Saturday, July 31, 2010

Obituary for a dollhouse.....

The Barclay
a Keystone of Boston house
1938(?) – 2010

Barclay, a Keystone of Boston dollhouse, met his demise late July in the state of Pennsylvania. Ron S., his previous owner, states that Barclay was "absolutely destroyed" at the Pittsburgh bulk package sorting plant of the United States Postal Service.

Barclay was “born” in Boston, Massachusetts in the late 1930s. No facts are known about his life from "birth" until  July 3, 2010, when he was invited to spend his twilight years at Dollhouse Village in Houston. Appearances point to him belonging to little children who took great care of him because, even though he was at least 70, he was still a hunk for his age -- retaining all his windows, his front door and the surround, his chimney, and his floors were still sturdy for a house of his advanced years.

His cousin HUD was looking forward to Barclay coming to live in Dollhouse Village even though Barclay was in much better shape than himself.

HUD, cousin of Barclay

When interviewed HUD told us, “I was hoping to have a place for him right next to me on the shelf. Man, he would have made me look my age, but family is family. I didn’t even get a chance to meet him”.

There might be a small controversy over Barclay's parentage, as some might think he belonged to the Rich Toys family. And looking at Barclay, one could question if there was a little “hanky-panky” going on. The Rich Toys family produced dollhouses with similar chimneys,  red pediments over the windows, and the plastic windows which are unusual for a Keystone family member. The main characteristic that points to Barclay being a member of the Keystone family is  the supporting frame inside the house as opposed to the metal L-shaped support brackets that most of the Rich Toys family members have.  Uh, and also, his fraternal twin is pictured on page 149 of Zillner and Cooper's Antique and Collectible Dollhouses and Their Furnishings and attributed to Keystone, plus a similar house is shown in the 1938-39 Keystone catalog. And then there is his uncanny resemblance to our man HUD. ;)

Rest in peace, Barclay. Maybe we will discover one of your brothers one day. If we do, we will certainly invite him to live at the Village.

Some of the houses built by Rich Toys were given names....Avon, Birchwood, Berkshire. I am not aware that Keystone of Boston named any of their houses....I thought Barclay suited this little house that never made it to live with his new-found family.


  1. Oh, I am so sad that Barclay met his end in an accident just as he was on the way to a new home. From the look of him, he would have lived a great many more years, giving happiness to his fellow village residents. Thank you for giving him this well-deserved send-off.

  2. Oh this is so sad and sweet at the same time!
    Like the best orbituaries it combines humour with grief, like that HUD never got to meet his cousin! But HUD can at least take comfort in that his cousin got a well written and loving obituary, just as he deserved, Barclay was a really lovely house!

  3. Thank you Rebecca, Helene and Rick. He was in such great shape for one of these old fiberboard houses, so it was sad not to be able to add him to my collection. HUD, on the other hand, fell apart when I took him out of the box and has since had new floors, a door and surround installed. HUD is short for Dept of Housing and Urban Development because he reminds me of the houses made available for cheap purchase by our government!

  4. never mind... and just a thought, HUD, better than DHUD.. :)

  5. You would be surprised to know how many relatives meet there death through the postal service. Have had a few of my own. So many good years left. Struck down in there prime. Is very sad, you have my sympathy, hope this horrible thing never happens again.

  6. Ah HUD ... how very apropos! Must be American to appreciate the humor behind this naming ... much like my cars getting the names they ask for. Love these vintiage mini blogs, and really love your most entertaining stories.

  7. Poor least he didn't go alone. I think there is a death squad in every shipping department and every postal sevice in the world.