Dorothy Taylor

by

Roserita Ziegler (January 1980)

 

 


Collectors of new carnival glass since 1960 are coming out of the woodwork and holding their heads high in defense of their collections, thanks largely to the dedication of one woman - Dorothy Taylor.

Dorothy Taylor, an active real estate woman, volunteered to help an elderly client with a garage sale prior to the sale of her home. Little did Dorothy dream that such an act of kindness would change the course of her life.

The morning of the sale Dorothy purchased a large vase for $6.00 because she felt the woman needed money. As Dorothy puts it, "I needed a large vase like I needed a hole in the head." However, the first couple who arrived at the sale offered to purchase the vase for $40.00. They identified the vase as "Carnival." Rather than offend the homeowner, Dorothy kept the vase. A trip to the library the next day disclosed the fact that the vase was indeed "Carnival" as it was pictured in the Marion Hartung's book and labeled a Funeral Vase.

Dorothy was now "Hooked" and her life would never be the same. She and her husband, Bill, pursued the study and collecting of carnival glass with passion. Years of searching have resulted in a collection of old carnival glass that they were proud of.

It was only a matter of time before Dorothy and Bill met Davis and Viola Shikles, also avid collectors, from Independence, Missouri. Together, with seven other couples, they formed the Heart of America Carnival Glass Club. Mr. Shikles was the first president and Dorothy served as secretary and news editor. Membership grew and Dorothy continued to write the news bulletin for several years.

In the 1960's, to the utter dismay of carnival glass collectors, American glass companies began to reintroduce carnival in their regular lines, the Fenton Art Glass Company, Imperial Glass, Westmoreland and many of the smaller companies found ready acceptance by the general public for their fine iridized glass. Some of which bore company trademarks. However some of the new glass was not marked, and the inevitable happened. Some collectors unknowingly paid "OLD" prices for "NEW" glass.

The Taylor's by now had a considerable investment in old carnival glass so Dorothy began to learn all she could about the new glass in order not to be fooled. She even purchased some of the new carnival to compare it with the old.

It did not take long for Dorothy to become "Hooked" for a second time exposure to the new glass and its effect. Once the initial prejudice toward the new glass was overcome, its iridized beauty and appeal could be appreciated.

Hindsight is always better than foresight and Dorothy, as well as many others, wish that they had bought more of the new carnival glass at the regular retail price when it first appeared on the market. In a matter of a few years some pieces have become rare and demand a high price.

At a time when collectors of old carnival glass were very vocal about their dislike to the new glass, Dorothy Taylor took the bold step forward and began the publication of "Carnival Glass Encore," a news letter that would help collectors recognize the difference between the old and the new glass as well as keep them informed of the new issues. The response to the publication was favorable and Dorothy soon realized collectors would fall into two groups. Collectors of the new carnival glass only and collectors of the old carnival glass who secretly been buying and storing the glass in the basement and attics. Now for the first time they admitted to owing new carnival glass.

"Carnival Glass Encore" was published every other month and contained information about new carnival glass from the factories as it happened. It also pictured new factory lines, and included surveys on pieces and prices, letters from readers, wants, for sale, along with souvenir convention news.

In the short period of four years, "Carnival Glass Encore" boast a subscription list of over 500, which in reality was a membership of one thousand as most members were husband and wife teams. Copies were mailed all over the United States and Canada, and England.

By 1979 Dorothy had enough information on new carnival glass to publish a book. "Encore by Dorothy Taylor, Book 1" appeared on February 1st, 1979. As Dorothy so aptly puts it "Encore" means to perform again and certainly new carnival was ready for its rightful acclaim. The 130 page book contains factory numbers, names, and colors together with 109 excellent pictures making identification easy. There were 2 other books that followed in later years. It was Dorothy's intent to keep publishing books as information warrants it. Although digging for shards is fascinating, think of the work Dorothy is saving future generations of collectors of carnival glass.

Behind a successful woman such as Dorothy Taylor there would have to be a special kind of man. Bill Taylor is such a man. His motto in life was "You Can Do Anything In Life That You Set Your Mind To Do." With his encouragement and support Dorothy was able to inform and unite collectors of new carnival glass. Dorothy Taylor has single-handedly given the collecting of new carnival glass the dignity and respect it deserves.

"The Family That Collects Together Stays Together" can be borne out in the Taylor family. Married 32 years and parents of two children, Michael and Patty A Taylor Schroeder, the Taylor's enjoy their fascinating hobby. All were involved in the carnival glass Encore and Patty was responsible for the art work in Encore.

What had started out as a hobby blossomed into an avocation that has benefited untold collectors. Dorothy's efforts to educate collectors has certainly saved many the heartache of a costly mistake.

It was inevitable that collectors of new carnival glass would want to get together to buy, sell trade and learn. Dorothy and her family arranged the first Carnival Glass Encore Convention in April of 1977 were 200 collectors and dealers from all over the country attended.

The 1978 convention was held again in Kansas and was equally well attended Lucille Kennedy and Hank Opperman from Imperial Glass Company shared the speakers platform and provided those in attendance with news and information on Imperial Carnival Glass.

Due to the gas shortage in 1979 the convention was canceled at the last minute. Consequently, plans for the 1980 convention were for a bigger convention to make up for the lost time. To offset the cost of conventions, postage, advertising, and mailings, Dorothy decided to introduce a series of Encore miniatures carnival souvenirs in order to keep her "Hobby" going.

There was another first in 1980! A "Wine & Roses" water-set with miniature goblets instead of tumblers. The souvenirs were only available through subscription to "Encore."

Tom Mosser of the Mosser Glass Company was responsible for the high quality of the Encore Souvenir miniature sets. The number of any one set never exceeded 500. The proceeds from the sale of these unique sets keeps "Encore" rolling.

"Encore" soon after expanded its columns to include Slag Glass. Whenever carnival glass or slag glass is mentioned the response is either "I love it" or "I leave it"! However it appears as though those who appreciate the rich vibrant iridescence of carnival glass are also intrigued with the rainbow colors and contrasts of the slag glass.

Dorothy describes herself as an ordinary woman, But I feel that the word "Extraordinary" more aptly describes the woman who has given new carnival glass its rightful place as a new collectible.


Dorothy Taylor passed away on February 13th, 1999. Dorothy was very knowledgeable in the contemporary carnival glass and published the "Encore" newsletter for more than 18 years, along with some very informative books. Her kindness, help and inspiration will be remembered by all who were fortunate enough to know her.


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