Collecting Miniatures: Faith Bradford's Dollhouse

Collecting Miniatures: Faith Bradford's Dollhouse

Beginning at the age of seven and continuing well into adulthood, Faith Bradford was a devoted collector of miniatures. Today, her 23-room doll house serves as both a masterfully crafted achievement of the enthusiast's lifelong passion and a delightful peek into early 20th-century living.

Created on a scale of one inch to one foot, Faith Bradford's five-story dollhouse is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Doll, their ten children, two visiting Grandparents, five servants and twenty pets. Containing over 1,300 small-scale components, Bradford's miniature masterpiece is comprised of furnishings, fixtures, and other household items that she either purchased, engineered, or received as gifts during her life between 1887 and 1970. Having underwent several renovations over the years, (such as the relocation of the stairwell to the back hallway), Bradford's home depicts life at the turn of the century through a playful and detail-oriented eye.

Complete with all the necessities of daily life for a large (but miniature!) family, the tiny home boasts amenities such as a butler's pantry, Victorian-style parlor, multiple children's nurseries and even a trunk room for all the extra luggage. Other highlights include period wallpapers, handcrafted ceramic bathtubs, a bearskin rug and an attic full of an eclectic assortment of out-of-use items.

The dollhouse has been on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington DC, and from time to time Bradford would even return to conduct "house cleanings" and bring the wreathes down from the attic during the holidays. Today, the mini treasure-trove can still be viewed as part of an ongoing exhibition, exemplifying a devotion to collecting and a masterfully hand-crafted slice of life. To view Faith Bradford's dollhouse online, visit the museum's website at www.americanhistory.si.edu.

Images: exkey=376&pagekey=812">National Museum of American History

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