Convention may be months away but our event artists and manufacturers are already hard at work. Each month UFDC is pleased to introduce you to the artists and companies whose work will be showcased at the meal events planned for Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States of America.
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States, located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C. It has been the residence of every U.S. president since John Adams in 1800.
Judged by the standards of European palaces — and the White House, from its official use, if the only building we have that may be properly compared with them — it is not large; but it is a building of extraordinary beauty and dignity, a restful and altogether satisfying exterior, of which it is hardly too much to say it has no rival in stateliness of effect and simple loveliness among the great mansions of America. The straight lines of its fronts are broken only by the semicircular swelling of the south front, enclosed with a gracious colonnade of similar form, and the great portico of the north front, which serves as a porte-cochere as well as for visitors arriving on foot. Since the recent restoration a new entrance has been added to the end of the east terrace, where guests alight under a spacious porte-cochere, and enter a corridor formed by the terrace, with boxes for wraps and dressing-rooms in the main building, and where a stairway conducts them to the main floor. This arrangement has simplified the handling of the great crowds that throng the white House at receptions and on other festival occasions: For more than any other house in America this building is the scene of great functions, bringing together immense numbers of people, that call for broad passages for their coming and going, and enormous rooms for their entertainment.
President William Howard Taft built the West Wing’s first Oval Office. Designed by Nathan C. Wyeth and completed in 1909, it was centered on the south side of the building, much as the oval rooms in the White House are. Taft intended it to be the center of his administration, and by locating it in the center of the West Wing, he could be more involved with the day-to-day operation of his presidency. The Taft Oval Office had simple Georgian Revival trim, and was likely the most colorful in history; the walls were covered in a vibrant seagrass green.
LETTIE LANE AT HOME
During the Edwardian era, many American women depended on magazines such as Ladies’ Home Journal (LHJ) to keep them up to date on issues of importance to them. And, what were these issues of importance? Well, of course, every American woman was a proper lady who wanted to be well dressed, stylish and up to date on the latest fashions and colors of the season. Looking at the striking and fashionable lady adorning the front of the LHJ in February 1913, we can easily fall under the spell of wanting to enter this era of fashion, proper etiquette and mode of style and grace!!
Edward Bok, LHJ’s editor-in-chief from 1889 to 1918, clearly understood what sold magazines. He had an idea to target and appeal to the daughters of his readers to stir their allegiance to the LHJ as they would be his future readers. While visiting friends in New England, he saw his friend’s daughter intently playing with paper dolls by Boston artist Sheila Young. DOLLS!! What a great idea, all young girls like to play with DOLLS. Bok ingeniously hired Miss Young to draw a paper doll series for the magazine. And so, in October 1908, a different type of page for children appeared in most issues. How exciting it was to see how quickly Miss Young’s first page “The Lettie Lane Paper Family” appeared and captured the interest of mothers and most importantly, their daughters.
Right from the start, Lettie had DOLLS!! Paper dolls, but of course, they like regular dolls were so much fun to play with!! And because of their success, dolls continued to play a prominent role in the paper doll series.
The July 1909 page was titled “Presenting One of Lettie’s Dolls With Her Hats and Dresses”. Well, here she appeared, a doll almost identical to the very famous doll named DAISY – the “Doll Who Came to Life” – as a 1911 premium for selling three subscriptions to LHJ.
What a success the LHJ was able to generate and imagine….without internet and limited phones. Word spread like crazy about the 18” bisque head German doll and wow…what an instant sensation Daisy became! What could the LHJ come up with next that would continue to keep the interest and hearts of their younger population of readers??? And so, a little more than a year after Ladies’ Home Journal’s 1911 premium of their doll named Daisy, they ran a similar promotion. How clever of them…imagine a doll house kit that came with an all bisque doll house doll. And once again, little girls sold three subscriptions to get the item. The doll house was exquisite with four rooms, a roof, chimney, patio, foundation and two sets of steps and two interior doors. The art work was so detailed; it even had shadows on the exterior siding to capture how sunlight would have reflected on the house! The high quality of the lithograph was so typical of the Edwardian period. Although quite a few of the all bisque dolls survived, Atha Kahler – who did the extensive research on Daisy in the 1960’s – only knew of one doll house kit which existed. An expert and researcher on Daisy and the Lettie Lane paper dolls, Atha was determined to find this doll house and make it her own. Finally, the doll house kit, in its original box with all its original instructions, came up for auction ‘back east’ in the mid 1960’s.
Over 40 years later, Atha finally acquired the elusive doll house kit. Atha was so excited about getting the doll house and knew and cherished the piece of history she had claim to. But, being a historian and famous for sharing her passion for dolls with so many of her UFDC colleagues, she did what all of us would do for a fellow doll lover – she decided to share her good fortune and give others a chance to lay claim to a piece of doll history. A few years before Atha became gravely ill, she asked Donelle Denery, an avid doll maker, historian and researcher if she would borrow the doll house and make reproduction kits of the house for fellow doll enthusiasts. And finally, before Atha’s passing, she was kind enough to sell the original doll house kit and original doll house doll she owned to Donelle. Donelle made a commitment to Atha that she would make the reproduction doll house kits so other Daisy and Lettie Lane collectors could add this treasure to their collection. It took hundreds of hours to prepare the doll house kit and write the detailed instructions. The amount of work was endless but the result was a fantastic reproduction which makes an exact replica of the original doll house that Atha had. Professionally printed in Cape Cod, MA, a limited number of kits were made and NOW…we are thrilled that UFDC has purchased all of the remaining kits in the limited edition. This treasure and heirloom is just one of the souvenir gifts at an event that is sure to be exciting, fun and truly special.
Dollspart is so thrilled to be participating in the forthcoming “Lettie Lane at Home” luncheon event. We are sure all of you are familiar with Dollspart Supply Co. Dollspart is the oldest doll supply business in the US today. Started in 1940, long before the internet and any other means of communication existed, Dollspart has and continues to be the innovator of so many special and needed items in the doll world. Today, over 70 years later, Dollspart is still vibrant and going strong with Barbara and David at the helm. They strive to bring a vast selection of the best products to fill all the needs of collectors, restorers and doll makers. Their dedication as well as passion for the doll world is unsurpassed.
Daisy won the hearts of Dollspart Supply as she reached her 100th Birthday. After all, who can be friends with Donelle Denery and not love Daisy??? Dollspart dedicated themselves to making Daisy’s 100th birthday full of fun and continued Daisy’s birthday celebration into a full year of surprises as the Lettie Lane Doll House reached its 100th Birthday in 2012. There were birthday events with articles and pictures about Daisy and the Lettie Lane Doll House appearing in miniature magazines and ads in all the doll magazines showing off the doll house. AND now…each limited edition Lettie Lane doll house is about to get some new owners who will love and cherish it. Can you imagine being able to put your small all bisque dolls into a real house of their own? This special event will close Donelle’s limited edition house making each attendee truly have a irreplaceable heirloom which is sure to grow in value.
OUR DOLL ARTIST- NADA CHRISTENSEN
Nada Christensen has been making miniature porcelain dolls since 1980. She has belonged to many doll related organizations over the years, including IDMA (International Dollmakers Association), NAME (National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts), DAG (International Doll Artisan Guild) and UFDC (United Federation of Doll Clubs). While primarily concentrating on antique reproduction style miniatures, Nada has made small dolls of all styles including souvenir dolls for UFDC National Convention and Regional Events since 2001, and limited edition dolls for Theriault’s, Wendy Lawton and Dollspart.
Nada also holds a BA in Music (Voice Performance 1981) and a BS in Pharmacy (1993) and is a jazz/classic pop vocalist as well as a part time pharmacist specializing in geriatric long term care pharmacy. Nada Christensen is known for fine china painting details, making her own kiln fired tiny glass eyes and handmade wigs, and for her love and study of the history of the diminutive porcelain doll. The surprise souvenir you will receive at this luncheon will each represent the love and passion that Nada puts into each of her masterpieces!!
AND OUR ESTEEMED SPEAKER, DONELLE DENERY
You can’t be a member of UFDC who has attended convention in recent years and not know the very well respected Donelle Denery. Donelle, first a teddy bear artist and then a dollmaker for many years, continues to extend herself on behalf of her fellow doll lovers to provide accurate research and artifacts for all of us. At this year’s convention, she is not only the speaker for this luncheon but also Chairman of Clerks for the Antique Competitive exhibit, a co-program speaker with Susan Sirkis and Ann Coleman, speaker for Highlight Tours of the Antique Competitive Exhibit, is presenting two Special Exhibits in one room (Lettie Lane and Friends and Edwardian Lady Dolls), is Captain of a judging team for the Antique Competitive Exhibit, wrote three articles for the convention journal and is also giving a Highlight Tour of her Special Exhibits. This year we are truly honored that Donelle, who is an expert on Daisy and Lettie Lane will speak to the fortunate attendees of this luncheon and give us a first-hand glimpse into history, fun and adventure.