Who was Margaret Pope?

Portrait of a woman in a bonnet and shawl.
NHA image P707 is a Louis Davidson photo portrait of Margaret Pope

Margaret Pope (1901–1985) was the colorful proprietor of The Enchanted Doll House at 6 Walnut Lane.  Born and raised in Swampscott, Massachusetts, and never married, she was a business college graduate employed by the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston. It was in 1954, when she was past fifty years old, that she visited Nantucket for the first time and immediately decided on a career change. A lifelong doll collector, she purchased the house on Walnut Lane and opened a year-round business selling dolls to Nantucket residents and visitors alike.  Her house and garden were welcoming and often full of local children, boys as well as girls.

Five years after she settled on the island, Nantucket held a 300th birthday celebration. Many Nantucket women and men dressed in old-time costumes throughout the summer of 1959, and Margaret Pope found her style for the rest of her life.  She was one of the greeters for visitors to the island that summer, dressed in elegant nineteenth-century long skirt, jacket, lace, and bonnet and carrying a parasol. When the summer ended, she continued to appear in public in costume. She was the darling of photographers, and she appeared on a popular Nantucket postcard.

An astute businesswoman, she employed Nantucket women to design and sew Nantucket dolls, doll kits, and aprons for her store. She was also frank in her opinions and her tastes, and she enjoyed her role as an idiosyncratic Nantucket character.

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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