“She just really loved children.”
That is the reason Dave Davenport of Creston gave as to why his cousin Karen Kralik of Marshalltown requested the proceeds of her doll and Teddy bear collection be donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital after her death.
Kralik’s collection is a reflection of herself.
Kralik, a retired school teacher, avid crafter and traveller, often assembled many of the dolls herself using doll-kits. Other dolls reflect the culture of countries around the world in traditional dresses or wearing clothing embellished with hand-stitching or fur.
Some of Kralik’s collection of more than 3,000 Apple Valley, Marie Osmund, Lee Middleton, Adora dolls and Boyds Bears is currently for sale at The Bookstore, 210 N. Maple St.
“Each doll is different,” said The Bookstore owner Jim Stalker.
The dolls lining the bookcases of Stalker’s store are in mint-condition and no two look alike. The dolls, which have their own skin, eye and hair color, also have very different expressions such as sleepy, excited, happy and sad.
According to Stalker’s wife Sandy Stalker, many of the dolls are wearing newborn clothing, shoes and accessories from department stores such as Younkers and Kohls.
The collection at The Bookstore is just a drop in the bucket.
“We didn’t even get them all out,” said Davenport. “We left behind about 400.”
Davenport said it took nine to 10 trips from Marshalltown to Creston to haul all of the dolls using a 4-foot by 10-foot trailer and a packed Chevrolet SUV.
“We have been trying to sell them over the summer and online,” said Davenport.
Davenport said some of the dolls have been sold to places as far away as Russia and South Africa.
“We are learning a lot about the dolls and as they sell,” said Davenport.
Davenport explained there are quite a few people who collect dolls and through the process of researching and selling them, they are learning about their history and value.
The Davenports are selling the dolls at The Bookstore for $20 to $25 dollars and Boyds Bears for $18, but a quick web search shows some dolls are worth more than $500.
With winter ahead, the Davenport’s needed their garage for their vehicles, a place to store the dolls, and Stalker offered them space at The Bookstore.
The proceeds will help advance the mission of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee, which is touted as a top pediatric research facility and hospital.
St. Jude’s mission is to advance cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of its founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.
“If she can only see how many people she has made happy,” said Davenport.
Davenport was referring to the dolls’ new owners; however, for the children served by St. Jude’s or benefitted by their reseach, Kralik’s legacy is far-reaching.