Thursday, March 22, 2018

CoCo - Creations by Ba'ucham

CoCo by Ra'chel Ba'ucham of Creations by Ba'ucham

In early January 2018, Facebook friend of a few years, Ra'chel Ba'ucham, began posting photos of her newly created crocheted dolls.  I initially inquired about the first one I saw, Ariana. Ra'chel informed me that Ariana and the other dolls she was making would be on exhibit during February after which time she would begin selling. This was perfect timing for me as I was in the midst of a doll-buying hiatus during the entire month of January.

These are the first photos Ra'chel shared of CoCo on Facebook.

Ra'chel posted photos of several additional completed crocheted dolls.  After seeing CoCo's photos, I decided I had to have her!  Ra'chel contacted me at the conclusion of the exhibit, which is when CoCo was purchased.

This 20-inch crocheted doll has a dark brown complexion, dark blonde crocheted hair with two side ponytails adorned at the top with yellow barrettes.

Her ponytails have multiple honey blonde double-strand twists, as illustrated above and in the next photo.

CoCo's double-strand twisted ponytails extend to the back of her knees.

She wears a crocheted yellow dress trimmed in black with a black jacket, white crocheted undies, and black and yellow crocheted shoes that have yellow ribbon appliqués on top.  Her yellow beaded bracelet is accented by a yellow ribbon flower.

CoCo has nicely shaped legs.
CoCo has dark brown eyes and applied eyelashes.  She has separately crocheted ears to which I added heart-shaped goldtone earrings.

A cloth label identifies Coco as a handmade doll by Ra'Chel Ba'ucham.

The cloth label attached to her bottom reads:

Handmade by:
Ra'chel Ba'ucham
Copyright 2018.

Coco also has a signed certificate of authenticity, which is illustrated next:

CoCo's certificate of authenticity verifies that she is a one of a kind.

Ra'chel recently began making crocheted dolls and miraculously does not use patterns to do so. CoCo is her first dark-skinned crocheted doll.  I have seen similar dolls by other artists but none appealed to me as much as Ra'chel's CoCo.  I am delighted by her presence here.

Prior to CoCo's availability for sale, someone else expressed their intense interest/fascination in a comment to the doll's Facebook photos:


Ra'chel answered: GM. I am the Designer and Crafter of all items displayed. The Gift is from the Master Crafter, "GOD", i am just the vessel that he flow through. These dolls are going to be in a show in late Feb. After the show, they will be up for sale. Will notify everyone soon. Thanks for stopping by.

When my perfectionistic husband first noticed CoCo, he said, "That takes talent!  That takes skill... you have to do that with a needle."  He was quite impressed by Ra'Chel's artistic ability and even more so after I shared that CoCo is a free-hand-made doll.

Learn more about the artist, Ra'chel Ba'ucham in a separate artist's profile published on my Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black blog here.


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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Dr. Lisa Live, New Fresh Dolls and Fresh Squad Preorder

Fresh Dolls new editions, Aria, Aleyna, and Victoria.  Dressed in new fashions, the original six Fresh Dolls (Gabrielle, Jacqueline, Indigo, Tamra, Lynette, and Mia) will be part of the second wave as well.

Dr. Lisa, the creator of Fresh Dolls, was on Facebook Live the evening of  Friday, March 16, 2018.  She discussed the new wave of Fresh Dolls that will be released in August of this year. These include the 12-inch, articulated dolls shown above, Aria, Aleyna, and Victoria, who are new to the line.  The original six girls mentioned in the above caption will be part of the second wave.  What most collectors are excited about is the new Fresh Squad of three articulated male dolls with rooted hair shown in artist renderings below. All dolls can be ordered at the link provided below Dr. Lisa's live video.

Artist renderings of the Fresh Squad of 12-1/2-inch, articulated dolls:  Daniel, Anthony, and Malik
As Dr. Lisa states in the video, the Fresh Squad will only be available through the Fresh Dolls website and through Fresh Dolls Brand Ambassadors (authorized sellers).  The Fresh Squad will be released in a limited edition of only 3000 (1000 each) for only 30 days.

