ALL DOLLED UP
One was dressed as "Gary," a 1960s banjo-playing hippie, there was a 1900s woman in a full-length wedding gown, and another was decked out in fancy clothing as would have been worn by an Elizabethan nobleman.
And there was a variety of dress in between all on the 40 or so dolls on display at the Grande Ronde Retirement Residence on Gekeler Lane.
Most were made by Margarite Vanderbilt, a La Grande woman who did meticulous research on the style of clothing for each doll. She's filled a large notebook of her findings and added photos of each doll. A former nurse, she enjoys seeing the pleasure the residents get out of viewing the dolls. She started dressing dolls in 1955, she said.
When the retirement center finishes having the dolls on display, they will all go to the Union County Historical Museum in Union, said Joyce Atchley, activities director at the residence.
The residents have enjoyed having them on display, Atchley said.
"We displayed them in the lobby, around on tables. There were dolls from all over the world. All of them were displayed on Mother's Day and we had a tea."
The Rotary Club donated a large glass case, where many of the dolls are displayed now.
Some residents and employees brought their own dolls for display. The smallest of the bunch was a childhood doll owned by one of the residents, Ida Schnore. She's 91, so the doll has to be more than 80 years old, Atchley said.
"I don't remember how long I've had it," Schnore said. "I've had it for years. I got it for Christmas one year."
Jean Monical, who works at the residence, put on display a doll she had. It is of a different proportion than the other dolls displayed.
"It belonged to the foster mother of my husband, Larry," she said. "Her name was Neva Priday. They owned a huge cattle ranch at Antelope. She got the doll when she was 2 in 1918. She gave it to us a long time ago.
"It's got the original dress. It's in really good shape, but needs some work on its tongue and eyes, which move," Monical said. It was made by a German company, Heubach Koppelsdorf, which dates back to 1887.
In the Vanderbilt collection of 40 there were no dolls in wedding dresses, so Olga Rollins, a resident of the center, put her doll on display. It has a white crocheted dress of a 1900s style.
"My daughter's friend made the dress," Rollins said.