Rowan Doll Society celebrates 38 years

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 8, 2020

The Rowan Doll Society of NC celebrated the club’s 38 years during a luncheon at the Country Club of Salisbury.

The celebration honored Jean Peeler, the club’s last surviving charter member. Jean, her sister Margie Crowell and Linda Snipes started the club in 1980 and 13 people attended their first meeting.

Membership has now grown to nearly 30 members, including both men and women.

The local club is part of a larger doll collecting organization known as the United Federation of Doll Clubs (UFDC) which has nearly 10,000 members worldwide.

UFDC’s Region 8 director, Billye Harris of Whitsett, attended the anniversary luncheon.

Harris has been in the antique doll business since 1998 and is well recognized as an expert and trusted appraiser and has appeared on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow since 2011.

Billye Harris displays two original Maggie Bessie Moravian dolls during Rowan Doll Society luncheon.

Harris presented a program on “Maggie Bessie” dolls, sharing the story of two NC sisters who created cloth dolls beginning in the 1890s.

Margaret Gertrude Pfohl (Maggie), 1877-1965, and Caroline Elizabeth Pfohl (Bessie) 1870-1959, were Moravians who lived in Salem. The dolls, which appear to be simple in construction, are actually quite complex. Harris personally owns a collection of the very rare and hard to find Maggie Bessie dolls. She brought with her a variety of the dolls which she shared during a hands-on learning experience.

Robin Wyatt was chair/organizer for the Moravian-inspired event. The club’s executive chef Derek Yost prepared the special meal. Susan Morris and her daughter, Beth Morris Nance, served on the luncheon committee. Linda Behrendt served as photographer and offered the devotion. Barbara Lukasiwicz setup the raffle prizes.

Group photo of the Maggie Bessie Moravian dolls. Notice the photo of sisters Maggie and Bessie.

Linda Behrendt served as the event photographer and offered the devotion for the day. Barbara Lukasiwicz was responsible for setting up the day’s raffle prizes.

Wyatt was very pleased with the celebration,  “Another year, another anniversary and another great event celebrating one of the largest hobbies in the world – doll collecting! Rowan Doll Society of NC continues to go strong and grow after 38 years. We love to share our doll knowledge and are fortunate to have a museum  near us that allows us to work together to do programs, displays, luncheons, shows, workshops, and research.“

Club members are very involved with the NC Museum of Dolls, Toys & Miniatures which is located in Spencer. The club organizes a variety of rotating exhibits and volunteers with the museums events and programs.

Current president Kathy Gregg pins a corsage on charter member Jean Peeler.

Club members are very involved with the NC Museum of Dolls, Toys & Miniatures which is located in Spencer.

The Rowan Doll Society has another doll event planned for April 4, a doll collector adventure based on the American Girl doll named Kaya. RSVP and find more information at

Anyone interested in joining the Rowan Doll Society is welcome. The club meets on third Tuesdays. For more information contact club president Kathy Gregg at 704-900-4487 or

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