NEW YORK.- American folk art collector Dorothea Rabkin, 87, died, reported The New York Times. Dorothea Rabkin and her husband, Leo Rabkin, built a collection of American folk art. They started collecting just after their marriage in 1958. They searched secondhand shops and flea markets for their collection. The collection had more than 1,200 works, mostly carved from wood in the human form and present themselves as whirligigs, wind toys, dancing toys, mannequins, dolls, ventriloquists' dummies, carnival figures, and weathervanes.
The Rabkins described themselves as "just plain people." Dorothea was born in Berlin in the 1920’s, together with Rose, her twin sister. Franz Herz, a Jewish lawyer was their father and Elsa Herz, nee Herr , non-Jewish, was their mother. The parents divorced after Hitler rose to power and the children were separated for their safety. Dorothea and Rose immigrated to the United States after the end of the war and arrived to New York in December 1949.
The Rabkins were known for some of their offbeat choices. This is one story they used to relate: "A friend of ours found a small Voodoo coffin, which had been washed up on the shore at Coney Island. It was only about three inches high and contained two cloth figures stuck with pins. Since we had a reputation among our friends as liking this weird stuff, our friend gave it to us."