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The History of ODACA

History originally published in the 25 year Anniverary booklet for ODACA Day 2001, written and produced by Dodi Becker; complied from a variety of sources. A special thanks is given to Joan M. Ross and Maralyn Christoffersen.

In August 1976 Bess Fantl, and five other doll artists, met at the Fantl home in San Diego, CA to establish the Original Doll Artists Council of America. The idea behind ODACA was to promote original doll artists and to encourage all doll artists everywhere in their doll making efforts. Most importantly, ODACA would provide an arena in which everyone could share their knowledge and expertise in doll making and original doll collecting. Much has been accomplished since that early time.

For Bess, ODACA had been one of her most rewarding experiences. She was especially proud of being associated with so many fine artists whose hard work and spirit of sharing has made the organization what it is: because ODACA is its members. Despite distance, all the artists have worked together, united by a common bond - a love of dolls and a love of creating original dolls. Today they continue to share their dolls, and their knowledge with collectors, so that many others will find the joy and fulfillment that they have found in their art forms.

"It is with deep and sincere emotion and pride", said Bess in 1983, "that I thank all who have worked by my side to make ODACA as great as it is today. Bless you all."

Each year the original doll artists are featured in a day long celebration that is known as ODACA Day. This special day is held annually on the first Sunday of the annual United Federation of Doll Clubs (UFDC) national convention at the same location as the convention. ODACA wishes to thank the United Federation of Doll Clubs for the strong support that has been given to ODACA.

The contemporary doll artist is vital to the collectors of the future. Without the artist what would there be for the collector to collect - or for the historian to study? The story of ODACA and its artists will endure - they will survive and be the "finds" at auctions and dolls shows - proudly displayed in the homes of the present and the treasures of the future.

ODACA Membership
1973 - 2023

ODACA History Timeline
1973 - 2023

Souvenir Dolls
1973 to Present

Joan Ross Sweetheart Award Recipients

Fantl, Bess - Lady3.jpg

Bess Fantl - ODACA Founder

Bess was both a doll collector and a creator of original dolls, and made a very special contribution to the doll world. Always striving to have today's doll designers recognized by the public and collectors, Bess founded the Original Doll Artists Council of America along with five charter members in 1976.

Her dolls have porcelain heads, hands and feet. Bodies have wire armature where needed, otherwise only the hands were wired. The cloth bodies are stuffed with polyester fiberfil and the dolls have either sculpted hair or wigs. All her dolls are made in short editions, limited to 25 to 50 dolls in an edition, which makes them more collectible. They range in size from 10 to 21 inches.

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