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Restoring an Antique Doll in Lynchburg Va

Updated on May 21, 2017
My Mom's Restored Antique Doll
My Mom's Restored Antique Doll | Source

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
Victorian Angel Doll Hospital

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.

Contact Kathleen:

Victorian Angel Doll Hospital

600 Pearl Street

Lynchburg Va 24504


The Remaining Parts of my Mom's Antique Doll

Parts from my mom's antique doll - before being restored.
Parts from my mom's antique doll - before being restored.

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.

We now have a head!
We now have a head!

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!

The doll is finally restored!
The doll is finally 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...

Isn't she pretty?
Isn't she pretty?

She even has pretty lace stockings, white shoes, and ruffles on her petticote and pantaloons.

Petticoat, pantaloons, white stockings and shoes.
Petticoat, pantaloons, white stockings and shoes.

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!


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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I so enjoyed our conversation the other evening, how blessed my heart is to know that there are folks such as you living in the most gracious home on Pearl st. I shall never forget the memorie's as a teen living there, all of a young girl's dreams and hope's were indwelled there. I am overwhelmed with gratitude at the invitation, but, my mind and heart has a memory of 600 Pearl that I wish to keep close to my heart and my memory, for I truly know that the home I once knew , does not exist any longer, except in my most fondest of memorie's. I wish not to dissalusion myself with hope's of the past. My prayer has already been answered, as , you are dwelling, loving, and taking care of 600 Pearl, what a delight, to know that I may sleep in peace, as you my new found friend's sleep in the house, I once called "home".most graciously your's,Martha (Toman) Triplett

    • hysongdesigns profile image

      hysongdesigns 6 years ago

      The doll looks so sweet. How fun to have her repaired and appropriate to be out in 'polite society' again! Reminds me tho of things hiding in a box in the closet waiting their turn for sprucing up!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 6 years ago from Concord VA

      @anonymous: Becky, thanks so much for your visit and comment. Yes, Kathleen is indeed an a very talented angel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Kathleen is a very dear friend of mine and created a beautiful dress for a doll that I purchased when she and I were at a doll show a few years ago. She also gave new life to an old doll of my mom's when she gave her a new head of hair! What a difference that made, and my mom was so happy to see her new dolly and to show her off to her friends! Kathleen has a special love for dolls and it is apparent in all of her amazing work. She can repair things that appeared to me to be hopeless! Kathleen is an "angel" as the story above bears out. I'm so glad that we found each other years ago because she is such a dear person and a dear friend.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Dear Martha, My wife (Kathleen) and I were delighted to see your comments about your having lived at 600 Pearl St.! Especially that this was the happiest time of your life...spent in our beautiful "Victorian" home! We would LOVE to talk with you on the phone about your experiences! PLEASE call us at: (434) 846-5403! Sincerely, Starr & Mary Kathleen

    • Gamganny profile image

      Gamganny 6 years ago

      This is a great heartfelt story. Sprinkled with angel dust and blessed

    • frances lm profile image

      frances lm 7 years ago

      Thanks for the lovely story. Would it be cruel to say I'm not sure how pretty I think the doll is?

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      My name is Martha, I once lived at 600 Pearl back in the 60's, and it was the happiest time of my life, beautiful home, beautiful memories. I appreciate that a lovely soul as yourself is dwelling there, restoring victorian dolls.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 7 years ago from Concord VA

      @norma-holt: Thanks so much for your visit, your blessing, and your feature!! :)

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      What a great story, and such a great gift for your mom. congratulations onyour purple star.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Lovely story and beautiful doll. Pity we don't see these gems around so much today. Congrats on Purple Star. *-*Blessed and Featured on Sprinkled with Stardust

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 7 years ago

      What a great story and such a touching moment when you were able to reunite your mother with this lovely doll. Kathleen certainly is a talented angel.Congrats. on the Purple Star.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Totally love this lens about your angel doll being fixed at the doll hospital! I love old dolls.

    • Laura Schofield profile image

      Laura Schofield 7 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

      A very touching story. Your mom should be extra pleased that not only has the doll been repaired but this little vignette has caused a few other smiles around the world too! Fantastic lens.

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 7 years ago from USA

      Congrats on the well deserved Purple Star for a lens topic that is close to my heart.

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 7 years ago from PA

      Yes, I loved your story. The doll is beautiful.

    • Bus Stop Toy Shop profile image

      Bus Stop Toy Shop 7 years ago

      Lovely story - I love to hear about favourite old toys brought back to life :)

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 7 years ago

      Now that was a very loving gift! Your mom looks fantastic too, I would never, ever guess her age.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      YES!!! I loved this story, and yes Miracles actually do happen. So enjoyed reading this very touching event. I have helped many wonderful ladies, to bring back their childhood very much loved dolls. Very Sincerely, Mary Kathleen The Victorian Angel