This miniature collection began when Allegra was just eight years old and started collecting Cracker Jack prizes. She met Dewitt when they were both just teenagers and six years later, in the early 1920's, they were married. Soon after they married, Dewitt, who shared his wife's enthusiasm for miniatures, started to build exact replicas of their antique furniture. Perfectly detailed and in miniature, his pieces were used to display Allegra's Cracker Jack prizes and tiny party favors. Today, the collection includes the original prizes, miniature party favors, antique furniture, and books among others. The collection was housed at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California for some time and numbers more than 300,000 pieces.
The Mott's collection traces the history of America from the 1760's to the present with scenes that are historically correct down to the finest detail. Dewitt created the realistic settings modeled after toy stores, Oriental and Scandinavian shops, a pharmacy, and an early American home at Thanksgiving to show off their best pieces, including a 1750's Eastern cabin that is a replication of the one Dewitt Mott's father owned, and a 1900's Des Moines home of Allegra Mott's family and in which their three children were raised, and many more. The Motts paid particular attention to the exactness of their displays. In fact more than 5,000 school children every year have seen the collection used as an aid in learning their history lessons.
The Motts had three children of their own, Barbara, Elizabeth, and Bill, who did not have the same passion for miniatures as the rest of the family. The girls have continued to grow the collection along with Elizabeth's two children. Today the collection, starting with Allegra's Cracker Jack prizes, has been active for more than 60 years.
Today the collection includes pieces such as an entire tea set made from dimes which won first prize at the Silversmith's Convention at the 1893 World's Fair, a perfect set of porcelain false teeth that rest in a glass, and the smallest printed miniature book ever type set, at that time, made for a printer's convention in the 1920's.
The Motts also played a significant role in the creation and development of the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts. In 1972, Allegra expressed a dream that she had to several other collectors. That same year the organization was chartered. The first club meetings were held at the Mott's home. Today, NAME has grown to include more than 10,000 members worldwide and sponsors at least six yearly major miniature collector's conventions around the United States.
Reprinted from "A Reference Guide to Miniature Makers Marks" ISBN: 0-9644481-0-6
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