University Archives & Manuscripts

Alma and Spencer Garlow Doll Collection: An American Family — 1630 to 1900

Front view of husband and wife wooden dolls dressed in period costumes of America in 1708
1630 •  1677 •  1708 •  1736 •  1775 •  1811 •  1840 •  1875 •  1900 •  Collection Home

The dolls in the collection were created ca. 1962 by doll maker Helen Bullard (1902-1996) and carved from horse chestnut wood. Ms. Bullard named this collection of dolls “An American Family — 1630 to 1900.” She created nine generations of couples dating from 1630 to 1900. Each couple is shown at their age of marriage wearing their Sunday-best clothes and identifies their station in life. Only six sets of “An American Family — 1630 to 1900,” were ever made by Helen Bullard. This collection is registered with the National Institute of American Doll Artists.

In 1985 Mrs. Alma Garlow, Woman's College (now The University of North Carolina at Greensboro) Class of 1934, loaned the dolls to The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) School of Home Economics. Mrs. Garlow was a doll collector and a member of the National Institute of American Doll Artists. In 1998, Mr. Spencer Garlow donated the dolls to the UNCG School of Human Environmental Sciences. The dolls were transferred to University Archives in July 2000.