When asked for years what her favorite doll was, Rosalie Whyel would often answer, “The one I am holding.”
This remarkable woman, the daughter of Alaska pioneers of Italian roots, would, despite all expectations, become a pinnacle figure of 20th century doll collecting. Not just in building a collection, but building a world class museum that would, for 25 years, make the Pacific NW the center of the world amongst collectors.
Doll museums are a labor of love. Often done with whatever resources one has in an ad-hoc manner. Rosalie wanted more. She saw not just a place to showcase the many rare pieces she assembled over the years, but also, to make it something that the general public could relate to. It had to be more in her eyes. With that, she moved her entire family to the Seattle area and in the prosperous city across the lake, Bellevue, built from scratch an incredible shrine to the doll as art.
Rare English wood dolls, Fine French bébés and poupées, the rarest of German characters, all beautifully displayed. But Rosalie never lost sight of the people, as she was of the people, realizing that they also loved Ginny, or Barbie, or a simple baby doll with a history of the family that owned it.
Rosalie was everything to everyone. She made it work where others failed. And today, as a result, she is an iconic figure to the world of collecting that will be remembered for generations.
The first installment of many auctions featuring dolls from Rosalie’s collection and museum will be not just an auction, much more than an event, it will be a celebration of a woman who helped to define doll collecting today. 356 pages. 10" x 10" Softbound. $79.00 BT-386S
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