For 30 days only you can preorder the new Fresh Dolls and Fresh Squad here. For orders over $25, shipping is free.

For information on becoming a Fresh Dolls Brand Ambassador, send an email to or send a private message to their Facebook page.

UPDATE:  After another FB live session on Sunday, March 18, 2018, Fresh Dolls shared images of the Fresh Squad/Fresh Fellas' (final name to be determined) finalized 3D-printed face sculpt.  See it here.  Also shared was an image of the articulated body to be used for the squad/fellas, which has articulated ankles.  See it here.  The squad/fellas will share the same head sculpt and body; they will have different complexions and hairstyles.

For future updates, follow The Fresh Dolls on Instagram.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Third Tuesday

Tuesday is a 16-inch wax doll with brown cloth body by Gladys MacDowell shown in an auction-photo screen snapshot.

I was on eBay searching for something else when I stumbled upon a thumbnail photo of the above doll.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw yet another Tuesday by the late Gladys MacDowell, who was a National Institute of American Doll Artists (NIADA) member.

MacDowell began making the 16-to-17-inch wax girl dolls that she named Tuesday during the 1950s.  The story about how I discovered these dolls, believing initially there was only one, is included in my post about the first Tuesday made by MacDowell.  A link to that post is included at the end of this post.

According to MacDowell's son, he believes his mother made about 10 Tuesdays in total.  I now own three of those 10 and know of at least three more owned by others.  See them here, here (in red dress), and here (most probably redressed).

In February of this year, Tuesday #3 was in a buy it now or make offer auction.  I made approximately three separate offers which were countered by the seller.  With my final offer, I included a message to the seller.  In response, the seller asked me if I was "Debbie Garrett."  After reading the signature in her reply, I then knew who she was.  We settled on a price that worked well for both of us and now Tuesday is here with her siblings.

Tuesday's golden brown human hair is styled in six braids with yellow ribbons tied into bows at the ends. She has brown stationary eyes that glance to her left.

Tuesday posed for individual and group photos as shown immediately above and below.

Tuesday's head, arms, and legs are made of wax.  She also has a wax shoulder plate.  Her body is firmly-stuffed brown cloth.  Unlike my two other Tuesdays, Tuesday #3 is unsigned, but there is no mistaking her for an original Gladys MacDowell.  (Some Tuesdays were given paper labels, like my #2 Tuesday; it is possible that Third Tuesday's label fell off her shoulder plate.)

The palms of Tuesdays hands and the soles of her feet are painted a lighter color.

Tuesday #3 poses with her sisters.  Tuesday #1, on the left, arrived in 2014.  The second Tuesday, on the right, arrived in 2016.  Do you see a pattern here?  The dolls have arrived two years apart.

Full view photo of the girls shows that Tuesday #3 and #2 are slightly shorter than Tuesday #1. Number 3 is the shortest.   Fabric used for the dresses for Tuesday #3 and #2 is an identical tropical fruit print.  Tuesday #3 wears a yellow underdress that has bell sleeves that hang beneath the dress sleeves.  I am uncertain if the underdress is original to the doll.  She also wears a yellow undergarment as do #1 and #3.  Each girl has six sectioned-off plaits with yellow fabric (#'s 1 and 2) stitched or ribbons tied at the ends.

As illustrated in the photos of the girls, Tuesday #3 has lighter colored hair with a few bangs.  The other two do not have bangs.  Because they were handmade, each doll's face was painted differently giving each a unique "personality."  Of the three, I think Tuesday #3 is the cutest, but I'll always treasure Tuesday #1, which as indicated, is actually the first Tuesday MacDowell made.

The girls pose with their brother, who arrived with Tuesday #1 in 2014.  I named him Cal.  According to MacDowell's son, he believes Cal was made by I. V. Roberts, another NIADA artist, and friend of MacDowell.

