Friday, September 15, 2017

BéBé Bain Discovers Other Bathing Babies

2017 UFDC Convention Souvenir Journal, Une Journée de la Poupée is a beautiful 238-page, hard cover book with gilded pages.

In September 2016, I received an email from the editor of this year’s UFDC Convention Souvenir Journal inquiring if I would write an article for one of the chapters.  Kathy Monier, wrote:

I recently visited your blog site and I am very impressed with your knowledge and passion about black dolls. Your comprehensive and interesting blog site has prompted me to ask you if you would like to join my team of authors.
Next year's Orlando convention is titled Une Journee de la Poupee (A Day in the Life of a Doll), based on two books by French Illustrator Adrien Marie, Une Journe d'Enfant and L'Education de la Poupee. Both books follow a child with her doll throughout her day, from morning to night.
The chapter I have in mind for you is "Le Bain", the bath. In this chapter there are several pages of text and photos devoted to bathing-type dolls and their bath accessories, tentatively titled "Bathing Babies". I am not sure what the scope of black baby (bath) dolls there were back in the day...or today...but I am certain it would be most exciting to see and learn about in the pages of our journal.

With a January 15, 2017, submission deadline, I accepted the offer and immediately conducted the necessary research using my own doll reference library and additional books purchased to determine if a sufficient amount of black bathing dolls had been manufactured throughout the years to write about.  It was my determination that unfortunately a limited amount of black bathing dolls exist, past or present.  The article, therefore, incorporates both black and white bathing dolls.

Stock photo of BéBé Bain (Bath) Graceful courtesy of Corolle Dolls

Using Mattel/Corolle's BéBé Bain Graceful, readers follow the doll on her journey of learning about other bathing dolls made from the 1920s to present.  BéBé Bain Graceful increased her bathing doll knowledge exponentially and so did I.


Page 1 of "BéBé Bain Discovers Other Bathing Babies," courtesy of Vicky Hoff Forbes

Fellow doll enthusiast, Vicky Hoff Forbes, is one of two conventioneers with whom I confided about the article.  Since I would not receive my journal until long after the convention ended I asked Vicky and doll artist, Goldie Wilson, to look for the article in the journal. While at the convention, Vicky shared with me the above photo-preview of page one of the article. Goldie Wilson confirmed the article's inclusion in the journal and commented on how pleased she was with the journal's overall appearance.

Pages 66 and 67 of "BéBé Bain Discovers Other Bathing Babies"

Because of space limitations, scaling back article content and the multitude of associated images was required.  I am pleased that much of what was written was included in the full-color, 8-page article.  

Many thanks go to the following people:

  • Kathy Monier for asking me to write the article
  • Photo contributors
  • Judith Izen, author, who helped with identification of black bathing doll by Ideal Toy Corp.
  • Customer Service at American Girl and Corolle/Mattel
  • Liza Marques Grando of Moss-Tucker Group for arranging my ownership of Bébé Bain Graceful

Souvenir journals from past UFDC Conventions are available in the UFDC online shop under the books link.  At the time of this writing, the 2017 journal is not listed for sale under that link, but if interested,  you may call UFDC to secure your copy for $29.95 + $5 shipping to any US address.  Their main number is: 816-891-7040.  


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2 comments:

  1. Growing up in the 1950's this little white girl had a black rubber baby doll. My sister and I each had one. She was a drink and wet doll. I remember that feature because my mother wouldn't let us do it because she said it would make a mess. We must not have gotten these dolls for Christmas because my mother had photos taken every Christmas and these dolls do not appear in any of those pictures. So, we must have gotten them another time of the year and there are no photos. I feel like I'd recognize her if I ever saw her and every once in a while I'll do a search on eBay. I'm thinking she'd be about 12 inches long, but since I was little back then I might be off. Sadly, my mother never kept things and I'm sure as we got older these dolls ended up in a landfill along with other dolls and toys. I can picture her in my mind and I'm sure if I ever come across one I'd know it. I wonder if she might have been in your article?

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    1. Hi Betty,

      I wonder if your rubber baby was Amosandra as seen here. Amosandra was released to the market in 1949 by the Sun Rubber Company to represent the new baby of Amos and his wife Ruby (of the Amos 'N Andy radio show). Your doll might have also been American Character's Tiny Tears (the black version was named Baby Tears). Baby Tears was available with rooted and molded hair and was on the market for one year only, 1956.

      The dolls mentioned above are in the article but several others were omitted unfortunately during the editing process.

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