Sunday, February 27, 2011

Barbie and Friends Article on eBay

Francie and Christie

Today I listed several doll articles on eBay, one of which is about Barbie and her friends.  I was hesitant to list this particular article because of the above illustration, which appears on page 5 of the 6-page article.  I wanted to keep the article solely for the illustration.  Since I decided to let it go, I thought it would be a good idea to share the scanned image and captions here.

Illustration 6.  Left is Francie, Barbie's MODern cousin, looking very Mod, while out with Barbie's friend, Christie.  It was wonderful to see dolls of other races join the circle of Barbie's friends and family. 

Illustration 7.  Barbie with a Marlo Thomas "flip" hair style, helps Skipper's friend, Fluff, skateboard!
The text in the lower right-hand corner of the illustration provides the registered trademark information for all dolls included in the article.

View the full description of the article and my other listings here.


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Friday, February 25, 2011

BDHT: 1944 Wards Christmas Catalogue ... Colored Dolls, Ad Ploy?

Dainty, Lovable Colored Baby Dolls is the caption for the dolls shown on page 68 of the 1944 Wards Christmas Catalogue with a statement regarding their demand as follows:

In response to many requests for well-made, well-designed colored dolls, we offer these appealing baby dolls of well-known Horsman quality. They’re exquisitely tinted a warm brown, with sparkling brown Glammene sleeping eyes, real lashes. Lips are shaded a delicate rose. Soft cotton-filled bodies, realistically modeled heads, arms and legs of hard-to-break composition. Dainty baby clothing is carefully made and finished.
Scroll up (if necessary) and look at the picture again.  If the ad’s caption and above description are not read, these dolls could easily be mistaken for white dolls by looking at the image only. I wonder if the dolls that customers received in 1944 were as as pale in color as the dolls in the image or if they were in fact a deeper brown in person.  Perhaps Wards featured white dolls in the ad and described the black version.  It was a common practice for many manufacturers to exclude photos of black dolls from the black doll's box, electing instead to use an image of the white version and include a caption on the box that read:  This box contains the Black version.   This practice extended well into the 1980s and possibly later.

I took the liberty of typing the 1944 Wards Christmas Catalogue dolls’ descriptions, but omitted duplicating the complete description of the smaller or larger version of the same doll.

[1] 20-IN. COLORED BABY DOLL cries and goes to sleep. Glammene eyes, real lashes. Soft cotton stuffed body; brown tinted composition head, arms and legs. Hair molded on; head turns. White permanent-finish organdy dress and cap, net trimmed. White slip, knit panties, socks and shoes. 48 T 2457—20 in. tall. Ship. wt. 3 lbs. 12 oz… $5.25

[4] 16-IN COLORED BABY DOLL (smaller version of doll #1) $3.49

[2] 17-IN. COLORED BABY DOLL IN PINAFORE. Black mohair ringlets; Glammene sleeping eyes, real lashes. Soft cotton-stuffed body; composition head, arms, and legs tinted brown. Head turns. Flocked-dot cotton dress, matching bonnet; organdy pinafore. White slip, panties, socks, shoes. 48 T 2459—17 in. tall. Ship. wt. 2 lbs. 8 oz… $4.69

[5] 23-IN COLORED BABY DOLL (larger version of #2). $6.95

[3] 20-IN. COLORED BABY DOLL. Cries like a real baby. Long-lashed Glammene eyes go-to-sleep. Black mohair curls. Soft cotton-stuffed body; head, arms, legs of brown-tinted composition. Head turns. Net-trimmed white organdy dress; ruffled bonnet. White slip, panties, socks and shoes. 48 T 2454 – 20 in. tall. Ship. wt. 4 lbs… $5.95

[6] 18-IN. COLORED BABY DOLL IN COAT. Glammene sleeping eyes, real lashes, cotton-stuffed body; composition arms, legs, turning head, tinted brown, hair molded. Pink rayon coat with net-trimmed cape, collar; matching bonnet; white flock-dot cotton dress. White slip, panty, socks, and shoes. 48 T 2458—18 in. tall. Ship. wt. 2 lbs. 12 oz… $5.79

I checked my composition baby doll collection.  None of my dolls appear to be identical to these and certainly none can be mistaken for white dolls. 


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Meet Brittany Biggett, A Real American Girl...

...paper doll. 

Brittany Biggett is my most recent real American Girl paper doll acquisition.  I recently wrote about Kara Irby's paper doll, which explains the concept of these real live girl paper dolls made by the makers of  American Girl dolls.

Brittany's paper doll appeared in the September-October 2000 issue of  American Girl Magazine.   Hers is paper doll #47.  According to Brittany's biography, at the time her paper doll was created, she was a Virginia resident.  Brittany "traced her family back close to 170 years to her great-great-great grandmother who lived in Georgia."

