I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m one of those crazy doll collectors.
Not porcelain or baby dolls, not sweet little cherubs peacefully sleeping – but felt-made, poseable critters and creatures called Annalees. Not your typical dolls, Annalees are bendable and felt-bodied, with a painted face similar to that of Annalee Thorndike, the creator.
According to the brand’s virtual museum, the company started when the family chicken farm failed in the early 1950’s. Originally a hobby doll-maker Annalee was forced to “really get serious about her childhood hobby, doll making with a dash of Yankee influence.” And so it began, “the old chicken coop became a design room, Chip became a salesman, and Annalee a doll maker. She fashioned her creations directly from the activities of her two sons who were always skiing, swimming or otherwise engaged in what children do best. There is no doubt that this is why Annalee picked more than one mischievous, whimsical face for each of her doll creations.”
According to Wikipedia, Annalee Dolls came into the spotlight again when, in 1975, a New Hampshire state legislator gave then-president Ford a selection of dolls to decorate the White House Christmas tree… and the rest was history.
While they no longer make their dolls in a "factory in the woods" in Meredith, N.H. they still have the same combination of creep and charm – traits I thoroughly enjoy.
I started my collection in December of 1992 and can’t believe I’m 20 years in! My first piece was Santa in a rocking chair, asleep, which was given to me by another collector and my dear grandmother, Mary. From that initial treasure, I continued to receive about one a year and amassed a nice collection.
While I initially only collected the Christmas characters, I started to expand to other holidays over the past couple of year. And lately, the collection has gotten out of control. With Valentine’s Day, St. Patty’s, Easter and beyond, I can’t help but collect!