Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Honey-Chile and Mandy; Our Gang, Too

Honey-Chile and Mandy paper dolls by Whitman

Until acquiring them recently, Honey-Chile and Mandy paper dolls had been on my paper doll wish list for years.

The dolls and their descriptions are included in my book, Black Dolls a Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion (2008).  The book-documented dolls were photographed and described for me by their owner, Bonnie Lewis. It was Bonnie's dolls that enticed the black-paper doll enthusiast in me to desire the pair. 

Because of the black-doll she holds, this is my favorite of Honey-Chile's four outfits. Mandy came with three extras.

Bonnie shared, and I documented in Black Dolls, this pair's 1930s origin.  After receiving my dolls and their outfits, I wanted to pinpoint the exact year they were made.

Results of an Internet search for additional information on the dolls leads me to believe Mandy and Honey-Chile were possibly included in the paper doll book, The Paper Doll Family, by Queen Holden (Whitman, 1937).  A copy of  Holden's paper doll book sold for $200 in a June 2010 specialty auction of fine and rare paper dolls.  The book is described as follows: 

17" x 12" Featuring a blue sedan on the front cover with die-cut windows that allow the faces of the paper dolls on the inside to show through as though seated in the car. The auto has the license plate of "Yourtown". The paper doll family ranges from 3" baby to 9 1/2" father and also includes mother, boy and girl, along with black servant in uniform named "Mandy" and black child "Honey-Chile". The back cover has toys including Hurdy-Gurdy, along with dog "Mickey". Inside are four pages of costumes, accessories and toys. Whitman, drawn by Queen Holden, 1937.

In the absence of the book, I am content with Honey-Chile and Mandy and their extra fashions.

Queen Holden's paper dolls are said to have been popular playthings in the U.S. in the 1930s through 1950s.  Holden also drew an Our Gang paper doll book of characters and outfits based on the film shorts and TV seriesFarina and Stymie are included.  Their cut versions are also featured in Black Dolls courtesy again of Bonnie Lewis.  Farina, Stymie, several clothes for both boys, along with Petey (the dog) were eventually added to my paper doll collection.  They documented their arrival on Thursday, May 14, 2009, which was recorded and published in my third book, The Doll Blogs:  When Dolls Speak I Listen.

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6 comments:

  1. Congrats on adding these to your collection. Just curious, are all of Mandy's outfits working type outfits?

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  2. Pretty much -- two of Mandy's dresses are different colors with aprons. She's holding a pan of bisquits in one with a bisquit in her hand that she is about to sample. The third outfit, which arrived some two to three weeks after the paper dolls, found by the seller after he mailed the paper dolls to me, is an overcoat, shorter than the dress she wears with it.

    It was very nice of the seller to send the overcoat. I wouldn't have known any better had he chosen to discard it.

    Paper dolls, like dolls, are the artists' and manufacturers' interpretation of the people they portray, captured in a particular time and space. AA servants and domestic women existed; they are part of our history; they paved the way for the rest of us, which is one reason I do not mind including these images in my dual three-dimensional and one-dimensional doll collections.

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    1. ... three-dimensional and [two]-dimensional doll collections.

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  3. As you might imagine, your paper doll posts are my favorites. :) The art of Queen Holden is remarkable. Do you feel though that collecting the cut dolls without the rest of the set loses some of their important historical context? I only collect complete sets of paper dolls, but that puts a lot of older things way out of my price range, so I have been considering this issue lately.

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    1. Hi RLC,

      Thanks for stopping by. I will have to share some of my other vintage paper doll finds more often.

      Queen Holden's artwork is incredible!

      I prefer complete and uncut modern black paper dolls. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find complete antique and vintage black paper dolls. So few were made and of those that were, not many complete sets survived child's play.

      I find delight in the cut and often incomplete versions because I know it was probably little hands that cut them out and the same little hands delighted in paper doll play, probably as much as I did as a child.

      Of course I welcome complete, uncut versions, but as you've indicated, (when and if found) they can be rather expensive.

      I enclose my cut and/or incomplete sets in sheet protectors and store those in loose leaf binders. Along with the paper dolls, I include their documentation (name, artist, year made, etc.) in the same sheet protector. Adding the documentation preserves their history.


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  4. I had (and sold) part of this set recently - I was not able to identify it at the time, so am glad to finally put a name and artist to these wonderful dolls. If you want to see my photos of the rest of the family just email me at zendelle (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!