Brittany's paper doll includes fashions from 1841, 1928, 1974, and 2000 to simulate those worn by her great-great-great-grandmother, her great-grandmother, her mother, and by Brittany, respectively.

The back of each fashion provides a description of the woman who wore it and the occasion for which it was worn.   Brittany's great-great-great-grandmother, Ellen's dress is shown and described below:

When Ellen was a girl, she was enslaved on a plantation in Georgia.  To show off their wealth, some slave owners wanted enslaved people to wear nice clothes, like this dress, when they worked inside the house.  This dress was reserved for indoor chores and Sundays.  Ellen spent most of her time working in the field.  Children usually had only one piece of field clothing--a long coarse shirt--and no shoes.  Ellen was not only poorly clothed, but also poorly fed.  Lunch in the field was usually just apples and milk.

Brittany's research into the lives of the women who came before her no doubt shed insight on how much she can achieve in life.  This is conveyed in the description on the back of her paper doll's karate fashion:

Brittany loves her karate class, especially the challenge of earning a new belt for each level she achieves.  She worked hard to earn her yellow belt, which is one step above the beginning white belt.  She hopes to enter competitions someday, but right now she's busy with tennis, in-line skating, and writing stories.  Brittany appreciates all her opportunities.  She says, "As I learn about the lives of my ancestors, I understand how hard many of them had it.  With each generation, life got easier.  I am proud to be who I am.  I am me because of them!"


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BDHT: 1947 Sears Catalogue: Noma's Mammy With Charge

On page 143 of the 1947 Sears Christmas Book, I found a doll like my composition Mammy pull toy/ramp walker by Noma*, which is imaged above.  Mammy holds the handle of the baby carriage that holds the infant for whom she is "in charge."  My carriage is not original to the doll.  The original carriage is made of composition and has a pullstring attached to the front.  When the pullstring is pulled, Mammy walks with the aid of her hinged legs. 

The 1947 Sears Christmas Catalogue image and description of Mammy follow:

[D] Mammy walks—pushes the buggy when pulled along. She’s mighty proud of that little 3-3/4-in. doll baby and her sturdy metal-framed composition buggy with big wheels, adjustable hood! Mammy is 9-3/4 inches tall, durable composition; gay bandana, cotton dress. 49 N 5497 – Shpg. Wt. 3 lbs…$2.79
Another example of Noma's Mammy with original box can be seen here.

*Noma Electric may be better known for their electric Christmas lights with multicolored glass bulbs.  The company purchased and owned Effanbee from 1947-1953, after which time Effanbee resumed control.


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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rachel and Amos

Rachel and Amos by Cranston Print Works Co.

Rachel (who is missing her separate rabbit, Cotton-Tail) and her brother Amos (who is missing his dog, Spot) were available as dolls with separate furry friends to sew at home in fabric stores during the 1980s. They are from the "Oh, You Beautiful Doll" series. The completed dolls stand 18-1/2 inches. Each doll has its own story, which was printed on cloth and included with each kit. My dolls are missing their cloth-printed stories, but I was able to locate the stories in Myla Perkins' Black Dolls:  An Identification and Value Guide 1820-1991, pages 72-73.  Their stories are as follows:

Rachel lives on a big, old farm with her parents and her brother Amos. Rachel likes to help her mother in the kitchen and she knows how to make wonderful blueberry muffins. Rachel goes to Sunday School and can recite the names of all the books in the Bible. There are lots of animals on the farm and she has her very own rabbits to raise. Here she is shown with Cotton-Tail (her favorite) and one of the new baby rabbits.

Amos lives on a farm with his parents and his sister, Rachel, and his dog, Spot. There are lots of animals on the farm and Amos likes them all. His favorites are the horses and sometimes his father lets him hitch up the team and drive to town with him. In the winter, Amos goes to school and is a good student. However, he likes summer best because there are so many interesting things to do around the farm... picking (and eating) strawberries... caring for the newborn animals and going fishing with Spot.

These two were already sewn in someone else's home before entering my collection with Eve, and it's a good thing they were because I do not sew.

Before publishing this blog, I decided to do a curious collector Internet search for this pair.  Voila!  I found a pattern for each listed in a separate auction on eBay.  The links follow:

Rachel and Cotton-Tail
Amos and Spot

Disclaimer:  I am in no way affiliated with and do not know the seller of these patterns. 


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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sorry for the Short Notice: FM 1st Lady Dolls, Sale Ends 02.24.11

The Franklin Mint has reduced their First Lady dolls from $195 to $117.   Fashions are also on sale.  The sale ends, Thursday, 02/24/11.  Three monthly payments are available -- here's the link.

(This is the FL Michelle Obama doll that I feel best captures her likeness!  See actual images here.)


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BDHT: Antidisestablishmentarianism

Note:  This article was originally written and published in the spring of 2009 in my (now closed) Black Doll-E-Zine Yahoo Group.  Those who collect vintage dolls and enjoy unveiling mysteries that surround them might find it interesting.

