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  • Writer's pictureMcGregor Iowa Museum

Museum welcomes Hoseley doll donations

Reva Smock (center) has donated this Hoseley Party Doll named Sylvia to the McGregor Historical Museum. She is pictured with museum board president Mel Wild and director Diane Malcom (Photo by Audrey Posten)

On June 21, McGregor Historical Museum Board President Mel Wild and Director Diane Malcom recognized the addition of five McGregor-made Hoseley Party Dolls to the museum's collection.

One of the dolls, dressed in yellow and named Sylvia, was donated by Reva Smock, a member of the McGregor Historical Society and one-time president of the museum. Growing up in McGregor in the 1950's, Smock said she and each of her sisters had a Hoseley Party Doll. She was always surprised the museum didn't have a doll and, over the years, has sought to find one. Smock recently bought the doll online, from a seller in Colorado.

The other four dolls were donated by Sharon Lynch, from Cedar Rapids. Priscilla and Penelope, with blonde hair, bonnets and dresses with aprons, are rag dolls. Emma Carrie is dressed in an elaborate bridal gown and veil, while Sonna is also dressed as a bride, with a pill box hat. Lynch said the dolls were passed down through her family.

McGregor Historical Museum Board President Mel Wild accepts a donation of four Hoseley Party Dolls from Sharon Lynch.

The Hoseley Party Dolls are rare. In the 1950's, Ruth Hoseley purchased the dolls out east and clothed them in party dresses, according to information provided by Smock. The Hoseley Party Dolls were made from the same mold as the Mary Hoyer Doll. They stand 15 inches tall and have movable arms and heads.

Hoseley's shop was located in McGregor, where River Junction Trade Co. is today, and she employed four women who would cut the material and make the ruffles and other sewing needs. Hoseley dressed and finished the dolls, including completing their hair styles. The gown styles numbered more than 50 models

"Mrs. Hoseley would go up to the grade school and have the younger girls name the dolls," Smock said. Some girls chose their own names, while others chose their mothers' names.

The only way to positively identify a Hoseley Party Doll is if she is dressed in the original clothing with the Hoseley tag.

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