to a large collection. 
     Call the Museum and speak with anyone to arrange an appointment.  Our stores are the major fund providers for the Museum which utilizes no public funding of any kind.

     Remember to post our “Calendar of Events” included in this newsletter in a prominent place - we wouldn’t want you to miss any of our upcoming events. 

Happiest of Holiday Seasons to You and Yours, 
- Rosalie A. Whyel, Director

Welcome to Our New Members:

Glenda Bloomer
Chieko Ochiai
Janis Gangi
Rebecca Hahn
Marin McEntyre
Cathleen McQuillan
Camdon Olson
Sandra Tebbs

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

Micki Dodge
"Muffy", "Nancy Ann Storybook", and other hard plastic & vinyl dolls
c. 1950s, doll clothing, accesories, & furniture

Kristine K. Erickson, M.D.
Doll accessories and clothing, Madame Alexander doll
c. 1950s, Japanese doll in original presentation box

Paige and Gillian Freitas
Doll packing materials

Marjorie Grove
Celluloid & cloth doll
c. 1926-1927
Celluloid Kewpie-type bride & groom cake toppers

Melody Gulledge
Indonesian doll, Vinyl and hard plastic dolls
c. 1965-1975

Dorothy Hoskins
Limited Edition porcelain nude

Linda Hamburg
Cloth, leather, & celluloid doll body parts and wig

Susan Hedrick
Handmade stuffed cat
Doll magazines & auction catalogs

Joan Maki
Elf ornaments by Ilse Ludecke, c.1940s

Abdul Ahad Nasser-Ziayce
Dolls dressed in costumes of Qara Baagh, Afghanistan

Elaine O. Patrikas
Cinderella marionette, c. 1948-1949

Dorothy Scheppke
Handmade cloth doll, c. 1930s

Phyllis Spenser
Fashion Digest magazines, 1937-1966

Lawrence A. Walker
Cloth doll with flirty eyes, c. 1920s

We sincerely hope we have not excluded anyone.

The Museum Store....HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS - for yourself or others!

Trendy: We are so excited to have found the hippest playmates for kids this season! The most fashionable friends are “Groovy Girls!” These spectacular 13” cloth dolls are designed with an eye for style and they sport fancy, funky fashions to boot! Celebrate the world of diversity with the Groovy Crew, complete with jammin’ outfits, awesome accessories and, of course, their own stylin’ dolls.
And, the latest in the Paper Doll World… “Felt Kids” have arrived! This refreshing new take on paper doll play is sure to be a hit. “Felt Kids” are play sets including dolls, outfits and accessories made entirely of felt that magically clings together. Create your own stories with interchangeable play scenes of an Enchanted Kingdom, Garden Tea Party, Spectacular Doll House, and more!
Creative:  Announcing a talented new Bead-Doll Artist, 12-year-old Katie Dyer. Her dazzling pins are creatively handcrafted from unique and colorful beads, each a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art. Not only are they a delight in themselves, but their imaginative descriptions add a unique personality sure to make you giggle!

Traditional:  Discover the fine artistry of historic Russia. We are pleased to offer an elegant selection of Matryoshka’s (nesting dolls), Nevalashka’s (musical dolls), and lacquered boxes. Each creation is a one-of-a-kind, intricately hand painted reflection of the artist’s sense of culture, history and literature. Share the experience evoked by the beauty of this traditional art form. 

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


"Sculpting the Head of a Baby, 
a Child, or an Adult"
Instructor: Lewis Goldstein
Friday & Saturday, December 8th & 9th, 2000
$295.00 (including all supplies)
Location:  Museum Rose Room
Time: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
About the Workshop: Students sculpt an original head, and, on day two, make a mold.

Please call Jennifer at the Museum for registration and information.

Area Doll Show Dates

Lake City Community Center
October 21, 2000, 10 am-3 pm

Vallejo Fairgrounds, Vallejo, CA
November 3 & 4, 2000

Portland Expo Center
November 4 & 5, 2000

Bellevue Inn Best Western
Bellevue, WA
November 12, 2000

Lake City Elks Club, Lake City Way, WA
November 18, 2000, 10 am-4 pm

*Look for the Museum sales table

Coming Events at the Museum

November 18, 2000
Public Opening
of Cloth Doll Exhibit:
"The Cloth Doll Christmas"
Exhibit will run through February 11, 2001

December 8 & 9, 2000
"Sculpting the Head of a Baby, a Child, or an Adult"-Workshop
by Lewis Goldstein

December 31, 2000
Museum OPEN 1-3


November 23, 2000


December 24, 2000
Museum OPEN 1-3

January 20, 2001
Museum OPEN


November 25, 2000
"Miniature Workshop"
by Carl Bronsdon


December 25, 2000

January 20, 2001
-Estelle Johnston-
Roxanna Cole Dolls
-Andrew Tabbat-
"Raggedy" Dolls

Newsletter Archives