For little girls, it’s mainly just a toy. But for the adults who collect dolls, it’s really more about history.
But as the Naples Doll Club gears up for its annual show this weekend, the organization plans to have plenty of surprises in store for participants of all ages.
“We’re going to have 46 dealers, and hundreds of dolls from all over the United States and Canada,” says Myrna Eby, one of Naples Doll Club members and organizers.
Eby herself began collecting dolls as a child, and hasn’t looked back. “I had composition dolls from the late 1930’s and early 1940’s,” she said. Eby now shares her passion for dolls with her fellow members today.
Janet Gula, the secretary-treasurer of Naples Doll Club, said this year’s showcase should draw more doll enthusiasts than ever before to learn more about dolls.
“One important thing about doll collecting, is it represents the youth of women at the time the dolls were made. If you go back to the end of the 1860’s and 1870’s, they were all lady dolls, Gula said. “So it was important for girls to learn how to sew for their dolls, to have sewing skills for marriage one day. If a girl didn’t get married back then, she was in trouble.”
During the doll show, visitors can tour a myriad of dreamy doll booths, have their own dolls appraised for a small fee, peek into doll houses, munch on baked goods, and enter a silent auction with proceeds going to local children’s charities in Naples. New collectors can learn from seasoned collectors, too.
“I always say to people to buy the best doll they can afford, and at the end of the day, buy what calls to them. People tend to like dogs, dolls and children, and not necessarily in that order,” said Gula, smiling.
The show will also feature Regional Director Deborah Jenkines, representing the United Federation of Doll Clubs (UFDC), which is based in Kansas City, and has more than 12,000 members across the United States and Canada.
According to the organization’s website, the members of UFDC are united together by a common appreciation for dolls, and as a nonprofit group, the members are creating, stimulating and maintaining a national interest in all matters pertaining to doll collecting.
“We’ll have membership information available at the show for our local chapter, and education available as well,” said Gula, who is a member of both the local Naples Doll Club and the United Federation. “One nice thing about doll collecting, is there’s something for everybody, and we cover a big time period as well.”
IF YOU GO:
Naples Doll Club’s Annual Doll Show
When: Jan. 14, 1 to 5 p.m., and Jan. 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Moorings Presbyterian Church, 791 Harbour Drive, Naples
Adults: $8 admission for adults on Friday and $5 admission for adults on Saturday. Children under age of 12 are free.
Contact: Myrna Eby at (239) 947-3394 for more information.