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The Margaret Bright Gallery of Class Dolls

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1910 doll In 1980, Katherine Parker Freeman (Mrs. L.E.M. Freeman) wrote: "There were 28 graduates that year [1910], I think the largest up to that time. We departed from tradition, and instead of a daisy chain, made our chain out of red rambler roses! This was at old Meredith, of course, on Blount Street. Our doll was possibly the simplest dressed doll, but it was typical of that time. She wears an "empire" unbleached muslin dress. The school was small, struggling financially, but we had great teachers whose greatest contribution was lifting our horizons—mentally and spiritually." Ella Thompson was class agent.


1911 doll Lila Stone Seymour, class agent, asked her neighbor, Dora Beavers Maynard, to make the dress for the 1911 doll. Mrs. Maynard’s three daughters Lillian, Louise, and Edith attended Meredith, so she had a special interest in the project. The dress is white with a square neck and blue ribbons. Emma Byrum Hobbs wrote that Margaret Bright was "excellent with the needle" and we wonder if Miss Bright made any of the doll dresses for the early classes. Emma remembered that the father of Dr. Bessie Lane, college physician and professor of physiology 1934-1950, planted an acre of sweet peas for the class daisy chain.


1912 doll Mrs. John S. McDonald of Raleigh was class agent. Miss 1912 wears a white long skirt and blouse with a collar. There is a green tie around her neck and a green belt at the waist.


1913 doll Mrs. J. Ray Burton was class agent. Dr. Mary Lynch Johnson remembered that the fringe-balls on this dress were like the original.


1914 doll Kate Johnson Parham wrote that she had no idea who dressed their doll, but "she wore white—we always did on Class Days—and the skirt was in three tiers. We wore straw hats trimmed with black-eyed susans." The style was called “hobble skirt.” Dr. Mary Lynch Johnson said that a dressmaker on Person Street made the Class Day dresses.


1915 doll Mrs. William A. Moore of Kinston was class agent. This doll’s white dress has a long skirt made in panels.


1916 doll The bluebirds on the hem and collar of this dress reflect the class emblem, the bluebird of happiness, according to Dr. Mary Lynch Johnson.


1917 doll Dr. Mary Lynch Johnson's class had 38 graduates—the largest to date. This is her recollection: The doll was redressed one time since 1936 by Elizabeth Henley. The green bow is organdy. The class emblem was the butterfly and the bow was spread out in bow-like wings. Dr. Johnson said that she and classmate Annie Holt felt more like fat, grubby caterpillars because they were the "fat" ones in the class! "The Last Revel of the Butterflies" was their Class Day program. She mentioned that earlier classes had mascots, but they changed to emblems in 1916.


1918 doll The doll is in a Red Cross uniform, reflecting World War I and the work of Meredith students, such as rolling bandages and other duties when the nation was involved in the war effort. Patriotism was very strong on the Meredith campus; it was located in downtown Raleigh and the students cheered the soldiers on as they marched down Fayetteville Street. Mary Law Norwood Vann was class agent.


1919 doll Ella Johnson Webb started the "Des Bones" skit/song used at Class Day. Anne Poteat started the "even year" answer, according to Dr. Mary Lynch Johnson. This doll has a white dress with a long skirt and wears pearls at her neck.