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A Friend from the Fifties

Jimmy Davis adopted Skinny Hamilton at the 2017 convention. Of all the dummies in his entire collection, Skinny was our founder's favorite. W.S. Berger bought Skinny from figure maker Frank Marshall on April 21, 1932, for $50.00. Skinny has a fright wig and cries. When Mr. Berger performed at local Masons' meetings or for civic groups, it was Skinny on his knee.

Mr. Berger loved Skinny. In his will (and in several other documents), Mr. Berger said, "Do not dispose of this figure as Skinny is a part of me." In 1945, prior to incorporating Vent Haven, Mr. Berger's original plan with Skinny was to will him to the Masonic Widows and Orphans Home in Louisville, Kentucky, "...with a fund for his upkeep (facial and fresh clothes), so Skinny could be used by an orphan at any time." Isn't that sweet?!

Two pieces of trivia about Skinny:

1. Skinny originally had black hair, but Mr. Berger didn't care for the color, so he had the red wig made.

2. For at least eight years, Mr. Berger called this dummy "Skinny Doyle". The story of why he changed the name to "Hamilton" has not yet been discovered in the archives.

Now a little bit about Jimmy Davis. Jimmy was a teen when he started corresponding with Mr. Berger. Their letters begin in 1958, when Mr. Berger was 80 and Jimmy was just 15. The letters continue until 1968. Jimmy was able to come visit Mr. Berger in 1960. Check out this great photo of Jimmy and W.S. in the Josephine Berger Memorial Building.

Thank you so much, Jimmy, for adopting Skinny. I'm sure Mr. Berger would be glad that you did.

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