Thursday, November 10, 2016

With Love from Tin Lizzie, Prof is Doll Collector, Academic Renaissance Woman by A. Miller, Shared Here by the Subject Herself

Below are excerpts from a very kind, and flattering article my school had written about me.  I am an administrator and teacher in legal studies, criminal justice, and English when I'm not "Playing Dolls."  She writes very well, and once wrote for Newsweek.  I was terribly honored by this, and touched, so I reproduced some of it for everyone to enjoy, and it is sort of an early Christmas card from  me. Seasons Greetings to all, and Peace in 2017!

With Love from Tin Lizzie
Prof is Doll Collector, Academic Renaissance Woman
When Dr. Ellen Tsagaris was a toddler in her native Greece, her mother presented her with a rubber yellow bunny doll that squeaked.  “I liked it very much,” she recalled.
Two Greek dolls dressed in national costumes followed that present. “By then, I was hooked. I remember as a child saying, ‘I’m going to collect dolls.’”
And collect she did.

Today, some ... years later, Ellen . . .  is not only the chair of multiple academic departments for KU. . . , but also one of the nation’s foremost collectors of and authorities on antique dolls.

“When I was young, I loved portrait painting and I was interested in photography, costumes, and textiles, too. I found that doll collecting encompassed all those interests.  I’ve always loved having dolls, collecting dolls and reading about dolls,” she said.
Wooden dolls, porcelain dolls, dolls made of china and wax, Ellen has them all. And this year, she authored the first definitive book on dolls made from tin.
Entitled With Love from Tin Lizzie, A History of Metal Heads, Metal Dolls, Mechanical Dolls, and Automatons,” the book addresses the way dolls reflect cultures and civilizations, and how they have given rise to an international “doll economy.”  
Reviewers have described the book as an “academic text, a photo album, and book of memories all in one.” 
Ellen’s dolls hail from 50 U.S. states and most of the countries in Europe, Asia and South America.

Her Greek family, world travelers, have continued to bring Ellen antique dolls, folk dolls, costume dolls and souvenir dolls from all parts of the globe.
One of her favorites is her ‘Vogue Baby Dear,” the type of doll that Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev took back to his grandchildren in Russia after his iconic “shoe-banging” speech to the United Nations in 1960.

She received a Japanese Ningyo doll made of papier mache and covered in white oyster shell when her Uncle Tom visited Japan. At Knott’s Berry Farm in California, her father presented her with a strawberry blonde doll designed by celebrated ballet dancer and artist Suzanne Gibson.

When she’s not collecting dolls, Ellen is something of an academic renaissance woman. She holds a law degree, a doctorate in Modern British Literature, a Master’s Degree in English, and a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Spanish. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa.

Her interest in dolls has dovetailed seamlessly with her academic interests.  she has researched and written about dolls in literature and about Anne Rice, who was an avid doll collector.

Ellen's next frontier:  When she retires, she hopes to establish a nonprofit doll museum similar to the one Rice established at the former St.. Elizabeth's orphanage in New Orleans.  The museum will tell the story of human history though dolls, doll houses, and related objects.


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