Vol. X, No 3 July-September 2001

Inside this edition of Small Wonders...

  In our last newsletter we briefly mentioned a very special collection of 26 child dolls dressed in historical costuming, which are featured in our changing gallery exhibit, "In their Image: Character Children", through November 11th, 2001. I would like to share a little more of the remarkable history of these extraordinary dolls. The children are one segment of a three-part series of dolls which also includes a collection of 25 dolls representing 19th and 20th century theater actresses, and 30 dolls dressed in ethnic costuming, representing 15 European and Asian countries.
     Surviving records indicate that the dolls were produced in the late 1920s by the L & R Baitz Company of Berlin. Lilli Baitz sculpted the doll heads and commissioned a family of artists, sculptors and dressmakers living near Salzberg, Austria, to complete the dolls. The family, (name unknown), assembled the dolls, created their wonderful costumes and made or otherwise provided the toys that many of the dolls hold. Sadly, the whereabouts of this talented family was unknown after World War II.
     A remarkable variety of expressions was realized in the dolls’ sculpted faces, which were inspired by images of children painted by such master portraitists as England’s Sir Thomas Lawrence and Thomas Gainsborough, and Sir Henry Raeburn of Scotland. A few of the dolls represent famous characters, such as Buster Brown and Little Lord Fauntleroy.
     The entire three-part series of dolls was commissioned by an American antiques dealer, who exhibited them at various venues around the country for several years prior to selling them to Ethel Traphagen in 1937.
     During the ensuing five decades the dolls were employed as instructional tools for students at the Traphagen School of Fashion, along with an extensive costume and jewelry collection, and more than 1,000 other dolls. The school, which included an exhibition gallery where the dolls were periodically displayed, was founded in 1923 and was the first-ever fashion school. Fashion design, illustration, and interior decorating and design were taught at the school for nearly 70 years.
     During the School’s "decline" (before closing it’s doors in the early 1990s) the former curator of the School’s Museum, Phyllis Spenser, arranged to purchase the collection of Baitz dolls. The Rosalie Whyel Museum then acquired the dolls from Mrs. Spenser in 2000, thus, remarkably, they have remained together for their entire history. We are looking forward to sharing the remaining two segments of this collection with you…Stay tuned!

-Jill Gorman

     Well, do you just love them! The "children" in our Changing Gallery opened to gasps of disbelief and sighs of admiration on May 18. According to those in attendance, the dolls of the former Traphagan School of Fashion were "larger" and "more beautifully sculpted" than expected, "with incredibly detailed clothing", "full of expression" and had the added delight of "wonderful toys" of their depicted time periods. Of course, the rest of the character dolls playfully interacting in the other cases and drawers received just admiration also. We hope you have seen these enchanting dolls and, if not, that you will mark it on your calendar today – and bring a friend or child along to share the joy. If you missed the wonderful talk by former Curator of the Traphagan School, Phyllis Spenser, please read Jill’s column for some of that amazing history.
     The next day the dolls took us to Leavenworth to another bit of enchantment – the "My Doll and Me Tea". Conceived by Sally Bauer this children’s fundraising event was a great collaboration of many people, businesses, and families in the community. Dolls, bears, photographs, teapots, door prizes, flowers, and heartwarming stories filled the beautifully decorated room and made memories for us all. Shelley and I were so pleased to have been a part of this (dare I say, Sally) first annual "My Doll and Me Tea"?
     A few quick hugs goodbye and we jumped in the car and drove the scenic miles over the Cascades to Shoreline and the TeenHope annual auction fundraiser. There among the spirited bidding, fine food, and the story of TeenHope we announced plans for a fundraiser in their support. TeenHope provides a home for homeless teens and a cutting edge program of mediation. A success story that returns an astounding 85 % of these 13 to 17 year olds to their homes and schools. The fall of 2002 will see our famous doll "Madeleine de Baine" once again in the spotlight in her historic role as fundraising Diva. Other dolls and children’s and adults’ costumes from the Museum’s collection will be on display and modeled in a fashion extravaganza in partnership with TeenHope. It will take many helping hands to stage this event; the first of it’s kind in this area. We welcome your participation as volunteer or attendee. Watch this newsletter as details unfold in the coming year and please plan on joining us in support of this worthy cause.
     Anyone for Tea? Finally, we are able to announce the installation of our permanent exhibit of dolls and children’s tea sets. And what better place than in our Rose Room! Now when you rent the room for your special function from tea parties to wedding parties, these delightful tea sets will be there to entertain your guests further. Of course, the exhibit is there for enjoying anytime the Rose Room is not rented, too.
     Did you catch us on the new TV show "The Incurable Collector" on the A&E Channel? We were lucky to have been aired three times in one week. John Laroquette, formerly of "Night Court", is the amiable host. It’s nice to know doll collectors aren’t the only "incurables". Thanks to the show’s great staff for an enjoyable day of filming and their appreciation of the Museum’s dolls and toys.
     Of course, just one week later, on May 27th, I was totally upstaged by two young neighbors (and supporters) of the Museum – Jill and Tia. Nine-year-old Jill took it on herself to write to Nickelodeon telling them they should really come to Bellevue and film the Doll Museum in her back yard. Jill is already a doll collector and frequent visitor. Obviously she was a very convincing letter writer also, because shortly thereafter we received a call from Nickelodeon telling us about the letter (we never knew Jill wrote it) and asking if they could come to film for the "Nick News" segment of their program. Oh, yes! Jill brought along her best friend Tia and found out what movie making is all about. Three and a half hours later the one-minute segment was on film. What a great job they did! Not a mispronounced word (not even my name) or a flub of any kind. They looked so natural and sincere – but then, of course, they were talking about their favorite subject and ours, these amazing dolls!
Thanks girls, for being brave, aggressive, and so photogenic, and for loving dolls. We love you, too.
     Ah, June, the month of brides and wedding bells. So the First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue thought a Mother-Daughter luncheon to celebrate brides through the ages would be a fun event. Indeed it was, and beautiful and very nostalgic. Many brides shared their wedding outfits, photos; and from generations of one family displayed the lovely gowns they were wed in from 1899 to the 1960s. Others modeled their own gowns, no less, or other’s wedding or going away outfits.
The Museum displayed Bridal dolls and wedding gowns and veils, and even a man’s wedding shirt from 1860 from the family of Betsy Snyder of Sequim, Washington. Everyone’s favorite was a lovely bisque Armand Marseille doll dressed by Rita Schmitt in an outfit made from her Mother’s gown of 1912. Also included in this thoughtful donation to the Museum was an original photograph of her parents on their wedding day and a copy of their Marriage Certificate. It was all just too lovely. Thank you to Barbara Waltz who coordinated the entire event.

