Kendall Young Library – Webster City, Iowa

webstercitymuseum_1.jpg    Kendall Young Library – Webster City, Iowa

In this building in Webster City, Iowa, visitors can see the Foster doll collection which contains over 170 dolls dating between 1800 and 1900. Also on exhibit is the Van Ness Native American collection of artifacts.

Abastenia St. Leger Eberle Sculpture Collection – Abastenia Eberle was born in Webster City in 1878 but only lived in Webster City for four years. As an adult she studied sculpture at the Art Students League in New York City. The sculpture ‘Puetro Rican Mother and Child’ c. 1901, displayed at Kendall Young Library, was Abastenia’s earliest attempt to model life that she saw around her. Immigrants and street children were models for most of the 21 sculptures on display at the library.

The Foster Doll Collection – This collection of 170 dolls was donated to the library in 1944 by Arch Foster and his son James after the death of Mr. Foster’s wife Evelyn. Mrs. Foster had collected the dolls during the last 15 years of her life. The collection includes many types of dolls including Frozen Charlottes, dolls from the Kate Greenaway series, Waxed head dolls, Papier-mache dolls and Parian dolls. The oldest doll is a waxed head doll from 1800.

The Van Ness Native American Collection – Mr. Van Ness lived in Hamilton County from 1882-1895. When his wife died he moved to El Reno, Oklahoma and began to collect Native American artifacts. In 1898 Mr. Van Ness offered "curios of Indian work" to Kendall Young Library and asked that the library "provide for their preservation." Forty-two items collected by Mr. Van Ness are on display in the Juvenile Department of the library. An Arapaho dance bustle ca. 1875 is the oldest item in the collection.

Jane Young Stained Glass Window – The windows were presented to St. Paul’s Universalist Church by Mrs. Jane Young in 1898. Charles R. and Joan M. Stauduhar donated the Jane Young Widow to Kendall Young Library in 1992 when the church was scheduled for demolition. The original window was located at the front of the church facing Bank Street and measured 6′ by 14’6". In 1998 a stained glass firm was hired to remove the arch and divide the window into two sections so they could be installed in the library addition. Two lower horizontal panels were moved to the top of each window to complete the redesign.

Address: 1201 Willson Ave, Webster City, IA 50595

Group tours are welcome.

Admission – None

Hours – 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday – Thursday; 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Friday; 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday

Credit Cards – None

Phone – (515) 832-9100


  1. Christine Umthun says:

    I grew up across the street from the library and spent many hours in it. My love of literature and reading was spawned there, as well as my wonderment at the dolls in the porcelain collection. Thank you for the update.

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