First Lady Dolls – Vernal, Utah - Atlas Obscura

First Lady Dolls

Uintah County Western Heritage Museum

An oddly specific collection of handmade dolls remembers the women of the White House. 


Taking up three glass display cases in Uintah County Western Heritage Museum are resplendent dolls carved to look like almost every American First Lady. 

The doll collection was established in 1976 by a local group of women to celebrate the country’s bicentennial. The group hired Salt Lake City sculptor Phyllis Juhlin Park to create porcelain likenesses of each of the First Ladies from Betsy Ross all the way up to Nancy Reagan (unfortunately Park retired before the latter ladies could be completed). The carved heads were then placed on sewn bodies that were filled with sawdust. The clothing each of the dolls wears is even patterned on an outfit the actual First Lady wore. Collecting dolls has never been this patriotic or this amazingly specific.   

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