I am so happy to have stumbled upon Tuesday #3 in the eBay shop of Rachel Hoffman, who is central operations manager for Turn of the Century Antiques, a brick and mortar shop in Denver, Colorado, which also has a Ruby Lane shop.

Three is said to be a charm.  Even if other Tuesdays are located by happenstance, I will refrain from buying, at least that's the plan.

Read about my initial discovery of MacDowell's Tuesday dolls here.
My second Tuesday was written about here.

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Tears for Mina and other Leo Moss Dolls at Auction

In this 22-minute video, "Tears for Mina"-- Leo Moss Dolls at Auction, Florence Theriault, provides a preview of this upcoming auction of dolls made by the 19th century doll maker, a black man, who was a handyman by trade.  The auction includes 14 Leo Moss dolls from the collection of doll collector, historian, and author Myla Perkins.  Perkins is the noted author of the following two black-doll reference books:

  • Black Dolls an Identification and Value Guide 1820 to 1991 (Collector Books 1993)* 
  • Black Dolls an Identification and Value Guide Book II (Collector Books 1995)

The Moss dolls on auction are featured in Perkins' books.

Other exquisite antique dolls by different doll makers, furniture, and accessories are also included in the "Tears for Mina" auction.  These other items can be seen in Parts 1, 2, and 3 of "Tears for Mina" YouTube videos.

The live auction takes place on March 17-18, 2018:
Marquis Antique Doll Auction
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort
Near Naples, Florida.

See the catalog of Moss dolls and their opening or current bids here.
Prebidding can be done online now but Proxibid registration is required.  Register with Proxibid here.

*Read my review of Perkins' first book, which was the first post on this blog back in 2008, here.

For more insight into who Leo Moss was, read my four-part blog post, Through the Eyes of Leo Moss:  His Story His Dolls.


The realized prices for all dolls and doll furnishings in the "Tears for Mina" auction can be seen at the link.  There are 12 pages of results.  (Mina, the doll that introduced Leo Moss dolls to the doll community, sold for a whopping $30,000!) 

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Friday, March 9, 2018

Mrs. Which - Oprah Barbie from A Wrinkle in Time

Image of Oprah Winfrey in the role of Mrs. Which from the movie, A Wrinkle in Time, appears on the back of the box of Mrs. Which Barbie.

The movie, A Wrinkle in Time, starring Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Which, premieres today, March 9, 2018.  I have no plans to see the movie in the theater, but I wanted the doll because, well, it's a portrait doll of Oprah.

My Mrs. Which arrived a couple of weeks ago, purchased from  The doll is not an exact replica of Oprah -- her face could have been fuller -- but I am pleased with the doll's overall appearance.  When you look at the doll, you can see Oprah.  The multiple photos I took are shared below:

The portrait doll of Oprah Winfrey in her role as Mrs. Which in the Disney movie, A Wrinkle in Time is an 11-1/2-inch vinyl doll on a Curvy Barbie articulated body.   Included with the doll are a doll stand and certificate of authenticity.
Her dress has a silver lamé top with multiple silver cords wrapped around the bodice.
She wears a dark bronze skirt made of a raw silk-type fabric.
Mrs. Which wears gold shoes as shown in this photo courtesy of Romona Jennings.
Her blonde hair is styled in one long braid.
Full view of the back of the box

The synopsis of the movie on the back of the box reads as follows:

In Disney's A Wrinkle in Time, Meg Murry embarks on an epic adventure across the universe to find her missing father.  Traveling to worlds unknown as she fights against an evil force that threatens to cover the world in darkness, Meg has three celestial beings as her guides.  Known as Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Whatsit, these three women are powerful warriors made of stardust, each with a special role in Meg's journey.  Mrs. Which is the most ancient and wise, inspiring Meg to be a warrior herself.

