Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Doll Postcards from Doll Friends

Postcard of a Hilda baby by Kestner of Germany, c. 1914; souvenir postcard from the Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art, Bellevue, Washington

Postcards capture moments in time -- people, places, things, memories. For some they serve as souvenirs of places visited and enjoyed. Others are used to announce special events.  Some are considered collectible.  I have a small collection of postcards with images of black dolls received from people who knew I would find them delightful.

This past Saturday I was surprised to receive a letter from a doll friend. The letter contained the first postcard shown above. The back of the postcard describes the doll as, "Unusual ethnic version of the bisque Hilda baby created by Kestner of Germany, c. 1914." To preserve the postcard, the doll friend wrote her note to me on sticky note paper and attached it to the back of the postcard.  Thanks again Diana V.  Your postcard inspired this blog.

I gathered several used and unused black-doll postcards and photographed them to share here.

This United States Postal Service postcard from 1997 was received from Debra R. of Illinois.  The back of the postcard reads:

Classic American Dolls "Alabama Baby"/Martha Chase
Ella Smith designed the cloth Alabama Baby doll with molded and painted features.  These dolls were originally named "The Alabama Indestructible Doll" and were made from 1900-1925.  The second doll was created by Martha Chase and is an all-cloth doll made between 1890-1925.
Debra wrote a personal note on the back of the USPS postcard and included the postcard with a doll she returned to me after kindly restringing it.


The next three unused postcards from the Musee de la Poupée, Paris, were gifts from Ruth M. of Colorado.  Ruth purchased these at the UFDC Convention in Anaheim, California this past summer from a doll dealer from France.  The text on the back of each is written in French, as shown below. 

Baigneurs Maréchal et Grassard, France 1947-1960.

Bébé Steiner figure A, taille 9, France, vers 1892.

Bamboula et Bambouli Urika, France, vers 1947-1957


Karen H. of Arizona sent me several of the next postcard sometime during the late 1990s. I believe this was my first black-doll postcard.

The back reads:  "Twin dolls.  Made by Armand Marseille, Germany, after 1900.  Bisque heads with modeled hair."


In 2005, Laurie M. of Texas gave me several of the next postcard, which is from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, Columbia Point, Boston, MA.

The back reads:  "Ivory Coast woman.  Gift to Caroline Kennedy from President and Madame Felix Houphouet-Boigny of the Ivory Coast, May 1962."

The final postcard is from the Philadelphia Doll Museum in Philadelphia, PA.  It was sent to me from Lillian B. of New York and contains her handwritten note. 

 The back of the postcard above contains the name, address, phone number, website, hours of operations, admission fee of the Philadelphia Doll Museum in addition to the following information about the dolls:  "Black American Heritage Series Roberta Bell, NAIDA." (The initials should instead be NIADA, which abbreviates National Institute for American Doll Artists).

I would love to add more black-doll postcards to my small collection.  They take up less space than three-dimensional dolls, and are less expensive!  Black-doll postcards, unfortunately, like black dolls, are not as readily available as others.  


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  1. How interesting that so many people sent you postcards. I am glad you did this post, because ever since I received your package, with the beautiful card, I have been meaning to tell you how much I love the card with your dolls on the front. Every time I sent you a message I would forget. I also wanted to tell you that I LOVE the new picture on your blog. Whew. Now I feel better.

  2. Hi Vanessa,

    I'm glad this post served as a reminder for the things you've been meaning to tell me.

    About the new image on the blog: It is on the front of a greeting card that I purchased years ago (probably during the 1990s) because of the image, but I like the inside greeting, too:

    "My childhood was precious and cherishable.
    Thanks to God for giving me parents like you.
    You gave me love, pride, courage,
    and dignity,
    Allowing your little girl to blossom
    into an honorable woman.
    Thank you!"

    I actually re-located this card when I was looking for one of the postcards and decided to use the image on the blog.


  3. Thanks Barbara (Walters). Nuff said.

  4. Very interesting post. I have also been meaning to compliment you on the new image at the top of your blog. What a beautiful card inside and out.


Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!