RANCHO SANTA FE — Inside the La Flecha House in the heart of Rancho Santa Fe, longtime resident Dottie McCrink strolled around and admired the display of antique and collectible dolls which decorated the interior.
McCrink, 93, recently decided to gift her antique doll collection to the RSF Historical Society.
In return, they honored her with an afternoon tea. The tea menu included cucumber sandwiches, fingertip sandwiches, and sweet tooth savories.
The blend of an afternoon tea and perusing a doll collection of more than 75 pieces attracted many guests. A swirl of talk highlighted how some dolls were created during the Civil War era.
McCrink said she was delighted to see them displayed. For a long time, the dolls were stored away, and now, their beauty has been brought back to life once again.
McCrink had her own way of procuring dolls.
“They didn’t have to be pretty,” she said. “They had to have character.”
And they did.
The afternoon affair was a way to thank McCrink for her generous contribution.
This special donor has resided in the Ranch since 1971.
“Dottie has been a very strong supporter of the Historical Society and these dolls are her lifelong collection,” said Dana Evanson, the docent and administrator of the Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society.
Evanson pointed out that many of these lovely dolls are quite old, many antiques.
For the Historical Society, Evanson said, this donation is so special because someone has gifted something so personal which adds such meaning.
“To us, it is so nice when people express their support in whatever way they want,” Evanson said. “And for Dottie, it was her doll collection.”
McCrink’s daughter, Katie Shull, and granddaughter, Megan McCrink, were also there for the afternoon tea.
According to Shull, her mother was a lover of the arts and also an artist. In many respects, collecting dolls was an extension of her painting and sculpting.
McCrink started collecting dolls more than 45 years ago.
“She would buy the porcelain head, paint the faces, make the clothes or find antique clothing,” Shull said. “She spent so many years, energy, and care with collecting them, making them, and displaying them.”
Shull said before her mother gifted the dolls to the Historical Society, family members did have the chance to pick out their favorite ones for themselves.
Shull chose a selection of dolls for herself and children.
“I kept several of her homemade dolls,” said Shull, noting how one of them was on display at the afternoon tea. “The doll reminds me of my first daughter.”
Shull said it was important for her mother to do something good and beneficial for the community. Her mother, also an admirer of antiques, said gifting these dolls to the Historical Society was a natural thing to do.