Internet-captured image of the November 10, 1955 issue of Jet Magazine
Gloria Lockerman is shown on the cover of Jet Magazine in November 1955 with an unknown doll by Horsman that, according to the tag on the doll's dress, had "Miracle Hair" (rooted hair that could be curled, washed, waved, and combed).

Approximately two years ago, I began a search for a doll like the one held by Gloria Lockerman on the cover of the November 10, 1955, issue of Jet Magazine, shown above.

In August 1955, Gloria was a 12-year-old spelling whiz who won $16,000 on The $64,000 Question game show by correctly spelling the word, antidisestablishmentarianism. At the time the doll and Gloria were featured on the cover of Jet Magazine, I was almost 6 months old. The doll, having been made during the time of my birth year, inspired me to desire it for my collection.

While surfing eBay for "black Madame Alexander" dolls in March of this year, I found an auction, which was titled, "Vintage Madame Alexander Cynthia 1950s doll LOOKALIKE." In the auction photos, the doll did not resemble Madame Alexander's Cynthia, but it did closely resemble the doll Gloria held in the magazine cover image. I decided to watch the auction and bid to win, which is what happened.

Princess Anna Walking Doll
The apparent  difference in the two dolls (Gloria's and mine) is their clothing. My doll was manufactured as a bride. The doll that Gloria held wore a casual dress.

There are similarities in the faces of both dolls; however, my doll's chin appears more pointed.  The Horsman doll's less pointed chin could be due to the angle from which the Jet Magazine photo was taken.
Princess Anna's box
My doll is very well preserved and arrived with the bottom of its original box. The box contains the doll's name, Princess Anna Walking Doll, the Stock #850, and the word, "COLORED" stamped near the name to indicate the doll was the Black version. Princess Anna bears the neck marks: 17VW.

The Valentine doll company used the VW mark for their dolls. My doll is, therefore, not the same doll that Gloria holds, but is very similar in appearance.  It is possible that the two doll companies, Horsman and Valentine, used the same doll.  It is widely known that many doll companies did this and labeled the dolls as their own by adding their own manufacturer's marks, naming and dressing them.  While I do not know the exact Horsman doll that Gloria Lockerman held in the Jet Magazine cover image, her doll, like mine, was on the market in the 1950s (1955 for Gloria's doll) and was probably marketed for a few years under the same or different names.

For more information about Gloria Lockerman's game show experience, visit the following URL:

In addition, below is a YouTube video by Youtuber, OurKrazyKulture from September 2009, which provides additional details about young Miss Lockerman's game show experience and the post-show controversy that developed.

Update 11/22/2020: Ms. Lockerman (Brockington by marriage) passed away on August 29, 2010. 

After a long and courageous battle with illness, Gloria V. Brockington, affectionately know as "Penny", went to be with the Lord on August 29, 2010 at the age of 67. Gloria was born in Baltimore, Maryland on October 29, 1942. In the summer of 1955, at the age of 12, Gloria achieved national fame when she appeared on the TV spelling contests "The $64,000 Question" and "The $64,000 Challenge".

Her rise to celebrity status began when she won her school and state spelling bees. Surprising her teachers, Gloria won the contest and then went on to be Maryland's representative to the National Spelling Bee held in Washington, D.C. The national spelling contest was televised and there she was noticed by the director of "The $64,000 Question" show. She was asked to come to New York for an interview, where she successfully passed her test. She won $8,000 on "The $64,000 Question' by correctly spelling "antidisestablishmentarianism." The following week she won an additional $16,000 by correctly spelling the entire sentence, "The belligerent astigmatic anthropologist annihilated innumerable chrysanthemums." After she had won $16,000 on the "Question" show she was advised to stop by her grandmother. She then appeared opposite Andy Douglass from Connecticut on the "Challenge" show. Her total earnings of $48,000 from both shows were placed in a trust fund for her education. The event attracted the attention of many celebrities, such as Mahalia Jackson, Duke Ellington, and Archie Moore. Gloria, with her $64,000 Question appearance, inspired people from all walks of life. A number of books make mention of Gloria, and a number of television parodies were written and performed as a result of her appearance. She gained so much fame in 1955 that, long ago, she decided it was enough fame for a lifetime. As a result, there was nothing she valued more than her privacy. She became the object of the country's collective curiosity-both because she was so smart at such a young age and because of the fact that she was black, which went against many American's backward stereotypes of the intellectual capacities of black Americans during that era.

At the age 16 she graduated from High School and then entered College at Morgan State and graduated with a major in French and a minor in Spanish. Following graduation she attended the University of Missouri where she earned her Masters Degree in French. While at the University of Missouri she served as a research assistant in linguistics. After receiving her Masters Degree, she completed additional credit hours at the University of Villanova.

