Introduction: The Dolls' House
The Dolls' House
The scale of this 23-room house is one inch to one foot, accommodating the miniatures that Faith Bradford (1880–1970) played with as a girl and collected as an adult. She imagined the dwelling as the turn-of-the century household of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Doll, their ten children, two visiting grandparents, five servants, and twenty pets.
Bradford’s miniature furnishing collection exhibited at her home, 1930. The shelf-like arrangement of the collection conformed to the way that Bradford modeled the “house” as a child
Bradford’s fascination with miniature furnishings began at age seven when she inherited her older sister’s collection and four-room dollhouse. When the dollhouse fell apart from wear and tear, her mother had shelves built into Faith’s bedroom clothes closet—a new dwelling with plenty of play space and “imagination for walls.”
Dollhouse shown at Gadsby’s Tavern, with its prize winning blue ribbon attached at roof peak, 1932. Bradford had access to photographers throughout her adult life who documented the development of her models.
In 1932, Bradford created a shelf-like model to display her “house” at a charity toy fair in Alexandria, Virginia. The same figures, fixtures, and furnishings inhabit the model (above) that Bradford created and presented as a gift to the U.S. National Museum in 1951.