I played dollhouse with orange crates as a child and built furniture out of sticks and straws. I got my first dollhouse as an adult in 1963 and everything grew from there. A friend in town, Bill Hewlett, gave me, as a surprise, a dollhouse. It was an exact copy of Lake View, the home where I was raised.
Joe and I were married in 1939. There was little time for personal endeavors as I raised five children and was constantly involved with Cub Scouts, Brownies, and being room mother for 17 years.
I learned that Margaret Whitton was selling her miniatures business, and that was the birth of Andrews Miniatures. When I found some time for myself, I joined a miniatures club. Returning home from a meeting one day, I told my husband that some friends wanted to sell Wilton. Joe didn't know what I was talking about until I explained it was a dollhouse. We mutually decided to make a trip to Williamsburg so he could see for himself, whereupon he said he liked it but didn't feel we could afford it. With some thought he added that he had a shipment of miniatures coming in from overseas and after payment, he wouldn't have enough money for Wilton, But you have my permission to do what you can.
The next morning I went to the bank and spoke with the President. I explained I needed money to buy a house in Williamsburg. When he was told the price, he asked with alarm, You can buy a house in Williamsburg for that amount of money? I hastened to explain the house in question was a dollhouse and that if the bank did decide to loan me the money for the purchase, it could not interfere with any business my husband may have with them. He told me he would have to go before the bank board and get their approval before he could make such a loan. When he appeared before the board of directors, he compared the purchase of my dollhouse to a farmer in the country requesting a loan on a litter of unborn pigs. I got the loan! And, I got the house!
I had seen Carter's Grove when it was being built at about four different stages. I jokingly told Betty Marvin, who was having the house built, that if anything happened and Williamsburg Foundation did not accept the house, I would take it. Later I received a telephone call saying the house was mine and I owned it for 11 years. Some of the furnishings came with it: it contained 35 rooms. I also have an antique doll collection which was started in a rather unusual way back in 1963. I was helping a friend pack after her mother had passed away. My son, John, was playing with the discarded items in the back yard when I went in search of him, and among the objects he was playing with were seven antique dolls. I brought them home and that was the beginning of my collection.
Reprinted from "A Reference Guide to Miniature Makers Marks" ISBN: 0-9644481-0-6
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