Restoring an Antique Doll in Lynchburg Va
The Story of My Mom's Antique Doll...
I'd like to share with you the story of how the Victorian Angel Doll Hospital, in Lynchburg VA, restored and repaired my Mom's antique doll.
This doll was given to my Mom when she was a small child as a Christmas gift. Her brother dropped the doll and broke the bisque head. This was in the mid to late 1920s, about 80 years ago!
My grandmother kept the doll for my mom in hopes of getting it a new head one day. She stored it safely away in a trunk and later gave it to my mom. Years later, my mom gave the doll to my older sister. My sister looked into finding a head and having the doll repaired, but for some reason, it never happened. So, back in the box and stored again she went. After my sister passed away, the doll parts came to me. It stayed in my closet for several years. It was one of those things that just get put away and forgotten.
Finally, I made up my mind to get it repaired. My Mom always said she'd love for it to be repaired and she is 88 years old. Time wasn't on our side. So, I started looking into it...
Note: All photographs on this page belong to the author.
Note: My mom is now 94 years old and still loves her doll!
Victorian Angel Doll Hospital
If you need a doll repaired or restored, I highly recommend the Victorian Angel Doll Hospital. Kathleen, the owner, is such a sweet person, and so talented. She has a large collection of dolls of her own, as well. You can tell she truly cares about the dolls she restores.
Victorian Angel Doll Hospital
600 Pearl Street
Lynchburg Va 24504
The Remaining Parts of my Mom's Antique Doll
In Need of a Head...
These are the doll parts that were saved over the years. The legs had become detatched from the body because the fasteners had become rusted and fell off. It needs to be restrung and rewired. The kid leather body is still in good condition, only a little soiled. The china lower arms and hands are not broken.
But, she needs a head. I searched the Internet for this type of doll in order to determine the kind of head I needed. I found that I would need a bisque head with a shoulder plate that fits over the top of the doll body. This made it even harder, as now I had to have a head that was not only the correct type and size, but it had to fit correctly on this type of body. Very difficult to do online. Not only that, but it's very hard to find the heads. As you can imagine, antique bisque heads are scarce since they are breakable. I could find the bodies with no head, but I was beginning to think I'd have to buy a complete doll just to get a head.
I finally looked in the phone book and found the Victorian Doll Hospital (the only local listing for doll repair!). I called and talked to Kathleen. She said she happened to have a head and I gave her the measurements of the doll. She said she thinks it will fit and to bring the doll over to try it.
The head fits! Now we have all of the doll parts...
It's a miracle!
After a visit to Kathleen at the Victorian Angel Doll Hospital, we found that the head will fit! As you can see in the photo, the head has a shoulder plate and it fit perfectly on top of the doll body! It's a miracle!! Kathleen can do the body repair and put the doll together again.
She also makes beautiful doll clothes. She shows me several patterns and fabrics. It's hard to decide, but she's very patient. I finally decide on an "Alice" dress, similar to the dress that Alice in Wonderland wears. Something simple and sweet.
I pay a small deposit and get ready to wait for about two months until she's finished. I'm excited!! I tell Mom that her doll can finally be repaired and she's so happy and excited!
Now the Doll is Repaired and Restored!
Isn't she beautiful?
Here she is, all finished and beautiful! I will tell you, it was very emotional to finally see her with a head and dressed so prettily, after 80 years of parts stored in a box.
Such a pretty face...
She even has pretty lace stockings, white shoes, and ruffles on her petticote and pantaloons.
Meet the Owner of Victorian Angel Doll Hospital...
Kathleen is the "Angel" that repaired and dressed the doll.
Meet my Mom, with her doll, Mary Kathleen...
I surprised my Mom with her doll!
I didn't tell her the doll was finished. I went for a visit and told her I had an early birthday present for her. She will be 89 years old in August (this is July). I made her sit in a chair and close her eyes until I brought it in...then open her eyes. It was a priceless moment. We were both in tears. I still tear up to think of it. She was so happy! She has wanted to have this doll repaired for so many years.
Mom doesn't remember what her doll's name was, but she has now named her Mary Kathleen. Mary after her own Mom and Kathleen after the lady that "brought her back to life". As a coincidence, Kathleen's first name is also Mary! Kathleen is indeed a Victorian Angel!
I hope you have enjoyed this story.
Thank you for your visit. I'd love it if you left a note in the guestbook below and let me know you were here!