She traveled throughout Europe, spending time in France, Spain and Italy. After traveling in Europe, she taught French and Spanish at Harrington High School in lower Marion County, PA and at various High Schools in the Philadelphia and Chester PA regions.

Gloria was an active follower and supporter in the movement for equal rights by the late Dr. Martin Luther King. She participated by marching in demonstrations against segregation and unjust racial laws. She could only see beauty in ethnic diversity. She would argue that culture is not one definable thing based on one race or religion, but rather the result of multiple factors that change as the world changes. To her multiculturalism was a positive endorsement, even a celebration, of communal diversity, based on the right of different groups to respect and recognize the value of similarities and differences in various ethnic groups.

She had a unique ability to effortlessly retain and recall dates, names, trivia and various detailed information with ease. She found great gratification in calling people on their birth date, surprising them at her ability to remember their birthday.

She was married to Dr. Howard Brockington, composer/theorist who served as Chairman of the Music Department at Delaware State University. She is also survived by her son Jason Brockington of Dover DE, her step-children Howard Brockington II and Willa Brockington of Dallas TX; Debra Humphries of Bowie, MD; and Kelvin Brockington of Washington, DC; a granddaughter, Elaniece Brockington, a brother Ronald Hooper of Philadelphia, PA; a sister Bernice Speed (Melvin) of Fort Washington, MD, sister-in-laws Bernice B. Kent (Brockington) of Lansing, MI; and Connie Hooper of Philadelphia, PA ; Aunt's Violet Snead of Baltimore, MD; Goldie Thomas of Queenstown, MD; and Ethel Lockerman of Beltsville, MD; a uncle Charles Steward of Cordova, MD and several cousins. She was preceded in death by her father, James Lockerman, her stepmother Mildred Lockerman, her mother Vivian Blackmon (Key) and her stepfather William Blackmon.


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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We're Pregnant and It's Okay!

Until earlier today, this couple had been expecting their bouncing baby since the father's box date of 1992.  Father-To-Be and Mommy-To-Be dolls were manufactured by Judith Corporation.  They are 12 and 11-1/2 inches tall, respectively. 

Here's a close-up.   Doesn't Dad look just too excited? 

Mommy-To-Be "carried" the baby in her abdominal cavity.  Its gender was unknown prior to purchase. 

A look inside

The bouncing baby boy

The proud couple gave birth to a bouncing baby boy earlier today after I deboxed them and removed the tummy plate from Mommy for the first time in 19 years.

Mommy-To-Be in the postnatal state

Originally sold through FAO Schwarz, interestingly, for ages 3 and up, I purchased this pair from a fellow collector. 

The side panel of Mommy-To-Be's box lists the following, separately sold items:
  • Accessory set with before and after pregnancy clothing
  • Her Husband [as shown above], the Father-to-Be Doll
  • 8 different maternity outfits
  • 2 different sets of accessories for the baby, such as a baby carrier, a walker, and also a baby carriage
These dolls were on the market several years prior to Mattel's controversial Happy Family (2002), which included the pregnant (yet) married-to-Alan, MidgeMidge's marital status did not prevent the backlash Mattel received from angry parents who felt the dolls' "having a baby" theme was in poor taste and a bad influence on children.   I do not recall any controversy surrounding the Father- and Mommy-To-Be-Dolls, do you?

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Monday, February 21, 2011

BDHT: Little Black Sambo's True Ethnicity

I recall owning a 1960s Golden Book, Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman as a child.  It was not until I began collecting vintage dolls that I rediscovered the Little Black Sambo book, purchased a 1961 copy, read it, and remembered enjoying the story of how the little boy outwitted the greedy tigers who coveted his new clothing and umbrella -- birthday gifts from his parents, Black Mumbo and Black Jumbo (yes... these were the names Bannerman gave his parents). 

Later, I located an older copy of Little Black Sambo from 1942 and purchased it.   I have used both copies along with a doll I fashioned to look like the character in the 1942 book as part of my Dolls with Books exhibit.  

Before creating my doll, research on Little Black Sambo dolls led me to the New Deal Network website and a link to the Milwaukee Works Progress Administration (WPA) Handicraft Project.  According to the link,    
The Milwaukee WPA Handicraft Project (Project #1170; 1935-43) was designed for women who needed to work in order to support their families. At the time, only certain jobs were considered appropriate for women. Those jobs included library and clerical work, nursing, housekeeping, and handicrafts. Harriet Clinton, who directed the Women's Division of the Wisconsin WPA, chose to create a project involving sewing and textiles.
The Project's catalog of dolls ( contains links to images of a Little Black Sambo doll made by project workers in 1939.  The doll's original cost was $2.00.  A girl counterpart, described as "Negro, black curly hair," is also included in the catalog.  These dolls and others of this size are described as: 

22-inch high, with molded head, washable and unbreakable. The body is made of percale stuffed with kapok. Heads are of ribbed cotton which is starched, pressed in a mold, stuffed, and painted. Hair is made of cotton warp in various colors and styles and can be washed. Each doll comes with a 6-piece wardrobe.
The referenced website also includes an image of a little girl holding the WPA Little Black Sambo doll.