On March 7, 2018, Oprah appeared on Good Morning America with the Mrs. Which doll to promote the movie.  She does that and gives some sage advice to a 14-year-old girl who raised $50,000 for girls who look like her to see the movie.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Barbie Celebrates More Role Models

New Barbies are on the horizon to celebrate high-achieving women.

In the following video, Nicola Adams shares her enthusiasm for the Barbie made in her likeness.

See them all here.  Will all be mass produced?  That is an unanswered question.  If more than one will be produced, will they be available in all markets?   The ones that are available can be ordered/preordered here.  



Tuesday, March 6, 2018

New Post at Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black: Lenon Holder Hoyte

A brief article on Aunt Len appeared in the
January 10, 1980, issue of Jet magazine (click
or stretch to enlarge).
Readers are invited to read a three-part post, published on my sister blog (Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black) about Educator, Philanthropist, Doll Museum Founder, and Curator, Lenon Holder Hoyte, a.k.a. Aunt Len.

Part one can be read here on my sister blog.  (Stretch or click to enlarge to read the January 10, 1980, Jet magazine article to the left first.)

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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Exclusive Offer to Readers of Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black

***Exclusive offer to the readers of Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black from Svetlana Lukina***

Read the offer in the comment here.

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Friday, March 2, 2018

July 2001 Emails from Sara Lee Creech's Great Niece

After searching through my Saralee doll archives, I found email communication that took place in July 2001 between Norwood Creech Watkins and myself.  Ms. Watkins is the great niece of Sara Lee Creech, the woman who created the Saralee doll, manufactured by Ideal Toy Corporation from 1951-1953.  I decided to post the text of the emails here for my easy access as well as to share with others who enjoy reading doll stories.

Email 1, received on July 21, 2001:
I am always keeping my eyes open for a doll Ideal made called the Sara
Lee Doll. My great aunt originated it, Sara Lee Creech in Florida. Do
you [know] of any available for sale?
My great aunt, Sara Lee Creech, of Lake Worth, Florida, still has the
original, plus all the letters and correspondence from creating this doll.
Such an interesting story of how she came to create it. I would greatly
appreciate you thinking of me should you see one become available.
Thank you,
Norwood Creech Watkins

My Reply  (probably sent the same day):
In 1994, after having been a collector of vintage-to-modern black dolls for
three years, I purchased  Collector's Guide to Ideal Dolls.  When I saw the
picture of the Saralee doll and read the story of how the doll was molded
after the likeness of a real black child, my mouth watered.  I knew I had to
own one, and my mad search for a Saralee "Negro" doll was on!

I was already a subscriber to two monthly-circulated collectors'
publications.  Each month I combed the new editions in search for a for-sale-
ad for a Saralee doll.  Finally, after searching for over two years, and after
having purchased several other black dolls in the interim, an ad for a
Saralee doll appeared in one of the fall issues of Collector's United.  I
ran to the telephone and hurriedly dialed the number listed in the ad.  I
held my breath while the telephone rang, waiting for an answer.  Nervously, I
stated/asked, "I'm calling about an ad in Collector's United.  Do you still
have the Saralee doll for sale?"  Again, I held my breath, anxiously awaiting
the seller's answer, hoping that her answer would be “yes.”

I still remember the seller's name -- Diane Carpino.  Ms. Carpino answered,
"Yes, I still have her.  She's wearing her original tagged dress, her
original socks and shoes, and a replica of her original bonnet."  I asked
about her overall condition, specifically, if there were any flaws.  Ms.
Carpino answered, "She has some minor head rubs, but other than that, she is
in very good condition."  I let her know that I wanted to purchase the
doll and asked her how much I should add for shipping/insurance.  I did not
hesitate to write the check for $180 plus shipping/insurance, which was
mailed to the seller's New Jersey address the very next morning.
Some 10 days later (Ms. Carpino allowed my check to clear before shipping), I
gazed upon what I felt was the most precious black doll with the most supple
vinyl head and limbs that I had ever seen.

