Wednesday, November 30, 2016

#SlayCancer Dolls by Trinity Designs, Inc.

#SlayCancer are new, gorgeous 16-inch vinyl, articulated dolls from Trinity Designs, Inc., created in tribute to women who are battling or have battled cancer.  Preordering is now available.  T-shirts with the #SlayCancer hashtag are also available.

For full details, photos, and ordering information, visit the Trinity Designs, Inc. website.

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Check out my eBay listings here.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Tuesday, Joey, and Amanda

During the last week of September of this year, I was contacted by an antiques dealer, David, who wanted to share photos of a portion of a collection of black dolls his shop had recently acquired. The dolls had been part of an eclectic collection of thousands, representing a variety of ethnicities, formerly owned by a doll lover who had the means to purchase most any doll she desired.  Wouldn't we all, (we as in doll lovers), love to be able to buy all the dolls we wanted and have the room to properly display our three-dimensional inanimate objects of obsession? I know I would.  

Most of the black dolls in the photos I viewed were made of cloth with many falling into the Black Americana category.  I do not actively collect cloth dolls or Black Americana relics, but there were a couple that I did find fascinating.


The large Heubach Koppelsdorf  #399 bisque doll with original grass skirt and necklace was one of the dolls that caught my eye initially.  I have a smaller version, so I decided to pass on this one.  However, had the space been available, he would be here!  In the second photo above, the pair of cloth male dolls with interesting embroidered facial features were almost a must have for me.  I probably will regret not adding them to my collection, but I decided to pass.  Below are two additional photos of this pair that I found quite intriguing.
19-inch cloth twins, circa late 1800s-early 1900s, wear wool suits with faces (and possibly bodies) of black silk

After salivating over the photos, reality set in forcing me to choose only three dolls made of mediums and in sizes that I enjoy collecting.

Tuesday by Gladys MacDowell

One of the three chosen dolls is a duplicate of one already owned, but hey... I waited a long time before finding the first Tuesday, which happens to be the #1 doll in a series of approximately 10 by Gladys MacDowell, so I wasn't going to pass up her twin.  As I noted in my post about my original Tuesday, the dolls were made of wax with cloth bodies during the 1950s.  Each one was handmade with hand painted facial features.  They stand approximately 15-/12 inches.  First and second Tuesdays are shown below.


Tuesday #1, shown on the left, wears an ID bracelet that spells her name.  Tuesday #2 has a whistle necklace.  Her eyes and eyebrows are more heavily painted than Tuesday #1's.  The second doll, although younger than the first, seems more mature, more "protective" of her older sister.  While their dresses have the same color theme, the print differs.

Joey by F. C. Baker, circa 1980s

The second doll I purchased, based on the seller's photos, which are shown above and below this paragraph, is a 5-inch polymer clay boy named Joey by F. C. Baker.   His height includes the top of his permanently attached hat.  Just look at his adorable face!

Joey wears a long-sleeved white shirt with Peter Pan collar, navy blue neck tie, navy blue wool short pants, and straw hat. In his left hand he holds his black shoes that have black socks tucked inside.   His left back pocket holds his slingshot. It appears Joey used to hold something in his right hand where there remains a white piece of foam in his palm.  David referred to this as a shoeshine brush, but I'm not sure that's what it represents.

Joey's handmade doll stand has a leather-covered base with his name, the artist's name, and original circa 1980s selling price handwritten on an attached adhesive label. 

I was not familiar with a doll artist named F. C. Baker.  Searching the Internet for additional dolls by this artist did not generate results.  After Tuesday and Joey arrived (and some other non-doll things purchased from David, which will be shared in a a separate post), David recontacted me asking if "Portrait doll of Amanda by Faye C. Baker" interested me.  It was not until then that I knew Joey's artist's first name was Faye, and yes, Amanda did, in fact interest me.

Portrait doll of Amanda by Faye Corcoran Baker is signed and dated on her lower back 1/23/83.

Another Internet search did not result in any information about Joey and Amanda's artist using her full name, Faye Corcoran Baker.  Online photos may be absent for a number of reasons:  she no longer makes dolls or stopped making them several years prior to the Internet's popularity, or she quite possibly is no longer living.