My homemade Little Black Sambo doll, the 1942 and 1961 versions of the Little Black Sambo book are included in chapter 9 of my second Black-doll reference book, Black Dolls:  A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion.   The image and text from the book follows:

Illustration 906 - Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman, The Saalfield Pub. Co., 1942 (first published in 1898); Whitman Publishing Company 1961 (smaller book) – Ms. Bannerman was a Scottish woman, whose husband served in the British army in India.  According to research, the term “Sambo” is only used offensively in current British English.  Formerly (during the time Little Black Sambo was written), it had the technical meaning of a person having a mixture of black and white ancestry, more black than white.  In the early 19th Century, some British people referred to native East Indians as “Sambos” because of their dark complexion, which is the most probable reason for the book’s title.  In the original story, Little Black Sambo was a native of East India as noted by his turban and curled toe shoes.  After the story migrated to America, the characters’ (Sambo’s and his parents’) ethnicity changed from East Indian to AA to coincide with the word, “black” used in the title of the book.   Interestingly, the [1960] copy illustrates characters of East Indian descent while the 1942 copy uses illustrations of a cute, chubby AA boy.  It is unknown when the first Little Black Sambo dolls were made, but documentation exists that one version was made in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  For the “Dolls with Books” exhibit, I used a 1970s unmarked vinyl doll from my collection, added curly black, rooted hair; and dressed the doll in clothing to replicate the inside illustrations of the 1942 book.  The doll adequately represents the storybook character, who outwits several greedy tigers’ attempt to take away the lad’s birthday presents. 

While most books illustrate Little Black Sambo as a Black boy, the character's original ethnicity was East Indian.

Book Images:


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BDHT: President's Day Installment 2

With the exception of the Abraham Lincoln image that is part of Temperance Freedom's display bench, three-dimensional dolls, bobble heads (that look nothing like President Barack Obama*), and paper dolls in his and his family members' image are the only presidential doll-related items in my collection.  I gathered the 3-D dolls and bobbleheads and took the above photograph to create today's President's Day Installment 2.

The paper doll images follow.

Happy President's Day.  Do you plan to stimulate the economy by participating in sales that retailers offer?

*BDHT:  President Barack Obama is the first African American president of these United States. 


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President's Day Installment #1 - Let Freedom Ring

The following is an excerpt from my book,  The Doll Blogs:  When Dolls Speak, I ListenIn this first electronic book that features "dolls that blog," over a two-year period (January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009) dolls from my personal collection "used me" as a facilitator to tell their individual stories.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Debbie picked me up from the post office today after buying me from “Artistic Differences,” a Ruby Lane seller. Ruby Lane is a cyberspace home to over 2000 independently owned shops from around the world. Several shop owners sell antique-to-modern dolls. Debbie found me at “Artistic Differences” after searching the Internet for dolls made by African American doll artists. My Ruby Lane description read: “This darling little girl is a one of a kind sculpt by Gloria Young. From the bottom to the top [of] her flag pole she is 10" tall. She is very primitive and just so charming.”

It’s a small world because Gloria Young is a former member of WLBD and remains a member of Debbie’s Black Doll-E-Zine Yahoo! Group. Debbie wanted to add one of Gloria’s polymer clay sculpts to her collection after purchasing Lou-Ellen, a cloth doll made by Gloria. Even though Gloria’s dolls are considered primitive, they are never derogatory or offensive. Her dolls all have a story to tell and I do, too.

I represent a recently freed, young slave girl. I’m probably 8, but I don’t really know when I was born. I just came and they never told me. They took me from my mama and brought me here. I had to carry water to the field workers and do just about whatever they wanted me to do… had to, if I didn’t want a whipping and wanted to stay living. The only day I didn’t have to work was Sunday, but by the time Sunday came around, I was always so tired and there wasn’t ever anything fun to do. Me and the other children played made-up silly games and sang songs, but before you knew it, Sunday would be Monday with more work to do.

As a slave, I never learned to read and write. That wasn’t allowed. You see this smile on my face… I always smile, even when I’m not happy. No use in walking around with a frown on my face because a frown never solved a problem. But you know what? I’m really happy now. This smile is for real because why? Because I’m free now and because Debbie found me and can tell my story.

I traveled all the way from Temperance, Michigan to Texas. Temperance… now, imagine that? Debbie doesn’t know how I arrived in Temperance because Gloria lives in New Jersey, but by way of New Jersey somehow to Michigan, I am now in Texas.

I am seated on a wooden bench. It has the image of a horse’s head at the base. My dress is tea stained and I have a red bandana tied around my neck. My shoes are molded. My hair is, too. The American flag, picture of Abraham Lincoln, and basket of cotton add to my “Let Freedom Ring” theme.