Although my owning Saralee was delayed by some 40 years (I was born [four]
years after the doll hit the market), I was pleased to finally have her in my
possession.  Today she graces my bedroom with her precious beauty.

I would like for you to thank your great aunt for creating such a lovely


Scan from the book, Zora Neal Hurston's Final Decade by Virginia Lynn Moylan (University Press of Florida, 2011)

Email 2:  Norwood Creech Watkins replied on July 25, 2001:
Dearest Debbie,
I was so touched by your letter. I called Sara and read it to her over the phone.
It so happens that just last week she came home from the hospital after
having something equivalent to a very minor stroke. The love you expressed so
well for the doll touched her heart and of course could not be more timely.

She is surprised and inspired by the continuing interest in the doll. Recently a
teacher from Miami xeroxed all of Sara's notes, pictures and letters from the
doll's developmental days, including her correspondence with Mrs. Roosevelt, who
was a great benefactor in the doll's creation. This teacher is creating an
educational program inspired by the doll.

If you will give me your address, I will send you a copy of an essay by Gordon
Patterson from "Florida Pathfinders." It provides some insight to Sara's life and
history about the process of developing the Sara Lee doll. (The handwritten
corrections are Sara's.) I have also requested from her the teacher's name and
address, so perhaps I can get her information to you for an enhancement to your
collection, as well.

Sara is an incredible person with tremendous heart and intelligence. Such souls
are rare. Thank you for writing and allowing me the opportunity to bring her some
happiness this Monday morning.

Gratefully yours,

Norwood Creech Watkins
Should you wonder how we are related... Sara Lee Creech Smith is the sister of my paternal grandfather, William Briggs Creech.
[A link to an online Norwood family genealogy was provided, which is now broken.]

Essay from the book, Florida Pathfinders, "Sara Lee Creech:  Working for Racial Sensitivity" 

Ms. Watkins did send me a copy of the Florida Pathfinders essay written about her great aunt, Sara Lee Creech.  A scan of the first page is shown above.   As she indicated, there are notations/corrections written throughout by Ms. Creech.   

My communication with Ms. Watkins ended, probably with my reply to the above email thanking her in advance for offering to send the article and of course I am sure I acknowledged receipt after it arrived.  I would like to locate a copy of the teacher’s compilation of the notes Ms. Creech maintained throughout the doll’s creation.  Perhaps I will write the return address Ms. Watkins used to inquire or send another email to the AOL email address Ms. Watkins used to write me.

Responsible for the first mass-produced, anthropologically correct black doll, Ms. Sara Lee Creech passed away in September 2008. Read more about this remarkable trailblazer here

Read more about the Saralee doll, which was on the market in time for Christmas 1951 in my previous post.

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Ideal's Saralee Negro Doll 1951-1953 "An Ambassador of Goodwill"

Saralee Negro Doll (1951-1953) is an 18-inch (actual size) vinyl doll with cloth body, modeled after the likeness of African American children.  The above doll is shown with its original box (a rare find!).  Note the given name was "Saralee Negro Doll" and Saralee is one word.  Photo courtesy of Black Legacy Images.

Originally published in Vol. 1, Issue 1 of Black Doll-Ezine (BDE) in February 2002, the below article in its original form remains online at the BDE Angelfire website.  Because that site is infected with pop-ups that may be harmful if clicked, I no longer share links to BDE articles.  For secure-reading purposes, an updated version of the BDE article on Saralee is shared below.

A closer look at the box label reveals the slogan:  "More Than Just a Doll... An Ambassador of Good Will."  To the right is stamped the number 3273 (possibly the stock number) and the word, BLUE is above the number.  Saralee's white organdy dress and bonnet were trimmed with either yellow or blue.  (Photo courtesy of Pinterest.)

In 1951, when the Saralee Negro doll entered the market, this historical doll, created by Sara Lee Creech of Belle Glade, Florida, manufactured by Ideal Toy Corporation, would be the first play doll of its kind. It was designed specifically to be a "quality doll" with true-to-life black features, not just a white doll colored brown.  Not only does the Saralee doll possess a unique history of what sparked its creation, but its marketing campaign is also quite interesting.

