The History and Development of the UFDC

The United Federation of Dolls Club (UFDC) is a nonprofit organization promoting collections of antique, vintage, and modern dolls, dealers, clubs and artisans. The United Federation of Dolls Club is very proud of our history. We have been promoting the love of all things about dolls since our club was founded by Mrs. Mary E. Lewis, a dedicated doll collector, author and lecturer from Brooklyn, New York.

Prior to founding our club, Mrs. Lewis, representing the National Doll and Toy Collectors Club, which was founded in 1937, traveled to various cities around the country, presiding at meetings and shows and promoting doll collecting, as well as helping to organize local doll clubs, called units, and she sponsored doll shows featuring dolls of all types and nationalities. Doll clubs, or units, followed in Baltimore, New Haven, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Tacoma, Oakland Bay, and Grand Rapids. Unit clubs across the country continued to grow.

ufdc logoThe Articles of Incorporation for an organization to be known as the United Federation of Doll Clubs, Inc. were developed and approved by a Justice of the Supreme Court of New York. The Certificate of Incorporation was issued and on June 29, 1949, the UFDC became a reality with Mary Lewis elected as the first President of UFDC, Inc. at the annual convention in Connecticut in September, 1950. Officers and Directors were also elected, an attorney and CPA were appointed, and new Charter rates and eligibility requirements were established. From a total of sixteen units, the National Doll and Toy Club as were deemed as Unit 1. The Miss Unity logo for UFDC, Inc. logo was adopted in 1955, inspired by a doll in a lithograph of a toy seller and her wares by Charles Philipon, dated 1830. The original design showed a stick horse in each hand, but the horses were removed upon adoption by UFDC.

The UFDC was moved around the country for thirty years as each succeeding president of the club was elected, all records kept by the president. Ralph W. Griffith and Elmer Bell, dealers and owners of a doll museum in Parkville, Missouri, offered space in their building for a corporate office. The New York State incorporation was no longer adequate for the Federation and the not-for-profit structure in the State of Missouri was favorable, so a decision was made to move to Missouri. The process for re-incorporation reflecting required changes to the National Bylaws and to the Standard Club Bylaws, began in 1979 and were completed on December 1, 1981. All records, slide programs, the library, and archival materials were relocated to the new corporate office in Parkville, Missouri, near Kansas City. UFDC was now recognized as a 501(c)3 charity by the Federal Government.

UFDC continued to grow with the addition of an International Region 16 in 1975. Region 2 was divided into Region 2-North and Region 2-South to accommodate the large number of clubs in these areas. The Board of Directors was now made up of the Executive Committee and seventeen Directors, one from each geographic region. In 1982, a Secretary/Office Manager, was hired – the first paid employee of UFDC. After incorporating in Missouri the Executive Committee of the non-profit corporation included the offices of President, 1st and 2nd Vice-Presidents, Treasurer, and Secretary. In 1983, UFDC assumed management of the annual National Convention. The Modern Competitive Exhibit was instituted and Highlight Tours were introduced.

The continued growth of UFDC necessitated a new building, and in 1991, the Central Office with a staff of Office Manager, Bookkeeper and Secretary/Receptionist, was relocated to Ambassador Drive in Kansas City, just five minutes from the airport. Research and Archival Library Services (ReAL Services) comprised of six departments: Ephemera, Archives, Audio-Visual Education, Classroom Education, Information, and Publications, was formed. The motto of Preserving Yesterday and Today for Tomorrow was adopted. In 1995 our internet domain name, UFDC.org, was obtained and the current web site was established. We opened our Research Center in library at Des Plaines, Illinois in 1997. The Administrative Staff increased to three full-time and two part-time employees.

Target 2000—Building for the Future was introduced at the National Convention in New Orleans in 1998 and a Building Fund was established, with a goal of finding a permanent home for UFDC to include space for research facilities, a library, museum, and administrative offices all at one location. Dynamic Doll Dialogues were a new feature at the National Convention. In 1999 UFDC celebrated their 50th anniversary at the National Convention in Washington, DC, with almost 2,000 registrations. The Research Center at the Des Plaines Library closed and the archives were returned to Kansas City. Fund-raising activities began in earnest with a variety of activities and special promotions.

The Bylaws were changed in 2000 to include a category for online clubs, an in 2001 UFDC purchased its first permanent home at 10900 North Pomona Avenue in Kansas City. The first scholarship was awarded at the National Convention. The Mary Lewis Legacy Society had its first members, who pledged to include UFDC in their wills. In April, 2002, the grand opening of UFDC Headquarters was held with nearly 500 people in attendance. Mary Lewis’ dream of a federation of clubs and a doll museum had been fulfilled.

New policies and procedures to provide improved oversight of UFDC operations and finances were adopted in 2009 bringing UFDC into compliance with stricter Federal regulations for not-for-profit organizations under IRS guidelines. In 2010, the UFDC.org website was redesigned and launched to include an online shop. In 2011, a Standing Fund-raising Committee was established to facilitate the financial success of our organization through fund-raising projects. A Standing Collections Committee was established in 2011 to oversee the museum and archival collections, and in 20112 a Standing Membership Committee to facilitate membership growth was established in 2012. In 2013, the UFDC Facebook page was launched. The UFDC Museum in Kansas City was renovated in 2015 and a Museum Curator, Lisa Shockley, was hired. In 2016, the Museum expanded hours to include Saturdays.

Presently, UFDC has two full-time employees, one part-time employee and one part-time consultant, with four officers and seventeen directors who volunteer their time to make the organization run smoothly. 2017 is seeing even more positive changes in our organization with upgrading our website and marketing. The membership continues to grow, and promises to keep Mary’s dream alive for centuries to come.

http://ufdc.org/


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