X (Let Freedom Ring, but Debbie is thinking about naming me Temperance Freedom)


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Sunday, February 20, 2011

BDHT: Eve an American... Slave

Eve (pictured above) is a 6-inch cloth doll made by Merrymakers for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in 1998. 

Eve represents one of the slaves of Peyton Randolph (September 10, 1721 – October 22, 1775) "a planter and public official from the Colony of Virginia.  He served as speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses, chairman of the Virginia Conventions, and the first President of the Continental Congress." (

About Eve

•Date of birth unknown
•Belonged to Peyton Randolph household

•Date of death unknown

Highly-valued slave

Eve was one of 27 slaves who belonged to the Peyton Randolph household in 1775, the year of Peyton Randolph's death. Valued at 100 pounds, Eve was the highest-valued female slave and one of the most valuable of all the slaves, suggesting that she was of prime age and highly skilled. In his will, Randolph bequeathed 'Eve and her children' to his wife, Betty Randolph.

Ran away from household

One month after Peyton Randolph's death, Williamsburg's governor, Lord Dunmore, issued a proclamation that offered "freedom to any slaves who desert rebellious masters and who serve in the king's forces." At that time, Eve may have given some thought to running away, but her son George was too young to run with her.

Six years later, when British General Cornwallis occupied Williamsburg in late June and early July 1781, George was a teenager, and he and his mother joined the large number of runaway slaves that followed Cornwallis’s army. But, when Cornwallis surrendered after the siege of Yorktown in October 1781, the runaway slaves were no longer under his protection. The slaves’ owners quickly reclaimed their slaves.

Evidence suggests Eve returned to the widow Betty Randolph, who later sold Eve due to 'bad behavior.' George’s fate is unknown. He may have been one of hundreds of slaves who died of smallpox during the siege.



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BDHT: Black is Beautiful; Say it Loud!

This delightful, 1969 die cut, boxed paper doll set, Black is Beautiful, features four girls with big brown eyes. One girl has an Afro, two have short curly hair, and one has straight short hair.

This Magic Wand paper doll set also includes a red magic wand and three sheets of colorful separates (clothing, boots, shoes, jewelry, and other accessories) that reflect 1969's fashion style.  The box reads:  "Just touch with the wand and the clothes stay on."  The fashions are actually backed with a sticky substance that adheres to the dolls' bodies.

The Fashions

I remember wearing similar fashions in the 1960s. If you are old enough, do you?

I also remember the "Black is beautiful" statement proclaimed in the 1960s by many African Americans along with James Brown's affirmative song, "Say it Loud -- I'm Black and I'm Proud!"

More Reading:
Black is Beautiful
Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud


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Saturday, February 19, 2011

AA History Museum Exhibit Ends Soon!

Floyd Bell with a Tuskegee Airmen fighter plane at museum exhibit

I received the following information and images from noted, master wood carver/doll artist, Floyd Bell regarding the African American History Museum Exhibit at the Pilgrim School in Los Angeles, California.  Dolls carved by Bell and his model plane are featured. 

If you are in the LA, California area, this might interest you.
Hoping to see you at the museum! Extended for 1 more day! Tuesday, February 22nd from 9:00 - 3:00 by appointment only for PRESS and classrooms to visit a 2nd time!

Contact Lisha Rigney, Museum Coordinator to schedule a Tuesday visit: 323-428-1423

Initial Press Release
Pilgrim School

February 16, 2011 [Extended as indicated above until Tuesday, February 22, 2011]
Pilgrim School's 3rd Annual
African American History Museum

Visit with your family!

Friday, February 17th, 2011

Between the hours of

3:30PM - 6:30PM

This exhibit is not to be missed!

What people are saying about Pilgrim's African American History Museum...

"This is giving CAAM (California African American Museum) a run for its money and CAAM is losing!"

"This needs to be up all year long and invite other schools to visit."

"There's so much information that I did not know."


Come see 40+ exhibits sharing the African American experience created by students, teachers and parents. Some of the exhibits include a wall exhibit of The Underground Railroad, the Negro Baseball Leagues, an African American Doll Collection sponsored by Mary Kimbrough of Zambezi Bazaar in Leimert Park, the work of Master Doll Maker, Mr. Floyd Bell, unveiling his recently completed replica of a P51 Mustang model airplane, a Tuskegee Airmen fighter plane with a 5 foot wing span and art projects created by each classroom! This exhibit follows the African American experience from Egyptian Kings and Queens to present day events!

Museum Contact: Lisha Rigney, 323-428-1423,

I wish I could be there!


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Friday, February 18, 2011

BDHT: Topsy Dolls Found in Early Sears Christmas Books

With the exception of her larger, harder-to-find size, 16-inch Topsy with jointed head from my personal collection is very similar to a smaller Topsy featured on page 65 of the 1940 Sears Christmas Book (shown in next image). 