-Rosalie A Whyel

Tia Beliso

Cecilia Cooney-Wickett

Gail Dawn Edwards

Wendy Eggleston

Rita Keizer

Mori Nohrudi

Mary Ellen Scheurman

Mary Shaber

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

Melinda Begelman
Barbie thermos, 1967
Avon Barbie, Barbie china dinner set,
Barbie and Ken paperdolls

Jan Miller
1950s hard plastic doll & wardrobe,
Wardrobe for 8" doll,
1950s steamer trunk,
Vinyl doll with handmade clothing

Tamara Moen
"Raggedy Ann & Andy"
partially assembled dolls & pattern

Sue Ellen Musgrove

Jacqueline Olmstead
Mattel "Barbie" dolls and outfit

Kristen R. Sierra
Bisque head character baby  c. 1910
Donated in memory of Elenor May Kohlhauff, Spokane, WA

Phyllis Spenser
Theater program for "Peter Pan", starring Maude Adams;
"Four Hundred Years of Children's Costume",
1923 "Costume Design & Illustration" by Ethel Traphagan,
Traphagan School of Fashion decal;
Documentary artifacts re: Native American "Princess Chinquilla"

We sincerely hope we have not excluded anyone.


We're Even Cuter in Person...Come See Us!

  Gorgeous 23" Kestner #143-Stamped compo body with original finish.  Antique wig, blue sleep eyes, & open mouth with 2 porcelain teeth.  Lovely face painting and beautiful antique dress, undies, and shoes!     $1895.00

R. John Wright             Benjamin Bunny                 $675.00                     Hottentrot Kewpie

Candi Bears                     Takia $295.00

Sylvia Natterer
  Cosette             $198.95
  Irmelia              $178.95
Lucie                $98.00

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



Saturday, September 15th through Friday, September 21st.
Museum Atrium will be filled with Antiques & Modern Collectibles from 10-50% off!
Rosie's Too (during regular hours) up to 30% off!

Join us on Saturday, September 15th for Birthday Cake, Punch, and Door Prizes!  Due to last years' success of the activities in the Rose Room, this year, again, we'll be serving tea, have a hair-styling and dress and play table, and, for more fun, we've added a paper doll table!
Fun For All Ages!  Be sure to mark your calendar!

Saturday, July 14th, 2001
10 am. to 5 pm.
19213 Bothell Way NE
Bothell, WA

Saturday, July 28, 2001
Saturday, October 27, 2001
10 am. to 4 pm.
Lake City Elks Club
14540 Bothell Way NE
Seattle, WA

Sunday, August 26, 2001
Sunday, November 11, 2001 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Admission: $4.95 Seniors: $4.50
Bellevue Inn Best Western
Bellevue, WA

Saturday, September 22, 2001
9 am to 4 pm
Evergreen State Fairgrounds
Monroe, WA

September 8 & Sunday, September 9 Saturday,
November 17 & Sunday, November 18
Expo Center-Portland, OR
Saturday, June 23 & Sunday, June 24
Saturday, October 13 & Sunday, October 14
Fairgrounds-Puyallup, WA
Saturday-11:00 am to 5:00 pm Sunday-10:30 am to 4:00 pm
Admission: $6.00 Over 65: $4.00 Disabled & Under 12: $3.00

Saturday, October 27, 2001 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Admission: $3.00 Children under 12: Free
Oberlin Church,
1603 Rainier St.
Steilacoom, WA

*Look for the Museum sales table

JULY 4TH, 2001
Independence Day


9th Annual Museum Birthday Party
and Sale in Atrium
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Activities in Rose Room, September 15th 
10 a.m. to 5 p.m

Please call the Museum for more information.  (425) 455-1116


Labor Day
Museum OPEN


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