Monday, August 27, 2012

Antique Black Baby Articulated Paper Dolls

Black Baby Articulated Paper Doll Littauer and Bauer (Germany) circa 1885, [is a] 9in/22.86cm die cut paper doll with limbs... secured by brass brads.  Dolls were printed smiling with or without teeth and originally sold in envelopes with crepe and tissue paper in assorted colors for the costuming.  (Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting and Experiencing the Passion, page 334, Photograph courtesy of my dear, late friend, Ruth Manning.)

This is another version of Littauer and Bauer's Black Baby Articulated Paper Doll.

After the publication of my book, Black Dolls..., I found my own antique Black baby articulated paper doll by Littauer and Bauer.  This one wears pink painted-on shoes and has an open smile that exposes its teeth.  Someone, cleverly dressed the doll in permanently attached fabric clothing.  The dress, separate velvet jacket, crepe and paper trimmings are possibly as old as the 1885 paper doll.   I attached the doll to card stock paper, enclosed it in a sheet protector that is stored in a three-ring binder with other loose/cut antique/vintage paper dolls.  A note was added to the sheet of card stock regarding the doll's known provenance.  Click the photo to enlarge to read the description. 

According to 20th Century Paper Dolls Identification and Values by Mary Young (Collector Books, 2006), these paper dolls were actually manufactured by Dennison Manufacturing Company, printed in Germany by Littauer and Bauer.  After World War I, Dennison's paper dolls were printed in the United States.  Young's book documents a set of four different Black babies with different facial expressions.  Each one has painted-on shoes of different colors.  They are referred to by Young as African babies.

Recently I was led to a completed eBay auction for a set of four Dennison/Littauer and Bauer Black (African) baby articulated paper dolls about which Young writes and values at $35 each in her book.  Although I did not win the auction and neither did the person who led me to it, I was fascinated to see together what I believe is the complete set, but sorry the doll-friend who wanted them missed winning the auction.  I would have also loved being the lucky high bidder who won the auction for $46. 

The doll historian in me reared her head with a desire to document the existence of this wonderful set of antique Black paper dolls.  With head reared, on July 20, 2012, I emailed the seller asking permission to include the auction image in a future blog post.  This is that post.
 
Four different 9-inch/22.86cm articulated Black or African babies by Dennison Manufacturing Co., printed in Germany by Littauer and Bauer, circa 1885, believed to be the complete set.  Dolls' facial expressions and shoe colors differ.   This auction did not include the dolls' original brass brads for attaching their articulated body parts.  - Photo courtesy of eBay seller, olebuttonz.
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12 comments:

  1. What a treat. I love the look of these dolls. They remind me of real family members on my mom's side.

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    1. Hi Vanessa,

      Yes, they each seem to have their own personality. I actually fell in love for the first time with mine when I photographed her for this post (even though she has been there for over 2-1/2 years). I had not noticed what a pleasing "personality" and "disposition" she emotes until I opened up her page in my three-ring binder. There she was, just smiling away at me.

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  2. What a fabulous set. $46 seems cheap for 5 paper dolls of that age and rarity. Goes to show that there are bargains to be had on ebay. One question - are these dolls printed on regular weight paper, or heavy weight, or card stock?
    Zendelle / VintageDollCollector.com

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    1. Hi Zendelle,

      $46 WAS a bargain for this set and trust me, had I seen them, I would have swooped them up for myself... trust me!

      They are printed on card stock.

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  3. Hello from Spain: I like to see this baby and articulated paper. I had paper dolls but were never articulated, is precious. We keep in touch.

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    1. I am so glad you enjoyed seeing these babies, Marta. Articulated paper dolls are quite unique.

      Thanks for commenting.

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  4. Oh what a wonderful find. She is so lovely. I love her dress and the ribbons on it. I adore articulated paper dolls and have quite a collection of them on my blog, Artist in LA LA Land. http://melissakojima.blogspot.com/search?q=articulated+paper+doll Some of them are vintage. Others are vintage inspired. All of them are wonderful!

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    1. She was a wonderful find, Melissa.

      Thank you for sharing the URL to your blog to include the articulated paper doll search. I viewed all 8 (I think) pages and saw some gems. I didn't realize there were templates online for making your own. I'll have to download one or two and try my hand at making an articulated paper doll.

      Thanks again for commenting and sharing.

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  5. I have never seen a doll like this! When I was a kid paper dolls were these perforated sheets and each item, except for the doll, had these tabs that would just fold behind the doll. This vintage doll is kind of amazing.

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    1. Hey Muff!

      Paper dolls have come along way since the traditional ones I played with as a child that required cutting out and taking care not to cut off the clothing tabs.

      The magnetic ones are the best. No cutting or clothing tabs required.

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  6. Thanks for the informative post, especially the photos. It is nice to see that there were some positive representations of black people in that era.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Limbe Dolls.

      These are nice examples of nonstereotypical representations of 19th century black babies.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!