As shown above, Amanda is taller than Joey.  She measures 7-1/2 inches tall.  Like, Joey, she is also made of polymer clay and both dolls have a wired armature in their arms.  She also has painted features with hand-applied synthetic hair styled in two side braids.  One of her tiny blue hair ribbons is missing.  Her feet are bare.  Both dolls are one of a kind.

As indicated on her lower back, she is a portrait of someone named Amanda. 


If you collect antique black cloth dolls or if you found any of the dolls in David's group photos interesting, you may contact him for additional information through his website.

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you and your family have an enjoyable Thanksgiving!  Be blessed.

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bag Key Chains @ Target

I ordered these leatherette bag keychains from Target. com for $5.99 each hoping they would serve as shoulder bags for playscale dolls.  I purchased all available colors shown:  tan, gray, pink, and navy blue.  The measurements are:

4-5/8 inches from top of shoulder strap to bottom
3 inches from top-to-bottom of purse area
3 inches wide

This photo was taken before the keychain hardware was removed from the tan purse.

Playscale dolls can use these as a carryall (over-sized purse), but the scale is better suited for 15- to 16-inch dolls.  See the models below:

12-inch Kenya (a.k.a. Get Christie Love) can use it as a carryall.

It is a nicer size for 15-inch Moxie Teenz Bijou.
Here is the ordering link for the tan keychain purse, which will provide links to other available colors. Currently, Target. com is offering free shipping on all orders and returns through January 1, 2017.

Since the ones I purchased are still in their plastic wrappers, with the exception of the tan one the dolls modeled, I went to Target's website to grab their stock photos.  While there, I discovered the following new style, some of which have a metallic finish.  These are priced $7.99 each with eight different colors.

Here is the link to the ordering page for the gold metallic bag keychain, which will also provide links to the ordering pages for the others.
Don't forget about the free shipping on all orders from now until January 1, 2017.

Check out my eBay listings here.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Halos Commercial Featuring a Houseful of Dolls!

This commercial gave me such a good laugh that I wanted to share it.

Check out my eBay listings here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The 2016 Annual Harlem Holiday Doll Show and Sale

Dolls by Brooklyn Dollworks Valerie Gladstone and Pamela Ekkens

Press Release shared by Fern Gillespie:

The 2016 Annual Harlem Holiday Doll Show and Sale
Showcases over 400 Unique Black Dolls and Holiday Ornaments on
Saturday, December 3 at Dwyer Cultural Center

New York, NY--(November 16, 2016) – New York City’s top Black doll artists will be showcasing and selling over 400  amazing, handcrafted dolls on Saturday, December 3  at the annual Morrisania Doll Society’s 2016 Harlem Holiday Doll Show and Sale at the Dwyer Cultural Center, 258 St. Nicholas Avenue at 123rd Street.  Show hours are 11 AM to 7 PM. Admission is free.

“This show is about community and creativity. This is the only doll show in New York City that features such a wide variety of top Black doll artists. The artists have created incredibly beautiful sculpture and cloth Black dolls. Many are one of a kind dolls and highly collectible,” said Ellen Ferebee, president and founder of the Morrisania Doll Society, based in Harlem. “Visitors are always awed by the outstanding level of craftsmanship evidenced by the doll artists. There will be handcrafted dolls to fit every budget from $10 to $1,000.”

The Harlem Holiday Doll Show and Sale will features a range of fabulous Black dolls by acclaimed artists. On site will be Brooklyn Doll Works by Valerie A. Gladstone, named one of America’s top doll artists. Shaquora Bey will have her sophisticated soft sculpted dolls. Shirley Nigro will feature her eclectic line of miniature to life-size cloth, sculpture and even origami dolls. Joyce Stroman brings her original dolls with clay sculptured faces and cloth bodies. There’s Rita’s Art Dolls from historic periods. Unique Christmas ornaments by Goldie Wilson, who is renowned for her cloth and porcelain dolls.  Kellan Waverly will have one-of-a-kind Kels Mini Mansion Dollhouses.  Tanya Montegut has soft sculpture Dolls by Montq. There are dolls by Judanna Cavallo, Regina Dorsey and Queen Healer. Sophy Davis and Caressa Sheppard have cloth soft dolls. Angela Huggins has Angel Hugs 4 All Dolls. Terry Jenoure features soft all fabric dolls.

