Thursday, December 29, 2011

NY Times Article: Why We Collect Stuff



Why people collect anything is often a puzzle to non-collectors.  I answered a NY Times reporter's questions on collecting as it relates to dolls.  My answers and those of other collectors of other "stuff" can be read here.

When someone asks why you collect dolls, what is your usual reply?

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12 comments:

  1. Great response Debbie. Again thank you for the book! And thank you too for mentioning my name in the book! While I no longer "collect" black dolls, my passion and love of them has not wained!!

    Happy New Year!

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  2. Very well written Debbie. This article has helped me to put some things in perspective. I already had plans to clear out (sale/donate) some dolls, but after reading some of the articles, I will be doing so early in the new year. Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. Thanks again for the autograph plate.

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  3. I truly enjoyed reading your response.

    This past year, I found myself at a dolly crossroad between collecting vs. clutter and display vs. disaster area. I have discovered that I will always have a passion for dolls but that doesn't necessarily mean that ALL of the dolls that I'm passionate about have to live at MY house. LOL

    I am now a doll enthusiast who will enjoy most dolls from afar. But I must confess that I still want to own an AA Little Souls doll. I promised my husband that when I find the right one, it will be my final doll. (wink)

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  4. Lee -- you had me taken aback for a minute about where I mentioned your name in book 2, but then I remembered, you were one if not the first person who told me, "You need to write a book," back in approximately the year 2000. Thank you again for your encouragement, which I did not take seriously initially. Sometimes it takes me a while to catch on to what I really need to do.

    Georgia Girl - Thank you and you're welcome. I'm definitely at a crossroads in my collecting. I am in the midst of downsizing, donating, and controlling it.

    Hugs - Glad you enjoyed reading the articles. I hope you're able to find an AA Little Souls doll soon.

    dbg

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  5. I enjoyed the article(s). In that spirit I have been working on getting more items together for sale & donation. I just know now that I don't need it all.

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  6. Very nice article. My first collection was anything Garfield. I was about 14yrs old. Once someone knows you like (collect) something, you tend to get this item as gifts for as long as you will accept them. I learned then that a collection can quickly get out of hand. I am no longer a doll collector. I am a doll person who enjoys playing with dolls. I no longer have a desire to buy a doll that has no purpose in my doll world. That means a doll can't come into my house and just sit on a shelf anymore, unless they are custom made. I have realized in my deboxing frenzy that dolls in the box can be a lot different when they are out of their boxes. I would never have known that had I not opened the box.

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  7. Thanks for sharing, Vanessa.

    There are so many aspects to my love for dolls. I am a collector and a doll historian who also enjoys doll manipulation (play). While some of my dolls are and may always remain in their original boxes (mostly Barbies, other fashion dolls, and vintage dolls found in their original packaging--that packaging is history and is as valuable as the doll in my opinion), more than 75% of my dolls are free. It was only in the past two years that I began immediately deboxing playscale size dolls. Prior to that, I really had little interest in them and considered them just "collectible."

    On the other hand, I have always deboxed my modern artist dolls to enjoy their artistic beauty and realism.

    As I continue this doll-loving journey, my interests will continue to change. I am sure I will always remain a collector, who considers documenting a doll's provenance as important as enjoying the dolls I collect. Their origin is relevant and should be available to the novice doll lover and the veteran whose interest may have reverted from one doll type to another.

    dbg

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  8. People like you are so important to providing the historical perspective that we often lack. I do think it is important that dolls stay boxed and in their original condition (just not mine). The part I missed about my collection was figuring out what to do with it when I am no longer here. Perhaps they will end up in a doll museum somewhere. One good thing is they will live on-line for as long as YouTube and Blogger are still around.

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  9. Debbie - Congrats on the article. I think you were one of the few collectors profiled and I think they did that for a few reasons - one you illustrated the emotional connection, and two, you illustrated that you have control of your 'obsession" - when you talk of changing your approach and thinning your colleciton. You represent doll collectors well and I thank you for that.

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  10. I also think you need to consider a black doll art exhibit that would travel to different museums.

    You might be able to get funding - maybe an arts grant or something.

    I would contact your local museum and see if they would consider an exhibit and see if there is any money for your time - there must be - you would be, I guess, a curator.

    They would also know if there are grants for being a curator.

    Once you have success at one museum you would know how to approach the next.

    It's an exhibit I would def take my daughter to see and I don't think I am the only one.

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  11. Thank you, Kristl. It is all too often that noncollectors incorrectly assume collectors are out of touch with reality, that we are consumed by our collections, or that we are hoarders.

    While a segment of the collecting community may have allowed their collections to overrun their lives, this is not true of the majority.

    dbg

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  12. Kristl - I have done exhibits in the past, but not traveling ones. My Dolls with Books exhibit is my favorite, usually held at libraries and schools. It encourages children to read as well as includes dolls of historical African Americans.

    My ultimate goal is to open a black-doll museum within a museum or at least have a long-term exhibit at the local AA Museum, where the president/CEO is a member of my mother's church. At my request, he shared his home phone number with my mother after I asked her to ask him when would be a good time to call him (at the museum) to discuss this possibility. His reply was, "Tell her she can call me anytime."

    The ball has been in my hands for months probably over a year since receiving his number. Now that you have rewatered this already planted seed, I will call him soon.

    dbg

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!