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Lincoln, Nebraska, resident Eloise Andrews Kruger began collecting 1:12 scale miniatures in the late 1930s. Over the course of fifty years, her dedication to acquiring historically accurate pieces led to the development of one of the most impressive miniature collections in the country. Ms. Kruger’s collection of miniature furniture, decorative arts and accessories, and architectural elements represents nearly all the major English and American design styles from the Renaissance through the Early Modern period. The collection includes the work of top miniature artists including Eric Pearson, Eugene Kupjack, Bob Carlisle, Warren Dick, Mell Prescott, and Betty Valentine.
The Kruger Collection was established at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Architecture in 1997 through a gift from the Eloise Kruger Charitable Trust. This collection of nearly 20,000 objects forms the core of the Kruger Collection. A permanent gallery was opened in Architecture Hall in 1998 for the display and interpretation of the collection. In addition to her collection of miniatures, Ms. Kruger compiled a research library of over 800 books, a significant portion of which are now available through the University of Nebraska library system. Along with the miniature collection, the Trust donated Eloise Kruger’s archival materials.
As a meticulous record keeper, Eloise Kruger captured her method as a miniature collector. The papers in her collection document the purchase of the miniatures in the Kruger Collection through correspondence with miniature makers, receipts and trips to conventions. The collection also includes Ms. Kruger’s ideas for decorating roomboxes, clipping from authors who influenced her collecting and articles that she had written as an active member of several clubs. Represented in the collection is correspondence with many of the important miniature artisans of the twentieth-century. The correspondence ranges from one single document to several folders worth of correspondence that range in topics from orders to life events to personal opinions. Eloise Kruger often made copies of the correspondence she wrote, so in some instances, there is a typed copy of her letter, accompanied by the response of the miniature maker.