According to the book, Florida Pathfinders, after witnessing two little black girls playing with white dolls outside a Florida post office as they waited for their mother, Sara Lee Creech was forced to wonder why these girls and others like them did not have quality dolls in their likeness. In chapter 3 of Virginia Lynn Moylan's book, Zora Neale Hurston's Final Decade (University Press of Florida, 2011), she provides more details about Saralee's creation, which was conveyed by Sara Lee Creech.

The idea for the doll sprang from an epiphany following a conversation [Creech] had with Louise Taylor, a black mother, who complained that the only quality dolls available for her daughters were white.  A few days later, Creech noticed two black girls playing with white dolls and was struck by the contrast.  Convinced that black children needed and deserved a doll that would reflect the physical beauty of their own race, she decided to look into the matter.

"In 1949, she launched a campaign to create what her friend, Zora Neale Hurston (writer, folklorist, and anthropologist) described as an 'anthropologically correct' doll." [Florida Pathfinders]  According to Moylan, Hurston suggested to Mrs. Creech to name the doll Saralee.

Scan from Moylan's book illustrates Sara Creech, Maxeda von Hess, Walter White (the then executive director of the NAACP), former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Ralph Bunche (politician/1950 Nobel Prize for Peace winner) as they examine models of the Saralee doll.  According to Moylan, the various models were created to determine the proper color for the doll.  Plans to produce siblings for Saralee were discussed; however, the Ideal doll company decided it would not be cost-effective to manufacture siblings.

Additional doll heads are examined by Mrs. Roosevelt and theatrical producer, John Golden, in a scan from Judith Izen's Collectors Guide to Ideal Dolls:  Identification and Value Guide (Collector Books, 1994).

Ms. Creech initially conducted a one-woman mission to create the Saralee doll. Later, with the help of several prominent community leaders on the local and national level (former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and political scientist Ralph Bunche, just to name a few), her mission was set in motion. Ms. Creech was also graciously assisted by Mrs. Roosevelt's speech coach, Maxeda von Hess, who was able to persuade Shelia Burlingame, a sculptor, to assist in the Saralee Negro doll-creation project.

Zora Neale Hurston was one of the biggest supporters of this doll project.  According to Moylan's book, "After seeing the photos [of the doll head castings], Hurston suggested a name for the doll, Saralee, after its creator, and advised Creech to show the models to 'well-known and influential Negroes' who could help the project along."  Hurston went on to introduced Creech to several of her "illustrious friends and acquaintances."  It was Hurston's friend and poet, Georgia Douglas Johnson, who dubbed the doll "a little ambassador of peace."  

The following quote (circa 1950/1951), included in Moylan's book, is from a letter of praise Hurston wrote to Creech after viewing photographs of castings created for the doll.
Please allow me to say how pleased I am that you let me see pictures of the Negro dolls that you plan to put on the market... The thing that pleased me most... was that you, a White girl, should have seen into our hearts so clearly, and sought to meet our longing for understanding of us as we really are, and not as some would have us.  That you have not insulted us by a grotesque caricature of Negro children, but conceived something of real Negro beauty.
—Zora Neale Hurston

As illustrated in the two previous photos and in one additional photo below, several different head molds were created.  The other head sculpts were created for two reasons:   1) to determine the doll's complexion and 2) to create siblings for Saralee.  A big brother, a big sister, and a little brother were planned. Chestnut brown was the color chosen for Saralee's complexion.  Unfortunately, only a little brother has been documented.  The fate of the other ethnically correct sculpted heads is uncertain.

Saralee's Little Brother is shown above in a photograph courtesy of Gregory Corbin.

In a side-by-side photo of Saralee (left) and her brother (right), the subtle differences in their head sculpts are apparent.  Little Brother's face is wider and his hairline forms a well-defined Widow's peak. Photo courtesy of Black Legacy Images.