For almost 25 years, Ferebee has been collecting Black dolls. She has over 150 rare Black dolls in her personal collection. “The Morrisania Doll Society is an information conduit that brings Black doll collectors and artists together,” she explained.  “This show is a wonderful opportunity to get to know the doll creating and collecting community. The public is invited to the elegant Dwyer Cultural Center to look, learn and purchase.”

The Morrisania Doll Society was formed to bring together doll collectors and doll artists and to help preserve the history and culture of African-American doll making.  It has produced doll events since 2000.

For more information on The Harlem Holiday Doll Show and Sale, please visit or email:

Or contact:
Fern Gillespie

(This notice will also be placed under the Doll Events tab of this blog and my sister blog, Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black.)

Check out my eBay listings here.

Friday, November 11, 2016

American Horror Story

American Horror Story:  Coven Marie Laveau by Integrity Toys, the box, side view

I have never watched an episode of American Horror Story:  Coven and never plan on doing so. In fact, I had not even heard of the series until I saw photos circulating in late October of Integrity Toys' Marie Laveau doll, made in the likeness of actress, Angela Bassett, who plays the role of Marie Laveau.  I wanted the doll solely because IT seemed to have adequately captured Bassett's likeness and in my collection she would be Angela Bassett, not Marie Laveau.

Marie Laveau, who also had a daughter Marie Laveau II, is described as a 19th century Louisiana voodoo priestess.  The sinister legend and lore that voodoo connotes posed a problem for me.  Even though I knew the doll itself was not a voodoo doll and was a mere representation of the actress, I was momentarily hesitant about ordering.  Do I really want this doll?

According to an entry on, Louisiana Voodoo, also known as New Orleans Voodoo describes a set of spiritual folkways that developed from the traditions of the African diaspora. It is a cultural form of the Afro-American religions developed by enslaved West Africans and the French, Spanish, and Creole populations of the U. S. state of Louisiana.  Voodoo is one of many incarnations of African-based spiritual folkways rooted in West African Dahomeyan Vodun.  Its liturgical language is Louisiana Creole French, the language of the Louisiana Creole people.  

I decided to order.

Angela Bassett

Angela, arrived on November 8, the day America held the election for the 45th President of the United States.  With the horrific election results revealed the following morning, I wondered, "Will this presidency be a true American horror story?"  I pray not and continue to pray in that regard.  But I digress, back to the doll.

I love Angela, the fashion, accessories, and her rooted two-strand twisted braids.  As I felt they had done prior to seeing the doll in person, the sculptor(s) captured Bassett's likeness almost to perfection.

Had I not been forewarned about the back of box graphics, one image in particular, I would have been shocked when seeing it initially.  Because I knew it was there before the doll arrived and thankfully it is much smaller than I had imagined, it has no shock value.  The box will never be placed for the image to be visible.

I have not removed Angela from the box to write a detailed review.  The following video by Mike and Elio illustrates all the fine details I would have written.


The video was helpful in writing the doll's description for my Excel spreadsheet entry, an image of which is shown below:

Images of the other dolls in the American Horror Story:  Coven collection along with their specifications are included in a post from October 25, 2016, by Fashion Doll Chronicles.

Check out my eBay listings here.

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Gingerbread House Original Doll by T. J. Robinson

T. J. Robinson's Gingerbread House, specialized in gourmet Cajun cuisine and was located in Oakland, California and open for business, circa 1974 through 2007.

Thanks to a member of my doll group and founder of her own Facebook group, Laverne's Original Holiday Festival of Dolls, I learned about restaurant owner and doll maker, T. J. Robinson,  who sold dolls through the gift shop of her restaurant.