The 1940 Sears Christmas Book describes Topsy as
Topsy . . . at a Saving!
  • 9 inches tall
  • Tilting head
  • All composition
C In cute printed rompers; and her three adorable pigtails are tied with pretty ribbons.
49 N 3405 Shpg. wt. 10 oz., 23c

Goo-Goo Topsy, circa late 1930s-early 1940s is also from my personal collection.  A similar Topsy along with a Topsy baby were included and described on page 36 of the 1943 Sears Christmas Book, shown below:

Their descriptions read:

C 21-inch composition-head Topsy.  Big colored doll with large, moving goo-goo eyes.  Cotton stuffed body, arms, legs.  Percale dress; ribbon . . composition head.  49 N 3433 -- Shipping weight, 1 lb., 12 oz. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1.07

G 10-inch Topsy doll.  Any little tot will adore her.  All composition.  Painted eyes. In romper and socks.  49 N 3427 -- Shipping weight, 10 ounces. . . . . . . . . . . 30c

Goo-Goo Topsy made another appearance in the 1945 Sears Christmas Book, available in two sizes and priced higher, illustrated and described below:

Chocolate-colored Babies
They're darling with their big, rolling goo-goo eyes.  Assorted style gay cotton dresses.  Composition heads, molded hair; cotton stuffed bodies covered with fabric to match dresses. 
49N3134--23-inch size.  With wide-brimmed bonnet.  Shipping weight, 2 lb. 12 oz. .... $4.19
49N3133--19-inch size.  With ribbons; no bonnet.  Shipping weight, 2 lb.  $2.79

This 1950s Topsy, made by Reliable of Canada, is featured with her brother on page 4 of the 1957 Canadian Simpsons-Sears Christmas Catalogue.   My doll is redressed in a vintage 1970s dress.  The siblings are illustrated and described below:

Described as: 
B  Wide-eyed Topsy Doll of soft, unbreakable, washable vinyl.  Detailed face and fingers; simulated pigtails.  Cotton dress, panties, simulated vinyl socks, shoes.  48N3824--Abt. 12" high  Del'd . . . . . . . . . . $1.98
C Topsy's Twin Brother in cotton rompers.  48N3825--Price, Del'd . . . . . . . $1.98
Brother is missing from my collection.  I hope to find him someday.


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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stars 'n Stripes Army Barbie & Ken Deluxe Set...

...Rendezvous with Destiny, box date 1992.

I found this boxed set in my file cabinet today, too.   Unlike Dream Wedding Barbie, I knew this was in the file cabinet.

The back of the box has a price sticker that reads:  Sandy's Dolls & Collectibles with $46 written on the sticker.  I cannot believe I paid as much for this set.


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Black History Artifact Leads to Doll Find

I purchased Dream Wedding Barbie from Toys R Us, circa 1994 (box date is 1993).  I had forgotten where I stored the box until today.

My mother called to find out if I still have the print of the painting, The Gleaners by Jean-François Millet that Daddy acquired after his aunt (my great aunt) passed during the late 1960s or early 1970s.  My mind says Aunt Ida passed in 1968, but I am not sure.  What I know for sure is the painting has been in my possession, framed, and hung over my fireplace since at least 1987.  Mama wanted to "borrow" it to take to church as a Black History artifact this coming Sunday.   The Gleaners was painted by a French artist and the subjects are French peasants.  Therefore, the only way it qualifies as a Black History artifact is that it was once owned by my aunt. 

I suggested she instead take a book that is also in my possession.  Reading – Literature Second Reader by Margaret Free and Harriette Taylor Treadwell.  This book was given to my sister by another great aunt (our mother's aunt) during the 1980s.  Once the property of the State of Texas, the book was issued to students from 1919 through 1923.  Mama agreed to take the book instead of the painting.

After our call ended, I went to my file closet to locate the book, which is where I store my paper dolls, pertinent papers, and a couple of Dolls of the World (DOTW) Barbies due to lack of shelf space where the other DOTW are stored.  After moving the paper dolls and removing two DOTW Barbie boxes, I found my long lost Dream Wedding Barbie set, which contains my one and only African American Todd.
I am so glad my mother asked to borrow The Gleaners, that I suggested Aunt Lucy's book instead, and ever so glad she did not ask to use one of my dolls as a Black History artifact!

Reading-Literature: Second Reader by Margaret Free and Harriette Taylor Treadwell, first published in 1912 by Rowe, Peterson & Co. is available as a free eBook through the Google eBookstore.  

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Need to See Actual Pictures...

...of this doll. 

Does anyone own the Michelle Obama Lifelike Doll by Danbury Mint?  She looks similar to their porcelain inaugural doll (that I returned); however, this one is vinyl and jointed.  Her features do not appear as well defined as Franklin Mint's Michelle Obama doll, and I am uncertain if the image on Danbury Mint's website is of the "actual" doll. 

