Hazelle Harriet Hedges Rollins was born on January 12, 1910. She was the daughter of Ralph and Jessie M. Hazell  Hedges. She graduated from Kansas City Junior College in 1929. Below are listed some of the many recognitions and accomplishments she enjoyed throughout her lifetime.


  • University of Kansas, BA in Art 1932.
  • Kansas City Art  Institute, 1933.
  • In 1933,  she joined the staff as a switchboard operator at the Nelson – Atkins Museum of Art. She also taught
  • Saturday marionette classes there.
  • In 1935, she took a trip to New York where she attended the New York Toy Fair and a summer workshop with TonySarg Marionettes in Greenwich Village.
  • In 1935, in the basement of her father's house she began a factory for toy marionettes which eventually was named Hazelle, Incorporated.
  • In 1941, she married J. Woddson  Rollins who would become her partner in Hazelle, Inc.
  • She had two children, Nancy Rollins Krupa in 1942, and John Rollins, Jr. in 1944.
  • She created over 300 original puppet character designs.
  • She was granted a trademark and three U.S. patents over her lifetime, for the marionette mouth mechanism, airplane control, and ankle/shoe movement
  • Hazelle Rollins owned Hazelle Inc. from 1935 to 1975. For most of that time Hazelle Inc. was the largest exclusive manufacturer of toy puppets in the world. She sold the company in 1975.
  • She was a prolific ethnic and folk puppet collector. Some of the collection was donated to the Smithsonian, Kansas University and University of California Los Angeles.
  • Hazelle marionettes were selected to be exhibited permanently in the Moscow Puppet Museum.
  • Hazelle Rollins died in 1984 of cancer.

Hazelle Rollins's Civic Work

  • 1957- appointed by Mayor H Roe Bartle to the Women's Commission for International Relations and Trade.
  • 1960- As chairman of the Women's Chamber of Commerce's Naturalization committee, she was instrumental in establishing the Madelyn Brock Foundation which gives financial aid to persons who are in the process of becoming naturalized citizens.
  • 1970- Awarded Pen Woman of Distinction, the National League of American Pen Women.
  • 1971- Citation of Merit for her work as an artist and designer, National League of American Pen Women.
  • 1972- Appointed the first chairwoman of the KC District Advisory Council of the Small Business Administration.
  • 1975 – Citation from KU Alumni Association, Department of Design.

Social Honors

  • 1963 – Outstanding Kansas city Alumna Award of Alpha Omicron Pi.
  • 1968 – Kansas city Business Woman of the Year, Theta Sigma Phi.
  • 1969 – Selected one of the three Most Outstanding Business Women in the State of Missouri by Phi Chi Theta.   


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