highlight Little Colonels exhibit
on display in La Grange
dolls were handmade by local residents
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (January 2008) Anne Cartwrights
parents got her hooked on dolls at an early age. This has been a fascination
she has not been able to let go of throughout her adulthood.
make up a large portion of
the new exhibit now open at the
Oldham County History Center.
Cartwright, 64, is a member of the Little Colonel Doll
Collectors of Kentucky. This club has several items on display in the
current exhibit at the Oldham County History Center in La Grange. The
exhibit is titled, The Little Colonel: A Romantic Vision of Life
Long Ago in Oldham County. It opened Nov. 17 and will run through
Many of the dolls in the Little Colonel exhibit were hand-made by Indiana
resident Paulette Stinson. The Little Colonel Doll Collectors of Kentucky
are an affiliate of the United Federation of Doll Clubs and one of three
in the Louisville area.
The 15-member club Cartwright belongs to was formed in 1984. Monthly
meetings are held in members homes, and certain topics such as
doll jewelry are presented and discussed. Some members live as far away
as Somerset, Ky., and Lexington, Ky.
Her parents, William and Mary Furnish, were members who used to hold
meetings for the club in their home. They got Cartwright interested
and she has been a member since 1993. Cartwrights sister, Susan
Hettinger, also encouraged Cartwright to join.
Most members collect antique dolls of some sort. Original Little Colonel
dolls are hard to find, said Cartwright. That is why Stinson, a charter
member of the club, began making them. In the past, we have met
and held workshops at her house, said Cartwright.
Members have put their own creativity to use by not just collecting
dolls, but in crafting Christmas ornaments. Cartwright said Stinson
had received a shipment of bisque doll heads that they turned into unique
Members acquire collector dolls from antique doll shows, dealer organizations,
antique stores and Ebay. Their interests range from antique dolls to
modern ones, and they collect dolls from all over the world.
I collect all sorts of things; dolls are just part of it,
said Cartwright. She has dolls from Japan, Africa and the Orient. She
has many ethnic dolls from different European countries outfitted in
the traditional dress of their country.
Her favorite doll of sorts was a felt horse her father
made while recovering in a hospital from wounds received during World
War II. Her mother passed on to her a set of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy
Andy dolls that she cherishes as well. In addition, Cartwright is intrigued
by mechanical toys, which she also collects.
The Little Colonel books and memorabilia are popular with todays
culture because they are still very enjoyable for adults,
said Cartwright. There is also the local aspect of it, that
many find alluring.
We decided to have the exhibit because of the significant impact
the Little Colonel had on Oldham County, said Nancy Theiss, executive
director of the Oldham County History Center. The fascination
locally is that the characters from the stories actually represent real
people from Pewee Valley, including the Little Colonel, who was Hattie
Cochran, and her grandfather, Col. Weissigner.
The Samuel Culbertson Mansion Bed and Breakfast, located on Third Street
in Louisville, has sponsored computer access to the first website about
the Little Colonel. The address is www.littlecolonel.com.
The mansion was once home to brothers William Stewart Culbertson and
Alexander Craig Culbertson, models for author Annie Fellows Johnstons
Two Little Knights of Kentucky.
The website was constructed by Steve Lock, one of the mansions
business partners. The website is wonderful, said Cartwright.
It provides all sorts of information to get people more interested
in the Little Colonel.
Lock, along with Donna Andrews Russell, was also instrumental in organizing
a Pewee Valley Driving Tour Guide, which can be purchased for $5 at
the History Center.
Our Pewee Valley Driving Tour Guide is fantastic. Many of the
homes mentioned in the series are still intact, said Theiss. The
driving tour highlights the places frequented by Hattie Cochran and
made known nationally by Johnston, as well as additional historical
stops in Pewee Valley.
Included in the History Center exhibit is a recreation of Johnstons
writing room. I thought it would make a nice setting because we
had some of her personal items from her office, and I think people are
always interested in seeing places where people create their ideas,
On exhibit is Johnstons writing stand where she would stand up
and write because she often got tired of sitting for long periods.
We are pleased with the exhibit, said Cartwright. It
was well done.
The February meeting for the Little Colonel Doll Collectors of Kentucky
will be the driving tour.
For more information on the exhibit, visit:
or call Nancy Theiss at (502) 222-0826. Many additional events take
place in February.
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