Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Review-- The Stettheimer Dollhouse

Title: The Stettheimer Dollhouse
Editor: Sheila W. Clark
ISBN: 9780764948022/ Pomegranate, 2009
Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating: B

First Line: One of the most celebrated and distinctive objects in the Museum of the City of New York's Toy Collection is the Stettheimer Dollhouse, made between the world wars by Carrie Walter Stettheimer (1869-1944).

The oldest of three wealthy sisters, Carrie Walter Stettheimer assumed the responsibilities of running a large and very social household while her two younger sisters pursued their own artistic talents. For nineteen years Carrie worked on this dollhouse, and it's obvious just from looking at the rooms that she had to have had her own artistic aspirations. She made many of the furnishings by hand, and she purchased and embellished many others. As a window into the world between the wars, Carrie's dollhouse is of importance, but what truly sets it apart from all others is its art gallery. Many of the Stettheimers' friends were well-known artists, and they contributed tiny works of art to the dollhouse.

Both photos and text are fascinating and make me want to learn more about the Stettheimers. The book also reminds me of when I wanted my own dollhouse to furnish when I was a little girl. The Stettheimer Dollhouse would be of interest to anyone who collects dollhouses and miniatures.

Other Reviews:

Rose City Reader


  1. That does sound fascinating. I always love look at the miniatures in museums.

  2. This sounds like a fun book. Probably more fun to visit the museum. My father made a doll house for my two daughters but I'm afraid it was not of this caliber. They had their own childish art and crafts inside. But it was still loved and cared for. They were in their late twenties before we finally sold it at a garage sale.

  3. Humankinds fascination with miniatures is in itself interesting, isn't it? Can you imagine being patient enough to carve the Lord's Prayer on a grain of rice, or make a Faberge egg, or put a ship in a bottle?

    My childhood was spent making my own dollhouses out of shoeboxes, with matchbox furniture. I recall them very fondly, but my adult life is more focused on gadgets than miniatures.

  4. That sounds fascinating. There is a contingent of needleworkers and lacemakers who specialize in miniatures for dollhouses. The very fine work involved is mind-boggling.

  5. Kathy--So do I. The Phoenix Art Museum has a series of miniature rooms that are excellent, and I always visit that gallery when I'm there.

    Margot--That sounds like a marvelous dollhouse!

    Susan--I don't have the patience to do any of that myself, but I certainly enjoy the fruits of others' labor!

    Beth--My mother was fascinated with miniatures and did some needlework for a dollhouse she wanted to build. Mind-boggling, indeed!

  6. I really love dollhouses - I still have The Dollhouse Mystery waiting for me to read, after I read your review of it. I will have to add this one to my list, definitely.

  7. Belle--it's definitely one of those books where you sit for quite a while digesting all the photos!

  8. Oh wow this is a real dollhouse? Too neat! Hmm, now I'm curious if whether or not other museum objects have books like this...

  9. Jen--I think they do, but for the life of me I can't think of any examples right now! :(

  10. Cathy -- Very nice review! I just reviewed the book today on Rose City Reader, here. You and I had a similar reaction to the back story.

    I'll add a link to your review.

  11. Thanks so much! I'll add a link to you on mine!

  12. Thanks! Your link is on my post now too.

    I'm trying to get better about listing other reviews on my review posts. i like it when I find a whole list on a review I read.

  13. I'm usually so short of time when I'm writing reviews that I forget to look up others' reviews. I should go back and edit posts to include them!


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