The Doctor is In
Meet Annie Breault, one of the few certified doll doctors in the region, who also offers an the most extraordinary collection of doll-related collectibles on the coast.
- story by Martha Whitney Butler, photos by Ellis Anderson
Her work speaks for itself. Rather than stuffing your early 1800s straw doll with poly-cotton blend, Annie patiently searches for the historically accurate materials. While this might require some patience on the customer's end, they all agree that this love and care is what keeps them coming back. Sometimes Annie even orders and buys materials from countries like England and France since they have a deep, rich history of doll-making and collecting.
From her stories, it sounds like Annie had a beautiful childhood. She can identify and tap into the childhood memories of her customers and bring them to the surface with one of her many vintage toys.
She's a good listener, too! After all, it's hard not to share the fond memories you had with your Raggedy Ann doll or your Dr. Seuss books while you're standing in her booth at Magnolia Antiques. She's got a few up her sleeves.
Annie has traveled overseas to find some of the most interesting objects. Nothing misses her eye when she shops, making her selection of items vast and varied. One of her favorite trips was to Germany where she got to dig up the remains (for lack of a better term) of miniature porcelain Frozen Charlottes from an abandoned doll factory. These tiny little ladies sometimes make their way into her lively art dolls and jewelry pieces.
She's repaired dolls that have been through fires, floods, and the toughest elements - grandchildren. She's even had a customer send her a haunted doll! Now THAT is pretty creepy.
There are so many touching stories that she has shared with me. She once told me about a doll that a little girl carried throughout the holocaust that bore a secret message inside of it. Sometimes I think she repairs much more than just the dolls-she heals the customers too.
When I start to miss my Glo-Worm, or when I go home and assess my 401k retirement plan of Madame Alexander dolls and Beanie Babies, I just call Annie up and chat with her. Once in a while she'll give me an awesome broken doll face or cracked composite doll head for me to use in my bizarre artwork.
She's constantly making people's days and is just a great person to know and talk to. So if you're ever in need of some doll medicine, or just want to revisit your childhood, go see the doll-faced doctor (with the best bedside manner in town) at Magnolia Antiques, 200 Main Street, Bay St. Louis on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.