One of the best sites to be enjoyed in Ardmore, Oklahoma, is the Eliza Cruce Hall Doll Museum. Housed in the children’s section of Ardmore Public Library, the museum contains some of the world’s finest and rarest specimens of dolls.
he collection belonged to Eliza Cruce Hall, the niece of Oklahoma’s second commander-in-chief, Gov. Lee J. Cruce.
Eliza Cruce Hall had arrived in Ardmore for the first time in 1896. Her stint in collecting dolls began during a trip to Europe. The first doll for the collection was purchased during this trip. Since then Hall amassed more than 300 dolls during her lifetime.
Many of the dolls are of the rare and antique varieties, with some dating back to the early 1700s. They include porcelain dolls, kewpie dolls, French fashion dolls, and famous varieties such as Lenci Kruse, Kestner, Ravca, Klumpe, Montanari and Schoenhut.
The collection also includes original French Court dolls depicting members of French Queen Marie Antoinette’s court and English peddlers.
The hugely popular Bye-lo dolls also form part of the collection. The rarest however are the hand-carved wooden varieties, which date back to the 1770s.