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Sidney and Frances Gulick
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Sidney and Frances Gulick

Frances Gulick at her home busy making clothes for the dolls.

Source of Photo: The Yomiuri America


Sidney L. Gulick, 3d, is the grandson of Dr. Sidney L. Gulick, who was the initiator and coordinator of the program to send over 12,000 American dolls to Japan in 1927.  Sidney Gulick, 3d, and his wife, Frances, have continued his grandfather's vision of friendship by sending American dolls to children at Japanese schools.

In 1986, Mr. Gulick and his wife Frances attended the opening ceremony of the Yokohama Doll Museum. While in Japan they visited an elementary school in Kyoto, which has one of the Friendship Dolls sent in 1927, and they presented the school with a new pair of dolls, a boy and a girl.

Says Mr. Gulick, "By the expressions of excitement and love on the faces of the children as they received and held the new dolls, we knew immediately that we should begin a new doll mission."

Since 1986 the couple has sent approximately ten dolls each year to schools in Japan. Frances Gulick, who like her husband is a professor of mathematics at the University of Maryland, makes traveling clothes, a nightgown, and a handbag for each doll. Her husband prepares the passport and a letter of introduction. Together they make sure the dolls arrive in time for the Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival).

Many of the dolls sent by the Gulicks go to elementary schools and kindergartens that preserved the dolls received in 1927 with love and care for such a long time. Many schools prominently feature the dolls sent by the Gulicks on their Internet home pages.

"Now, a time when again there in tension between Japan and the US, we feel it is all the more important to promote international understanding," says Mr. Gulick.

The following pages tell about some of the dolls given by the Gulicks to schools throughout Japan:

The Gulicks' daughter Sharon shares her parents' enthusiasm for the message of goodwill represented by the Friendship Dolls.

Note: Some information on this page is from the article "The Friendship Dolls," originally published in the July 1995 issue of Look Japan.

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