Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's All Myla's Fault

Black Dolls 1820-1991: An Identification and Value Guide Black Dolls 1820-1991: An Identification and Value Guide by Myla Perkins

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Read shortly after I began collecting dolls in 1991, this book opened up the world of black-doll collecting for me and was my collector's bible for at least a decade. Before reading it, I had been in the black-and-white doll collecting world of "Kansas" until the black-doll identification, value, and history contained within this title placed me in the colorful world of vintage black dolls. I had no idea that so many delightful black dolls had been marketed during my 1950s-1960s, black-doll-less childhood. I immediately conducted a one-woman, uninterrupted mission to add as many as possible of the dolls this book identifies to my collection. Thanks to Ms. Perkins' book and its followup, Black Dolls an Identification and Value Guide Book II, that mission has been accomplished ... almost. There's always that one additional doll that needs to join the others.

View all my reviews.

Debbie Garrett

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Black Dolls PowerPoint Presentation

I was invited to the October meeting of the Blue Bonnet Doll Club of Dallas to conduct a black-doll presentation. The meeting was held at the Fretz Park Library in Dallas, Texas. For the discussion I wrote a PowerPoint presentation that was viewed using the facilty's LCD projector. I brought along the "cover girls" (the dolls on the front and back covers of my book, Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion.) A few other additional dolls from the various nine chapters in my book also accompanied me to the presentation.

I requested that members of the Blue Bonnet Doll Club of Texas bring black dolls to the meeting. Many of the members complied. After my discussion, which focused on my book, I discussed the members' dolls.

Many of their dolls were quite interesting. They included a 14-inch Madame Alexander Cynthia, made for one year only, 1951. I informed or iterated to the members that Madame Alexander made three versions of Cynthia, the 14-inch size, the 18-inch doll, and the 22-inch doll. The 22-inch doll has been described by some as standing or 23 inches, and the 14-inch doll is often described as being 15 inches. I usually refer to the doll as being 14 inches because that is the tape measure-height of my doll.

An interesting sand-filled Mason jar, bottle doll with a stitched mammy face and an 1870s doll carved of wood by Joel Ellis were brought to the meeing by Laurie McGill, the former Region 3 UFDC Director.

Other members' dolls included:
  • An approximately 26-inch composition mama doll that has an interesting acquisition story
  • Reproduction Aunt Jemima and family, stuffed-vinyl set of 4 dolls
  • 1950's stuffed-vinyl, high-heel fashion doll
  • Daddy's Long Legs Mardi Gras doll
  • SFJB and Unis France dolls
  • Girl Scout doll by Avon
  • Daisy Scout nesting doll that is part of a 5-doll Matrioshka doll set
  • Gladys by Sylvia Natterer
  • Caleb by Sasha Morgenthaler dressed in a hand-knitted pumpkin-colored Halloween sweater and khaki-colored pants

One member brought her trio of bisque babies made in Occupied Japan. These are dolls from her childhood. She shared that she carried these dolls almost everywhere she went as a child and people often gave her odd stares. She said she didn't care because her ownership and public display of black dolls was no different than a black child playing white dolls. She said it was just something about those dolls that she loved and still loves.

A modern reproduction of an Occupied Japan bisque doll with a character face was brought by another member.

The presentation was well-received by all parties. Several members provided their contact information with a request to be notified of the availability of my book. I am currently awaiting reprinted copies at which time book sales will resume.

For more information about the book, visit:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What People Are Saying About Black Dolls

The first reviews have come in for my book via e-mail and via posts to my guest book. The general consensus is, "I can't put the book down." Below are some of the comments that I have received thus far from those who have read Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion.

"Received my book today I am [impressed] with everything about the book.
The sad thing about this book is now I have another wish book. There
are so many dolls I would love to have in my collection, one in
particular is the Dawn, African American Dale doll.

Debbie thank you I love to read and I love to learn your book offers

D. Spears"


My book arrived Tuesday. I LOVE it! You did an excellent job. I love the size, the color pictures and that you shared your life and made the book personal with all the people-pictures along with the dolls. Thank you for including me in the book with the Juan doll. Where can I critique the book for others to read?



"Hi Debbie,

I can't put the book down! It's such a wonderful collection of dolls - a really beautiful book!

Thanks and congratulations on your great book!

Ping Lau to view my dolls"

"Debbie, I received my three copies of your book today. The photos are excellent throughout.Very informative ... Talk soon, Floyd [Bell]"
"Hi Debbie!
I just wanted you to [know] that I'm really enjoying reading your book!I thought your last book was great but you have really outdone yourself this time ...

... I love history and I love the historical information you have included...

Your A-Z collecting tips were cleverly done and my favorite is the letter "S" for those special dolls. It reminded me of my primitives that have faces that only a mother could love!

BKL" (Bonnie Lewis -- This is her initial email to me ... she's still working on her official review.)
"Hi Debbie!

I received your book yesterday, and I can't put it down! I keep seeing dolls I want to add to my collection ... It truly is a wonderfully thorough book, and I can't wait to tell everyone about it!

Thanks so much!
Dolly hugs,
[Diana E. Vining of]

"Hello Debbie, sorry it has taken so look to email you. I received my book this week. I love it! Thank you so much ... Congratulations on the success of your book.
Additional reviews have and will be posted at

Remember: The next best thing to buying a new doll is buying a book that contains illustrations and information on over 1000!

Debbie Garrett

Author of Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion