Three Collections – One Connection

The last few years have seen many of the great doll museums close. On March 29th and 30th, Theriault’s will be holding an auction in Naples, Florida dedicated to the Puppenmuseum Stein am Rhein. Although the museum closed its doors to the public fifteen years ago, the collection remained intact. Like many doll museums it housed a personal collection, in this case of Frau Steiner. Also like many of the great doll museums that have been lost, it closed because there was simply no one willing or able to continue its operation.

Julie and Gordon Blewis are recent additions to the Naples community. Julie’s legendary collection is now in their home in Naples. Janet Gula, Director of Research and Archival Library Services for the United Federation of Doll Clubs (UFDC), made a casual comment to Julie one day about the need for new cases at UFDC’s museum in Kansas City, MO. Julie immediately came up with a great idea. Why not hold a fundraiser for the museum at her home? She contacted Florence Theriault to see if Theriault’s would be willing to provide a shuttle for auction attendees from the Waldorf Astoria to Julie’s home. Theriault’s enthusiastically agreed.


The Julie Blewis Doll Room

The UFDC museum is undergoing a remarkable transformation thanks to major gifts given over the past two years.  A revamped UFDC museum is planned to be unveiled during the 2015 convention.  In order to accomplish this goal, more funding is required.  


The UFDC Museum 

On Saturday, March 29th, you are invited to attend a reception at the home of Julie and Gordon Blewis and tour Julie’s doll collection and Gordon’s collection of carousel animals and cigar store Indians.  A shuttle will be provided by Theriault’s from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Naples (following the conclusion of the auction).  The address of the Waldorf Astoria is 475 Seagate Drive, Naples, FL 34103. For those who may prefer to drive to the Blewis’ home please contact Janet Gula at  Spouses or significant others are invited to attend.  The reception will be held from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  Julie requests that no photos are taken of the collection.  Any size donations are appreciated!  Julie has pledged to match any donations up to $5,000.00!

For more information on the Theriault’s auction weekend please visit their website at

So we have three collections – that of Frau Steiner, Julie and Gordon Blewis and UFDC – all connected through one event.  Please come and enjoy the auction, visit an astounding collection and support the UFDC museum by attending the fundraiser!

For more information on the fundraising event please contact Janet Gula at or 239-234-6476.

Convention 2014 Artist Spotlight ~ Susan Fosnot


The UFDC Convention in San Antonio, Texas will be the doll collector event of the year for 2014. A line up of outstanding artists and manufacturers are currently working to create special dolls for our ticketed meal events. UFDC is pleased to help you get to know these individuals and companies.


Susan Fosnot has been a doll maker since very early childhood. Not satisfied with crayons and coloring books, she always wanted to make “real” things, not just pictures of things. She continually added to her doll making skills. First she learned hand sewing from her mother; then her grandmother taught her to use a sewing machine. At the University of Wisconsin—Madison, she majored in Fine Arts with an emphasis on drawing and portraiture.

fosnot1Susan experimented with many different materials, and finally focused on cloth as the natural choice for creating figures. Being familiar, versatile and pleasant to hold, the “rag doll” aspect of cloth dolls forms a direct connection with us. Influenced by the cloth dolls of the 19th century such as, J.B. Sheppard’s “Philadelphia Baby”, Ella Smith’s “Alabama Baby” and the dolls of Izannah Walker, this artist has become well known for her one-of-a-kind painted cloth dolls.

fosnot2However, Susan’s dolls go far beyond most cloth dolls. The detailed construction and the portrait style painting of the faces make Susan’s dolls unique. The faces are flat, but the amazing painting makes them appear three-dimensional. Susan then dresses her dolls in antique fabrics and trims, which lift her dolls out of the contemporary context, and make them welcome additions to antique doll collections.

fosnot3Susan is a member of the prestigious artist organization, NIADA and ODACA. In Susan’s own words; “Because I love rag dolls and antique fabrics- and love to paint… I make painted cloth dolls.”

Her work has appeared in Doll Reader, Contemporary Doll Collector, Dolls, Soft Dolls And Animals, Early American Homes Guide to Traditional Craftsmen (four times), and two of Susanna Oroyan’s books. She has written articles on doll making for Doll Crafter Magazine, on dolls as art for Contemporary Doll Collector, and on the Columbian Doll for Doll News and has been selected five times for Early American Life Directory of Top Traditional Crafters.


fosnot5“no family of dolls is complete that does not include a real rag doll, which will bear any amount of hugging,” Delineator magazine, December 1882

Rag dolls have been an important part of the childhood experience for generations. Diverse in their variety of material and design, many hold a place in the hearts of the doll collectors of today.

fosnot6You can join the fun at this ticketed luncheon where attendees will share their love of rag dolls. For the event souvenir Susan will debut a doll design which incorporates a new technique that captures the artistry and quality of her one-of-a-kind dolls.

She and her studio artisans will be hand making this precious doll for all those who attend this event. Our souvenir doll Annie is sure to steal your heart away. A companion doll Anders, will also be available.
fosnot7Be sure to place this event on your convention schedule for San Antonio!

Adopt a Doll

Adopt-a-Doll-at-UFDC-2014 Please click on the image above and then print the form (using File > Print… from your browser’s menu).

For more information contact Janet Gula at


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