In a promotional photograph from December 11, 1951, noted opera singer, Leontyne Price, poses with the Saralee Negro doll.  Photo Source:  The Internet.

Jet magazine ad for Saralee was published in the December 6, 1951, issue.

In addition to receiving promotional backing from prominent African Americans and other prestigious individuals who realized the doll's importance to the African American community and to the doll world at large, Saralee Negro Doll was advertised in major publications.  The above Jet magazine advertisement is an example of the doll's print promotion.  

Saralee was featured on pages 61 and 62 in the December 17, 1951, Life magazine article, "Doll for Negro Children."

Saralee's debut was published in a full spread in the December 17, 1951, issue ofLife magazine.  Images of some of the children, whose facial features were studied before the doll was sculpted, are included at the top of the article on page 61 with images of Saralee's profile and full face at the bottom of that page.

Closer look at some of the children whose facial features were studied prior to the creation of the Saralee Negro Doll

On page 62, the final page of the Life article, are images of Sara Lee Creech and sculptress Sheila Burlingame.  Head sculpts of the proposed family of Saralee dolls and a final photo of a little girl admiring the produced Saralee Negro doll conclude the article.  Scans of these are shown next.

The above captions read:  CREATOR, Miss Creech, sells insurance, works in interracial group.  SCULPTRESS Sheila Burlingame holds one of the finished head models.
This photo is captioned:  FULL FAMILY will include "Little Miss" (top), "Little Brother" (center left), "Little Sister" (bottom).  To date only the baby (center, right) is for sale.
The Life magazine caption reads:  IN USE:  baby doll delights 5-year-old Judy Lyons, who immediately began feeding it Pablum and cuddling it, then named it Diane after a white playmate.

Several toy catalogs also featured the Saralee doll.

Saralee was offered for sale for $5.99 in a 1952 Alden's catalog.

Saralee also appeared in the Sears 1952 Christmas Wishbook where the doll's name was incorrectly spelled as two words, Sara Lee.  Sears also elected to use the word "colored" instead of the doll's given name, Saralee Negro Doll.

In the early 1990s, my black-doll interest reverted from modern artist dolls to vintage dolls with a heavy focus on dolls made during the decade of my birth. Reading either Black Dolls, an Identification and Value Guide, book 1 or Collector's Guide to Ideal Dolls, book 1 led to my initial discovery of the Saralee Negro doll. Afterward, an immediate mission was launched to acquire the doll for my personal collection. Pre-Internet access, with reliance solely on monthly doll-for-sale periodicals, delayed locating the doll, but eventually, the mission was accomplished.  

My beloved Saralee entered my collection in the early 1990s.  She wears her original tagged white organdy dress with blue embroidered trim, and original socks and shoes.  Her bonnet is replaced.

Reproduction Saralee by Ashton-Drake

In 2002, the little doll with a proud history was reproduced by the Ashton-Drake Galleries of Niles, Illinois. The new, 17-inch Saralee was reproduced in porcelain from sculptor Sheila Burlingame's original mold.

"Just like the original doll, Saralee's adorable face was specially sculpted to look like a real African American baby with brown eyes, an open/closed mouth, and molded, painted black hair.  The reproduction Saralee is wearing a replica of her original, yellow-ribbon-trimmed white organdy dress with matching bonnet and panties.  Little white lace-up shoes and white socks accent her outfit."  The reproduction Saralee retailed for $99.99.  (Reproduction description, courtesy of Davis Enterprizes.)

Saralee Negro Doll, 1951 by Ideal is posed with Ashton-Drake's 2002 reproduced porcelain doll.

Collectors were excited about the reproduction doll and eagerly anticipated adding it to their collections.  Like the original 1951 Saralee, the porcelain reproduction is now only available on the secondary market.  The reproduction is worth having, but nothing is better than owning an original Saralee Negro Doll and her quite elusive little brother.

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