|Victoria Impex Doll, Author|
Once we decide which dolls we want in our collections, we should know something about them. Besides, who doesn't like to read about the things they love most? I'm going to discuss informally a few of my favorites by author and title. There are complete listings in my bibliography, but there are probably many other books out there people will love, too. I'm interested in hearing about them. One reason I want a museum is that I want to share all my books and library resources about dolls, collecting, and related subjects with everyone and anyone who is interested in them. Here goes:
1. Dolls by John Noble. I apologize in advance for not being yet familiar with where bold and italic keys are! My mother gave me this book at my seventh birthday party. I read it from cover to cover, though it took some time. It was really the first "blue" book. John Noble delights me with descriptions of every type of antique doll conceivable. He has great tips for collecting, and clear photos. The cover is graced by a beautiful French bisque Parisienne, and his style alone is wonderful and mesmerizing. So what if I pronounced "bisque" as "bis-cue!" when I was seven and had to have a snotty shopgirl correct me? I became a life-long fan. One of my regrets is that Dolls magazine editor Krystina Goddu would not forward a letter I wrote to him when I began researching my book on metal dolls. Noble used to write a column for Dolls and other magazines. Years ago, in the late 80s, The Internet simply was not accessible. The research my old college library did with a modum was not very satisfying. I had to track people down through magazines and Contemporary Authors. I made some life long friendships this way, but it is cumbersome. Anyway, this is a wonderful first book for collectors.
|Vintage China Poblana, Mexico, c. 1940s. National Costume of|
Mexico, brought there by an ancient Chinese princess. She was homesick, and recreated garments similar
to those of her home.
2. Dolls and Doll Makers by Mary Hillier. I received this book when I was nine for Christmas. I had nearly drooled over it in the old Petersen's department store in our downtown. In those days, department stores included books, notions, needlework and crafts, toys, and furniture. It was really an adventure to browse through them, and it was safe to let a nine year old skim through a book while you tried on clothes nearby. The color prints are fantastic, and some of the most unusual dolls and figurines I've ever seen are in this book. The selected bibliography is very helpful. For me, the best part was that many years later, I wrote to Mary Hillier. We became good penpals and she was a wonderful editor for me. Her entire family read my manuscripts, including my dissertation, which in later form became a book about Barbara Pym. Mary and I exchanged about two letters per month for nearly 14 years until her death in 1999. I still miss her and think of her everyday. She was truly "forever" young and had a lot of common sense and knowledge. She was curious about everything, dolls, games, sports, politics, anthropology, and art. She sued to give me little Internet assignments for her and for her husband Jack, and I would find articles and information for her. Her last gift to me was a guidebook of England. Her knowledge of dolls is unequaled, and I could not have written my metal doll book without her. I used to use her open book and John Noble's open book, as backdrops for doll houses and for Barbie settings. My friends and I really appreciated the terrific graphics, and are dolls had the best apartments around.
|Dolls dressed for School, Author|
3. R. Lane Herron's Price Guide to Dolls and the numerous articles he has written for doll and antique magazines. Mr. Herron writes in an easy to read style, and is full of knowledge on all types of dolls. He was acquainted with many early collectors and with actors who collected dolls. No one knows the hobby in all its aspects like he does. His early text, Much Ado about Dolls is beautiful and inspires the novice and advanced collector alike. He is also a very talented doll artist and writer in other fields.
4. Genevieve Angione, All Dolls are Collectible. Again, Ms. Angione is a writer in her own class. She displays super rare dolls like the all china jointed "frozen Charlotte," and discusses why all dolls are important to some collectors. There are many photographs, but there is also informative text.
5. Carl Fox, The Doll. Shorter and complete edition with plates. 1970. This book made "In the News" with Christopher Glenn when it first came out. Fox's introduction alone is mesmerizing, as he draws connections among The Golem, early film, art, dolls, and cultural anthropology. His stories of legendary and fantastic collections lurking behind ordinary brownstones and facades in New York are captivating. He was my first introduction to the fantastic world of my muse, Margaret Woodbury Strong, and to The New York Doll Hospital, which closed last year.
6. Kagan and Joseph, Who won Second Place in Omaha? This is a text and photo essay of haunting black and white pictures about the legendary collection of Lenon Hoyte, owner/curator of the late, great Aunt Len's Doll Museum. This is one of the few records left of the dolls in this wonderful, eclectic collection. Bus tours now travel by Mrs. Hoyte's former home and point out the old museum site, the the dolls are gone. There is even a play about the collection and the dolls. The authors were writers and Broadway actors. That makes the book read like an off-Broadway production in a very good way. This is the first of two times I saw a rare Leo Moss doll. The second time, I saw one "live" at the Pheasant Run Antique show in 1987.
7. Janet Pagter Johl's books about dolls including Your Dolls and Mine, More about Dolls, Still More about Dolls, etc. These were published in the late 40s and early 50s. Tragically Johl, who also wrote for The Christian Science Monitor, died at age 56. The late Samuel Pryor, former airline executive, allegedly bought much of her collection, but her children have been trying to recreate it, too. [For more about Pryor's collection, locate a December 1959 National Geographic]. Some of the most unusual dolls I have ever seen are described in Johl's book, as well as histories of historic collections and collectors, doll lore, and doll makers. There are dolls made of ink, bisque, nuts, rubber, metal, wood, you name it. Every corner of the globe is covered, as well as history contemporary with the dolls and collectors. The infamous "spy" Velvalee Dickinson appears in early pages of the books as an innocent dealer; her story is later told in full by the esteemed Eleanor St George in her books. Bernard Ravca, Kimport dolls, museums no longer extant, and other collections no longer together also appear. Again, these books inspire and are wonderful historical records.
8. Eleanor St. George, Old Dolls, The Dolls of Yesterday, The Dolls of Three Centuries. She is a great sources for early collections and their histories, and knows a lot about early doll maker and hospital owner Emma Clear. She was also a friend of illustrator Tasha Tudor, and has a photo of the dolls that are featured in Tudor's The Dolls' Christmas. She covers a lot of territory, and has a very good section on early twentieth century French Bisques, including the famous dolls and their wardrobe that represented then Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.
I'll close for now, and wish everyone a wonderful day. I will continue with a few more favorite fiction and nonfiction favorite doll texts. Authors I'll mention include Helen Young, Tasha Tudor, Dare Wright, Marianna, Pat Smith, Faith Eaton, the Judds [doll Judds, not music judds], and Kimport's Doll News. Adieu til then!