Orange Historical Society to hold doll sale as fundraiser for Bryan-Andrews House

ORANGE >> Members of the Orange Historical Society are hoping people will think, “What a doll!” and buy at least one when their collection of more than 60 dolls are showcased in a fund-raising sale Aug. 12.

The organization is selling collectible dolls of many varieties — as well as doll clothes, furniture, doll houses — that have been donated over the last six years.

The dolls are made of porcelain, hard plastic, soft plastic, composite, vinyl, celluloid, cloth, even wood.

Many are the type children only displayed, and others were clearly cuddled. There is even a large collection of foreign dolls.

They are pretty, cute, interesting and, in a few cases, downright creepy, such as the sitting bride whose eyes are glazed over from age.


Historical Society President Ginny Reinhard, a doll collector herself, said the sale of dolls isn’t so much driven by price, but whether a person likes or connects with a doll.

“It’s in the eyes of the beholder,” she said.

Reinhard said dolls should be out on display, not stored away, because “dolls have a history, a childhood history, they had love at one time in their life.”

Reinhard said she doesn’t play with her dolls at home, displayed by being seated in various chairs, but she does look them over as she sits to watch television and sometimes comments to them.

She recently put a special doll from her childhood, Roberta, in the car to take her for a visit to Reinhard’s childhood home in Stratford. Roberta’s face has been rebuilt, as she’s more than 73 years old.

No, Reinhard didn’t strap Roberta into a seat belt, but set her in a basket with a blanket in the car.

“I brought her with me so she could see where she was born,” Reinhard said.

Recently Reinhard and her friend, porcelain doll maker and collector Barbara Hodges of Derby, went through each doll for the sale as Hodges photographed them to look them up in books and go on eBay for pricing clues.

Reinhard knows the dolls will start at $5, but has no idea what the upper price will be. The women found some high-end brands in the piles of dolls.

As the woman chatted about the dolls, their wording was as if they were talking about a person.

“She’s adorable,” Hodges said, upon picking up a doll dressed as Little Red Riding Hood from the “Storybook” line.

“Look at this little girl,” called Reinhard to her friend.

The women said doll collecting was more popular among children way back than it is today. Hodges said years ago dolls were often for display only and in some households, little girls got to sit and hold them for a bit on Sundays.

The women said many younger people get the creeps from dolls because so many horror movies have featured them in an evil light. Hodges said she has some young relatives who won’t go into certain rooms in her house because of the dolls.

“That’s why these dolls need their own sale,” said Reinhard, referring to how it’s not a common type of collection anymore.

While there are loads of antiques, memorabilia and dolls for sale in the building to benefit the historical society, this will be their first doll-focused sale.

The sale will be held 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Academy Building, 605 Orange Center Road. The rain date is Aug. 19 at the same time.

In addition to dolls, the society will sell unique doll clothes of all kinds — some of which they’re sure were sewn or knitted by grandmas — as well as doll houses, doll house furniture and baby doll furniture such as a cradle, high chair, crib and a doll’s baby carriage that’s more than 100 years old.

Proceeds will go to the ongoing restoration of the historic Bryan-Andrew House.