top of page

Our History

Ever since its beginning in 1958, around the kitchen table of esteemed founder the late Ethel Sissle, The Doll League has been an active civic and service organization. Mrs. Sissle believed that even a small group of dedicated women working together in a club devoted to service could positively impact the lives of children in New York City and the metropolitan area. 

For years, The Doll League “adopted” the orphans of Graham House in New York City, awarding scholarships, sponsoring field trips and serving as role models for the girls.


Our name was inspired by one of our earliest activities, distributing dolls at Christmas to children in orphanages, and our annual Children’s Christmas Party, featuring toys, Santa, food and fun, remains a cherished activity.


From the installation of the club’s first elected officers by Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. to our ensuing decades of service, millions in scholarships to young women and financial grants to community organizations, The Doll League has continued to grow.

We now operate two scholarship funds that honor the memories of late Doll League members. In 1962 we established The Living Doll Award to honor individuals who are outstanding in their fields of endeavor. 


In addition to the New York Metropolitan Chapter, our tax-exempt, non-profit group has a chapter in Detroit, Michigan, and in 2021 Congressman Kweisi Mfume installed the founding members of our Baltimore-Washington Chapter.


The generous support of small businesses, corporations and 

individual donors makes it possible 

for The Doll League to continue its support for young women pursuing higher education and for community organizations whose work helps to make life better for our youngsters.


Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. installs founding members of The Doll League in 1958

Founder Ethel Sissle is a lasting inspiration

for the work done by members of The

Doll League

Donating a kidney machine for the pediatrics

ward at Harlem Hospital was an early Doll League project

bottom of page