Friday, February 7, 2014

Dolls with Books Entry 3

Dolls with Books exhibit, 3rd and 4th shelves, left side of display case:  Top, L-R:  Beloved Belindy, Mammy and Prissy (Gone with the Wind characters); Bottom, L-R:  Willie Pearl and Mae Ella (please excuse the poor quality photo).
This post features the above shown and named dolls which are part of my Dolls with Books exhibit.   Beloved Belindy's book preceded the cloth dolls that date back to the 1920s.  The doll in the exhibit is a reproduction of the original.  Mammy and Prissy dolls were inspired by the book that was later made into a film in the 1930s.  The dolls are from the 1980s.  Willie Pearl and Mae Ella's creation was inspired by the book written about the real African American women.

Below is a closer look at each doll with their featured books and the text from their object labels.  I also share some commentary on Mae Ella (the doll on the lower shelf, far right).   Finally, there is a link to other books written by Michelle Y. Green, the author of Willie Pearl, Under the Mountain.


Beloved Belindy, a reproduction of the original 1920s doll, based on the Beloved Belindy character in the 1920s Beloved Belindy  book.  The Beloved Belindy book contains several short stories about the goings on in the make-believe Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy doll nursery. [In this 1920s American storybook, Beloved Belindy serves as mammy of doll characters Raggedy Ann and Andy. ]


Mammy and Prissy are portrait dolls of actresses, Hattie McDaniel and Butterfly McQueen, made in the 1980s after the likenesses of these two women, who played the roles of Mammy and Prissy in the movie, Gone With the Wind (GWTW).  The movie is based on the book, GWTW, written by Margaret Mitchell in 1936. Mammy and Prissy are both slaves during the book’s American Civil War setting. 


Willie Pearl and Mae Ella are best friends, made after the characters in the series of books written by Michelle Y. Green.  The books are based on stories told by Green’s mother, the real Willie Pearl.  Willie Pearl, Under the Mountain, 1992, is set in the Eastern Kentucky coal-mining fields in the 1930s Depression era.  Willie Pearl’s adventures assure that… though the road of life gets a little scary at times, if you “keep putting one foot in front of the other,” you’ll get through. [Willie Pearl and Mae Ella are best friends.]

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Poor Mae Ella:  While in the process of setting up the exhibit last week, I noticed that an unsightly discoloration had developed on Mae Ella's nose and chin!  After showing this to my husband, who was there with me to help set up the exhibit, he asked, "Where's your makeup?"  I replied, "I don't carry makeup with me."  But he planted the seed that would result in Mae Ella's temporary fix that occurred this week after I made a special trip back to the library to give her a mini makeover.  Below is how she looked when released from the confines of the rolling luggage bag:


In spite of the stains,  I included Mae Ella in the exhibit with plans to return and mask these areas.


I returned to the library this week and used a combination of eye concealer and powder makeup to "conceal" Mae Ella's stains.   As long as no one touches her (and they can't while she is inside the display case), she's almost as good as new, as shown below.


Mae Ella now has temporarily masked facial staining.  At the conclusion of the exhibit, I will try to permanently remove the staining with Oxy-10 or other benzoyl peroxide acne preparation.

Click here to read more about Michelle Y. Green, who says she "writes about ordinary people," including her mother, the real Willie Pearl. 


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7 comments:

  1. This is such a great post during Black History Month. As a collector I'm excited to see how you've captured a great piece of African American History via the Dolls. The Willie Pearl and Mae Ella depiction reminds me of the stories told to me and my siblings of my Mom's experience growing up in Mississippi. Thank you for keeping Black History alive and exciting with the use of your Dolls! And you did a Fabulous Job with Mae Ella's touch up.

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    1. Thanks, Sandy. It is wonderful that your mother shared her stories about growing up in Mississippi. We all need to gather the oral histories from the women (and men) who came before us so we can pass these down to the next generation.

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  2. I learned something new about the dolls Willie Pearl and Mae Ella. The makeup was a good idea. Thanks.

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    1. You are welcome MDW.

      The makeup or concealer repair turned out a lot better than even I expected. The powder I used to seal the concealer it was a little too dark for Mae Ella, but that was the lightest color I had on hand. She should be okay for a few more weeks when I attempt to remove the staining permanently.

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  3. Mae Ella looked like she was dabbling in some chocolate sauce. I watched Gone With the Wind several years ago, so I am familiar with both those dolls. As for the movie, I have to say, I just didn't get it.

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  4. Excellent suggestion by your husband. I've tried that on old cosmetology heads and yep, as long as you don't touch it, it's a good fix.

    Vanessa, I literally grabbed my chest and gasped at you not caring for Gone With The Wind. Granted its probably been 35 years since I saw it, but as a preteen I thought it was sweeping and majestic. I just loved it and thought Vivian Leigh was outstanding. You kind of make me want to watch it again to see if it lives up to the hype through adult eyes.

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    1. Muff, please watch it again and let me know what you think. I couldn't even make it through the whole movie.

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