Fendelman, Helaine (Woll) 1942-
FENDELMAN, Helaine (Woll) 1942-
PERSONAL: Born January 25, 1942, in Chicago, IL; daughter of Albert Abraham and Pearl (Loeb) Woll; married Burton M. Fendelman (an attorney), July 4, 1965; children: Barton Douglas, Jonathan Woll. Education: Attended Evansville College, summers, 1960-61, and University of Illinois, 1960-62; Washington University (St. Louis, MO), B.A., 1964; C. W. Post College (Brookville, NY), M.A., 1967; also studied at Long Island University, 1967-70, Boston University, 1978, and Winterthur Museum, 1980.
ADDRESSES: Home—1248 Post Rd., Scarsdale, NY 10583-2153.
CAREER: Antiques dealer, 1968—. High school English teacher in Ladue, MO, 1964-65; junior high school English teacher in Great Neck, NY, 1965-68; Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, NY, proofreader, 1968; M. Schorsch, Inc., Greenwich, CT, assistant to the president, 1976-77; Clarion, advertising director, 1977-80; Rye Historical Society, Rye, NY, curator, 1978-81; Lower Hudson Conference, director, 1981-82; Fendelman & Schwartz Fine Arts (antiques and appraisal firm), Scarsdale, NY, partner, 1982-94; Helaine Fendelman & Associates (antiques and appraisal firm), Scarsdale, owner, 1994—; television cohost, Treasures in Your Attic, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Guest curator of Museum of American Folk Art, 1975, and organizer and chairperson of its Friends Committee, beginning 1976; organizer of "Tramp Art Traveling Exhibition," 1976-77; Channel 13 Educational TV, New York, NY, chair of committee on American folk art and country furniture, 1978-80; adjutant professor, New York University, 1990. Alumni council executive board member, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, 1968-75; cochair, Fresh Air Fund, 1970-75. Consultant to TimeLife Books, Smithsonian Institution, New York State Council on the Arts, Westchester County (New York) Historical Society, and the Scott-Fanton Museum, Danbury, CT.
MEMBER: Appraisers Association of America (former president), American Society of Appraisers, Women in Communication, Friends of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Scarsdale Historical Society (member of board of advisers, 1975—), Westchester Association of Women Business Owners.
Tramp Art: An Itinerant's Folk Art, photographs by Jonathan Taylor, Dutton (New York, NY), 1975, reprinted as Tramp Art: A Folk Art Phenomenon, Stewart, Tabori & Chang (New York, NY), 1999.
Silent Companions: Dummy Board Figures of the Seventeenth through Nineteenth Centuries: Exhibition at the Rye Historical Society, One Purchase Street, Rye, New York, January 25-May 31, 1981, The Society (Rye, NY), 1981.
Money in Your Attic: How to Turn Your Furniture, Antiques, Silver, and Collectibles into Cash, Monarch Press (New York, NY), 1985.
The Official Identification and Price Guide to American Folk Art, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1988.
(With Jeri Schwartz) The Official Price Guide to Holiday Collectibles, House of Collectibles (New York, NY), 1991.
(With Joe L. Rosson) Treasures in Your Attic: An Entertaining, Informative, Down-to-Earth Guide to a Wide Range of Collectibles and Antiques from the Hosts of the Popular Television Show Seen on PBS Stations, HarperResources (New York, NY), 2001.
(With Joe L. Rosson) Price It Yourself!: The Definitive, Down-to-Earth Guide to Appraising Antiques and Collectibles in Your Home, at Auctions, Estate Sales, Shops, and Yard Sales, illustrated by Annie Parrott, HarperResources (New York, NY), 2003.
(Editor, with Victor Wiener) All about Appraising: The Definitive Appraisal Handbook, Appraisal Institute of America (New York, NY), 2003.
(With Susan Kleckner) Collecting American Folk Art: Instant Expert, House of Collectibles (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to Americana and Fine Woodworking.
Contributing editor, Country Living magazine.
SIDELIGHTS: Helaine Fendelman is a professional antiques dealer who has also cohosted the PBS television program Treasures in Your Attic. Since the 1960s, when she first began learning about and collecting antiques with her husband, she has become an expert in the field and author of several books offering advice on how to buy and sell antiques knowledgeably. With the recent fervor—thanks, in part, to television programs such as Antiques Road Show—among members of the public who hope they can find profit in old items found in their closets and attics, Fendelman's guides try to bring readers back down to earth about what they can realistically expect. Reviewers of such books as Treasures in Your Attic: An Entertaining, Informative, Down-to-Earth Guide to a Wide Range of Collectibles and Antiques from the Hosts of the Popular Television Show Seen on PBS Stations have consequently praised Fendelman for, as Booklist contributor Barbara Jacobs put it, bringing "common sense" back to the subject by advising readers to educate themselves about antiques before they do anything else. Jacobs similarly noted in a Booklist review of Price It Yourself!: The Definitive, Down-to-Earth Guide to Appraising Antiques and Collectibles in Your Home, at Auctions, Estate Sales, Shops, and Yard Sales that the author offers a "realistic and practical guide to self-appraising antiques" that proves to be "a librarian's dream."
Of her first book, Tramp Art: An Itinerant's Folk Art, Fendelman told CA: "Basically, Tramp Art is chip, notch, or edge carved pieces of cigar box wood layered one piece on top of another to form boxes, frames and even full-sized pieces of furniture. This work was done by skilled itinerant crafts people, brick layers, stone masons, carpenters, forming a part of American cultural history spanning the seventy years around the turn of the twentieth century, 1860-1930. Until recently, the phenomena of Tramp Art had been overlooked. Sometimes the carving of cigar boxes into utilitarian and whimsical objects was a leisure time activity. Sometimes the finished objects were used as a means of barter for food or lodging."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2001, Barbara Jacobs, review of Treasures in Your Attic: An Entertaining, Informative, Down-to-Earth Guide to a Wide Range of Collectibles and Antiques from the Hosts of the Popular Television Show Seen on PBS Stations, p. 1657; April 1, 2003, Barbara Jacobs, review of Price It Yourself!: The Definitive, Down-to-Earth Guide to Appraising Antiques and Collectibles in Your Home, at Auctions, Estate Sales, Shops, and Yard Sales, p. 1365.
Country Living, February, 2000, Matthew Holm, review of Tramp Art: A Folk Art Phenomenon, p. 27.
Library Journal, September 15, 1999, Susan M. Olcott, review of Tramp Art, p. 76.
Magazine Antiques, October, 1992, Elizabeth V. Warren, "Living with Antiques: The Collection of Helaine and Burton Fendelman," p. 530.
New York Times, February 8, 1981, Rita Reif, "The Whimsical Dummy Board," p. D34; September 28, 1996, Monte Williams, "In a Tag Sale, No Room for Sentiment; Selling Family Heirlooms with the Help of a Pro," p. L25.
Publishers Weekly, April 16, 2001, "Poolside Panache and More," p. 59.*