Margaret D. McGraw, 76, collected dolls for 20 years

March 11, 1998|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Margaret D. McGraw, a noted and respected doll collector whose 400 to 500 dolls of every shape and size resided in nearly every room of her Towson home, died Saturday of a stroke at St. Joseph Medical Center.

Mrs. McGraw, 76, collected dolls for nearly two decades and often exhibited her wares at shows and auctions across the state, where she bought, sold and learned the history of dolls.

"I guess Mom just liked babies," said daughter Patricia Linzey of Baltimore, referring to her mother's dolls. "She tried to interest us dolls but couldn't. So when we left, she really started doing it."

Mrs. McGraw was a member of several doll clubs, including the Lady Baltimore Doll Club and Dollology of Washington, and once belonged to the Betsy Patterson Doll Club.

In her home, she owned dolls that were only slightly larger than a finger, life-size ones, paper dolls and valuable antiques.

"She liked all periods of dolls, not just one particular type of doll," said Laura Turner, a doll collector who met Mrs. McGraw about PTC 18 years ago as both attended doll shows. "Dolls were our common bond."

In doll collecting circles, Mrs. McGraw was considered an authority on Madame Alexander and American primitive dolls. In addition to dolls, Mrs. McGraw collected doll furniture and had an impressive teddy bear collection.

A native of Baltimore, the former Margaret Daiger graduated from the old St. Agnes High School in 1940 and received a two-year degree from the old St. Agnes College in 1942.

She married Edmund J. McGraw in 1943. Mr. McGraw died in 1985.

Mrs. McGraw was active in volunteer activities. Recently, she volunteered at Greater Baltimore Medical Center and was active in the Elderhostel program.

She was also a golfer, playing several times a week, and belonged to the Country Club of Maryland.

But doll collecting was one of her main avenues of enjoyment.

"She enjoyed refurbishing and researching dolls," Ms. Turner said. "She enjoyed sharing information about dolls. She enjoyed the education and history of dolls. She liked meeting people through dolls."

Services were held yesterday.

In addition to Ms. Linzey, she is survived by five sons, Brian

McGraw of Baltimore, Robert McGraw of the Hague, William McGraw of Bel Air, Kevin McGraw of Annapolis and Mark McGraw of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; four other daughters, Margaret Scott, Kelly Richardson, Sheila McGraw and Sally McGraw, all of Baltimore; a brother, John Daiger of Middletown; a sister, Roberta Rogers of St. Michaels; and 17 grandchildren.

Donations may be made to Friends of the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Oncology Center, 600 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore 21287.

Pub Date: 3/11/98

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