Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Moments in Black Doll History - Beatrice Wright Dolls

Dolls by Beatrice Wright

(First published in Vol. 1, Issue 2, Spring 2002 of Black Doll-E-Zine, revised for this blog)

According to Black Dolls 1820-1991, an Identification and Value Guide, by Myla Perkins (Collector Books, 1993), The B. Wright Toy Company, Inc., circa late 1960s-?, was “the first 'Negro' toy company to manufacture dolls and stuffed toys.” Beatrice Wright was an African American female entrepreneur and educator who realized the need for natural-looking dolls for children of color. Her dolls were known as the “Ethnic People Dolls.”

The company manufactured several different Black dolls and dolls representing other ethnicities, too.  The most highly sought after Black B. Wright dolls are Christine and Christopher.

The dolls are 19 inches tall and constructed of Lyka skin, a type of rigid vinyl advertised as "the closest thing to nature's cover."  They have brown sleep eyes and black rooted hair.  Boys usually have straight hair with a side part. Essentially, the same mold was used for the dolls that are reported to have been named after Ms. Wright's family members.  The dolls are either marked B. Wright or Beatrice Wright/©1967 and can be found on the secondary market.

It is uncertain when the B. Wright Company closed its doors, but some of its molds were sold to Totsy. Manufacture of the dolls continued under Totsy throughout the late 1980s and possibly into the early 1990s.

B. Wright Doll Sightings on the Internet:
1st Sighting

2nd Sighting

3rd Sighting

(They do all look alike.)
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4 comments:

  1. I have a Christine doll that looks like the 2nd sighting!She came with her original box(in -fair condition)!
    Bonnie

    ReplyDelete
  2. The reason they all look alike is that they were all cast from the same mold,which was made by my grandmother using my sister Patricia as a model.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Valarie - thanks for your comment. Casting dolls from the same mold, restyling the hair, and changing the fashions continues to be a common practice among doll makers.

      Any additional information about your grandmother's dolls will be greatly appreciated.

      dbg

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  3. The reason all the dolls look alike is because my grandmother,Beatrice Wright, used the same mold for all of them. The mold was made by my grandmother using my sister Patricia as a model.

    ReplyDelete

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