Doll News Summer 2020 - 25

the author Louisa May
Alcott and that Helen's
rendition of the March
family was the most
coveted.
So, how did my
Burlington, Vermont,
address come into
play? According to
Mary, Helen had begun
creating dolls in 1935,
when she resided in
Gardner, Massachusetts,
with her husband and
three children. Mary
states that in 1947,
Helen and her husband
"converted a rabbit hutch
near their home in Burlington, Vermont, into a shop and Helen
decorated the walls with Disney-style drawings." Her husband,
Charles, would help by cutting the cotton cloth and stuffing the
dolls. Then, this dollmaking "hobby" as Helen called it, really
started to take off. Helen joined the local arts and crafts group in
Vermont, and sold her dolls at shows. Several local businesses sold
her dolls, including The Enchanted Doll House! Additionally, her
work was advertised in their mail order catalogs. Helen shared her
doll making skills by giving various seminars throughout New
England. Gov. Nelson Rockefeller was even a customer! As Mary
mentioned, articles were printed about Helen in New Hampshire
newspapers as well. In 1955, Helen sold her March family at one of
the largest craft shows in West Springfield, Massachusetts. By the
mid 1960's, the Rollins family had a doll shop in New Hampshire.
These later dolls had a tag, which read:
The Doll House R.F.D.
Westville, N.H. 03892
According to Mary, some of these tags have Helen's initials
(HLR) handwritten on the lower right and her initials also can
appear in black ink on the doll's torso.
As luck would have it, the summer of 2019 would be a fruitful
one regarding the acquisition of what can now be classified as a
"collection" of Helen Rollins's dolls. I was, as usual, perusing eBay,
when I noticed a few different lots of the dolls! I was lucky enough
to acquire them. There is a 15-inch set of "Little Women" dolls, a
bride doll that has beads in her hair and on her gown (with Helen's
initials on her tush), and an assortment of the 7-inch dolls: Pollyanna,
Tommy Tucker, Melinda (whose face is shinier and appears painted),
and an unnamed gal in braids. These smaller dolls all have black
patent leather shoes. Most were dressed in their original clothes.
Those had tags from the New Hampshire address. Only one of them
though had Helen's initials. The assumption is that they were made

7-inch Tommy Tucker, Melinda (with a shinier
face), Pollyanna, and an unknown gal. These
later dolls have patent leather shoes, which
are thought to be original.
Tommy Tucker's tag from the later New
Hampshire address. His name is handwritten
on the back of the tag, as was the case for
many of the dolls.
DOLL NEWS * UFDC.ORG

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Doll News Summer 2020

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