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 with bangs/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



  1. Hello! I'm really enjoying your blog! I am contemplating buying Wilma but the seller does not have her school books, pencils or ruler. I wonder what the chances would be in finding these accessories? Probably slim to none. Still, what a beautiful doll and what a treasure!

  2. Hello Betweenthelens,

    Wilma is a wonderful doll that depicts events in American history that occurred to a real person.

    I would want you to own a complete doll with school books, pencils, and ruler. The dolls show up often online at various sites. Unless the current one you are eyeing is at a price you cannot refuse, I would suggest waiting to find a complete one. The box is not necessary, but I found it as important as the doll, which is the reason I purchased two: the first one was complete without box. Years later I found a complete one with box.


  3. Hi. Thank You for all your research and all the wonderful photos. Can I use your description and photos to sell mine? I will attribute it to you, but I don't see the copyright notice at the end of this blog.
    Thank You

  4. Hi Gina - yes you may use my description. The copyright notice is visible on the sidebar when viewing from a desktop browser. Here's the copyright:

    "Notice of Copyright: Unless otherwise stated, all material on this site is the copyright of Debbie Behan Garrett (the author). Text and images may not be used unless express permission is granted by the author. Feel free to link to or quote this site and include the proper credit. Again, please do not use images or text without the express permission of the author. © 2008-2017 Debbie Behan Garrett"

    I'm not sure if it is a good idea to use my photos since your doll may not be exactly like mine. Photographing the actual doll being sold is advised. Also, please note that the value assessed was based on the 2008 doll market for a pristine doll with box. The value would be less in today's market. If you're using eBay to sell, search completed auctions to get an idea of what the doll has sold for on eBay recently.

    Thanks for asking permission to use my description.


  5. Oh, thank You so much. I put her on ebay for 200 because she's so special and I want to keep her but I need money now. I attributed her to you.

    1. You're welcome, Gina. I agree. This is a very special doll. Good luck with the auction.



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