Dorsey, a long-time vintage and modern doll collector and Blinds.com customer,
shares her story and her passion for doll collection. Sandy’s exceptional collection
caught my eye when she posted pictures and a review for Blinds.com Premium Room Darkening Roller Shades, which are excellent protection from UV rays.
Esther: Where are you located?
Sandy: My husband and I chose a rural area in norther San Diego County as our home after we retired. It is the
avocado capital of the world but we also grow citrus, macadamia nut trees, and
many exotic flowers. I am a retired advanced
mathematics high school teacher.
How long have you been a doll collector?
I have been collecting dolls for thirty-three years. That’s easy to remember because it’s how long
I have been married to my second husband. He was not prepared for my dolls because when I married him I hadn’t
started my collection.
What made you begin collecting?
There were some wonderful doll shows at a large mall near where I lived. I was enthralled with the vintage dolls being
shown and couldn’t resist taking at least one home with me each time I went to
What is your most prized doll?
I don’t have a single favorite doll.
Each doll is my favorite when he or she comes to live with. I have multicultural dolls and some are very
rare. I have dolls with provenance with
pictures and history of the doll’s original owner and they are special. I have dolls in wonderful fancy dresses and
they are beautiful. My students gave me several dolls from their home counties
too. But I do not have my original
childhood dolls because they were lost in a fire. In fact I almost lost the whole collection in
a fire a few years ago. I love all of my
What is the number one thing you need to protect your dolls from? In other
words, what can cause them the most damage?
My dolls are classified as Modern Dolls in the doll world. That means they are less than 100 years
old. Actually all my dolls are from the
same company, the Terri Lee Company and they were made between 1946 and
1962. I have about 400 dolls on display
and they are all in their original clothing which is fifty to sixty years
old. The fabrics, ribbons, and trims are
exquisite and that is the fun of collecting this particular doll. But the most damage can occur by being
exposed to light. I maintain the
temperature and humidity and I am also careful to keep insects and bugs away
but light is extremely destructive to the aging fabrics.
How do you keep your dolls protected from the elements?
I designed my doll room after many visits to Las Vegas.
The 16 foot ceiling is painted blue with white clouds and the cabinets
are built as separate buildings inspired by a walk through the Paris and
Venetian hotels in Las Vegas. All the buildings are 8 feet tall and decorated
with a theme, such as the hospital, western saloon, little red school house,
gingerbread house, etc. The fronts of
the buildings are glass so that you can look in and see the dolls. So the dolls are in enclosed in cabinets and
behind glass but that doesn’t keep the light off. So in additional, I have roller shades in
each building which are kept closed during most of the time. When I am giving a tour of the museum, I open
the shades and turn on the lights. The
shades that I ordered from Blinds.com where a very good quality and have held
up well over that last few years. I
especially like the chain driven option for raising and lowering the shades
because I can open the doll cabinets quickly and easily. My shades are room darkening so that they
provide maximum protection from the sun’s rays.
What do you plan to do with your collection in the future?
My collection is always growing and changing.
In fact, at this time my husband is building another building in the
last remaining area which had been just a special display area. I have established mini collections within
the large collection, which are specialties like Girl Scouts and Brownies, Nun
dolls, and vintage paper mache holiday decorations
What is the best part about being a doll collector?
Besides the wonderful dolls who take my breath away when I have time to play
with them, the best thing about collecting is my friends who also collect this same
kind of doll. We travel to doll
conventions, research the history, making, and marketing of this doll and write
and present programs on our research.
Collecting dolls is reliving part of my childhood and it brings me great
joy. It keeps me young.
Do you feel there are misconceptions about doll collecting?
like living in the past but it is really a source of great joy and perception and a connection of old and new
and history. Some may feel that I am
wasting my money on something so trivial but good dolls have held their value
just as much as other investments and besides, one can enjoy them while owning