During the last week of September of this year, I was contacted by an antiques dealer, David, who wanted to share photos of a portion of a collection of black dolls his shop had recently acquired. The dolls had been part of an eclectic collection of thousands, representing a variety of ethnicities, formerly owned by a doll lover who had the means to purchase most any doll she desired. Wouldn't we all, (we as in doll lovers), love to be able to buy all the dolls we wanted and have the room to properly display our three-dimensional inanimate objects of obsession? I know I would.
Most of the black dolls in the photos I viewed were made of cloth with many falling into the Black Americana category. I do not actively collect cloth dolls or Black Americana relics, but there were a couple that I did find fascinating.
The large Heubach Koppelsdorf #399 bisque doll with original grass skirt and necklace was one of the dolls that caught my eye initially. I have a smaller version, so I decided to pass on this one. However, had the space been available, he would be here! In the second photo above, the pair of cloth male dolls with interesting embroidered facial features were almost a must have for me. I probably will regret not adding them to my collection, but I decided to pass. Below are two additional photos of this pair that I found quite intriguing.
|19-inch cloth twins, circa late 1800s-early 1900s, wear wool suits with faces (and possibly bodies) of black silk|
After salivating over the photos, reality set in forcing me to choose only three dolls made of mediums and in sizes that I enjoy collecting.
Tuesday by Gladys MacDowell
One of the three chosen dolls is a duplicate of one already owned, but hey... I waited a long time before finding the first Tuesday, which happens to be the #1 doll in a series of approximately 10 by Gladys MacDowell, so I wasn't going to pass up her twin. As I noted in my post about my original Tuesday, the dolls were made of wax with cloth bodies during the 1950s. Each one was handmade with hand painted facial features. They stand approximately 15-/12 inches. First and second Tuesdays are shown below.
Tuesday #1, shown on the left, wears an ID bracelet that spells her name. Tuesday #2 has a whistle necklace. Her eyes and eyebrows are more heavily painted than Tuesday #1's. The second doll, although younger than the first, seems more mature, more "protective" of her older sister. While their dresses have the same color theme, the print differs.
|Joey by F. C. Baker, circa 1980s|
The second doll I purchased, based on the seller's photos, which are shown above and below this paragraph, is a 5-inch polymer clay boy named Joey by F. C. Baker. His height includes the top of his permanently attached hat. Just look at his adorable face!
|Joey's handmade doll stand has a leather-covered base with his name, the artist's name, and original circa 1980s selling price handwritten on an attached adhesive label.|
I was not familiar with a doll artist named F. C. Baker. Searching the Internet for additional dolls by this artist did not generate results. After Tuesday and Joey arrived (and some other non-doll things purchased from David, which will be shared in a a separate post), David recontacted me asking if "Portrait doll of Amanda by Faye C. Baker" interested me. It was not until then that I knew Joey's artist's first name was Faye, and yes, Amanda did, in fact interest me.
|Portrait doll of Amanda by Faye Corcoran Baker is signed and dated on her lower back 1/23/83.|
Another Internet search did not result in any information about Joey and Amanda's artist using her full name, Faye Corcoran Baker. Online photos may be absent for a number of reasons: she no longer makes dolls or stopped making them several years prior to the Internet's popularity, or she quite possibly is no longer living.
As shown above, Amanda is taller than Joey. She measures 7-1/2 inches tall. Like, Joey, she is also made of polymer clay and both dolls have a wired armature in their arms. She also has painted features with hand-applied synthetic hair styled in two side braids. One of her tiny blue hair ribbons is missing. Her feet are bare. Both dolls are one of a kind.
As indicated on her lower back, she is a portrait of someone named Amanda.
If you collect antique black cloth dolls or if you found any of the dolls in David's group photos interesting, you may contact him for additional information through his website.
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