I wrote Danbury Mint almost two weeks ago to request images of the actual doll, but the email has not been answered.  I like the outfit she's wearing, which is described on the Danbury Mint website as, "the outfit Michelle wore during the Black History Month gathering on February 9, 2009."  Liking the outfit is not enough for me to order.  I need to see what the actual doll looks like to stave off any disappointment that will result if the actual doll differs from the website image. 

If you own the Danbury Mint vinyl  Lifelike Michelle Obama doll and can share pictures with me, please do.

Thanks in advance.


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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

BDHT: 1942 Kid Chocolate

"Kid Chocolate" is the brown-skinned baby doll shown on page 40 of the 1942 Sears Christmas Catalogue.

Kid Chocolate's description reads: 
"Kid Chocolate"
10 inches tall.  Body made of composition.  Inside jointed (the better way).  He's one of the perennial favorites. . . a pickaninny you'll simply adore.  Has painted eyes. Is dressed in romper suit and socks.  Every little girl should have one of these cute little dolls.  Shipping weight, 10 ounces 49 P 3427 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30c

The white counterpart is described as follows:
Round and Chubby
30c 10 inches tall.  Jointed composition doll.  Realistic painted face and eyes.  He's dressed in snug cotton romper and he wears cute baby booties that tie on.  Made of hard to break composition that is washable.  Here's a real value at Sears low price.  A thrilling gift for any child.  Shipping weight, 10 ounces 49 P 3426 . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30c

Except for color and description, the dolls are identical in appearance and price (30 cents). The white doll is described as round and chubby while the black doll is described in the typical 1942 way as a pickaninny (!).  It should also be noted that the manufacturer's given names for dolls were not often used in Sears catalogues Round and Chubby and Kid Chocolate were probably not the manufacturer-given names for these two.


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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

BDHT: The Problem We All Live With

Norman Rockwell character doll, Wilma, by Mary Moline

Wilma is an all-porcelain doll by artist, Mary Moline, made in Western Germany in 1981.  As stated on the  box, "This doll is one in a series of exclusive limited edition collectibles that authentically duplicate the 'true to life' detailing that Mr. Rockwell is remembered for.  He endowed us with over 3,000 such portrayals of the yesterdays he wanted us to remember..."

Wilma depicts the African American girl in Rockwell's painting, "The Problem We All Live With."  The 1963 painting illustrating school racial integration originally appeared in Look magazine in 1964.

The doll is further described in my book Black Dolls:  A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating Collecting and Experiencing the Passion on pages 287-288, as follows:

Illustration 603, Mary Moline, Wilma, 1981

Material: Porcelain

Height: 10-1/2in/26.67cm

Marks: 2557 (stamped on back of neck); ©MARY MOLINE/MADE IN W-GERMANY PPI/Nr. 5 (incised in back); Rumbleseat Dolls logo hangs from belt of dress

Hair/Eyes/Mouth: Black synthetic wig styled in three braids (two side braids and one in the center of the head)/brown stationary/closed

Clothing: White dress, slip, panties, socks, and vinyl sneakers; school books, ruler, pencils tied to left wrist

Other: Doll depicts the [1963] Norman Rockwell painting, “The Problem We All Live With,” of Ruby Bridges escorted to school by white federal marshals, walking past a wall defaced by racist graffiti. Ruby Bridges became the first black child to attend William Frantz Elementary School and the first African American child to attend a white school in Louisiana.

Additional Reading/Images:
The Problem We All Live With -  The Truth About Rockwell's Painting
More About Ruby Bridges
Bridges with former elementary teacher


Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

A custom Valentine's Day Wendy wishes you a Happy Valentine's Day.


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A Philly Collector of Playscale Dolls and Action Figures: Interview with Debbie Garrett of Black Doll Collecting, etc.

Happy, elated, enthused, grateful, honored, blessed, thankful are just a few adjectives to describe how I felt to:
  1. Be asked for an interview by D7ana -- a very knowledgeable playscale doll and action figure collector and,
  2. To read the results of the interview. 

Once again, D7ana, muchas gracias, merci beaucoup, dankeschön, asante! I cannot thank you enough!

The interview can be read here.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Couples' Romance

Romance 1931-1932 by Thomas Hart Benton

A couples' romantic gesture can be as simple as holding hands, as illustrated in the circa 1932 painting by American regionalist painter, Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975).  His Romance painting of a couple dressed in their Sunday best as they stroll, holding hands in a 1930s rural setting with the man holding his shoes to keep the road's dirt off, inspired today's blog. 

I photographed several playscale-size dolls and a few other, larger scale dolls to create a slide show of romantic couples.  Some of the dolls eagerly shared their stories in The Doll Blogs:  When Dolls Speak I Listen.

To read the captions and some of the stories shared in The Doll Blogs, view the still photos here.

Which couples are your favorites?


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