After I posted information about the  Festival of Black Dolls Show and Sale to be held in Oakland, California on November 12, 2016, Laverne recalled the following:

Years ago, I attend their doll shows in Oakland. I will have to check it out. Auntie Grace belonged to the club and was a collector. We would meet for dinner at T. J. Robinson's Gingerbread House in Oakland for dinner. This was a restaurant that was completely decorated with T. J. dolls and you had to make reservations weeks in advance. There were dolls all over the restaurant and the food was delicious. I will try to go through my photographs and look for this group and hopefully photos of Auntie Grace. Thanks for the Festival information. I did Holiday Festival of Black Dolls in Oakland and San Leandro several years running.
Of course I immediately wanted more information about T. J. Robinson and the dolls she dold.  A Google search led me to an article published about the restaurateur and doll maker on pages 32 and 33 in the 1981 Aug/Sep issue of Ebony Jr.  Screen captures of the article follow:

The second doll from the left, in the article image, resembles the one I located online.

After reading the above article, I was fascinated by this woman's ability to pursue and make her childhood dream an adult reality.  I wanted to add a T. J. Robinson doll to my collection.  A search of eBay's current listings for "T. J. Robinson doll," resulted in a single, buy-it-now listing by a Floridian seller. To do a possible price comparison, I searched completed listings but found none.  The buy-it-now price was more than I desired to pay, so I asked the seller if the price was firm.  It was, as seller felt the doll was well worth the asking price.  My desire for the doll, the fact that no others were currently available online, none had recently sold online, and the seller's condition description led me to agree with the seller's price and to complete the purchase.

T. J. Robinson doll has embroidery-stitched face and star-shaped pupils.

After the doll arrived, I was rather disappointed with the condition of the white dress, which required an immediate hand washing to remove years of grime and to hopefully brighten the concentrated area of yellowing under the right arm of the dress. This was not clearly noticeable in the seller's photos and was not mentioned in the item description.  Soaking the dress in a basin of hot water with a mixture of liquid laundry detergent and OxyClean, rinsing it, and allowing it to hang dry resolved my disappointment.  

After the dress dried, I ironed it with a warm iron and straightened out several of the ribbon accents with the iron.  After redressing, she looked as good as I imagine she looked the day she was created. Because of the poor fit and their newer-than-the-doll's appearance, the white patent-leather sandals she was wearing did not look original to the doll.  I removed those and will replace with white knit booties. For now her feet are bare.

Before redressing the doll, this photo and the next were taken to illustrate how her body is constructed.

She has teddy bear jointed arms and legs and from head to toe measures 15 inches (not the 18 inches the seller described).  

This photo of the satin body tag on the doll's bottom, taken by the seller, confirms the doll is "A Gingerbread House Original Copyright 1974."  The physical address of the restaurant is also included on the tag.  
One last close-up of Tee-Jay, which is what I named her.

It must have taken several hours to create the multiple looped yarn braids and to hand-tie the multitude of white ribbons onto each.  The love, patience, and devotion in making this doll are very evident in all the extra touches.

Unfortunately, I will never have an opportunity to meet or speak with Ms. Robinson, who passed away on June 12, 2011.  Patrons of her gingerbread house*, which opened in the mid 1970s and remained open until 2007, will undoubtedly remember her fondly.  Those (like me) who own a Gingerbread House Original doll, will remember her fondly too.  

*Musician, songwriter, Chuck Mangione was so enamored by T. J. Robinson's Gingerbread House that he wrote a song about it, the lyrics of which can be read here.  (The song mentions her dolls!)


In a Facebook message dated 02/24/19, Noelle Cabral wrote:

Hi 😊 so I just stumbled across your Gingerbread House blog and I wanna give u a big virtual hug from Mama TJ. I just know it made her smile in heaven. That style of doll in particular was named Fauna. Fun fact she had mini dolls of herself produced dressed in white lace. It’s been so long, but if I can ever find mine I will send u a picture. I’m her only granddaughter
God Bless LOVED the article, warmed my soul. Thank you

So, my doll's name is Fauna.

Check out my eBay listings here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Lizzy's Doll Found Me

Unmarked, black souvenir doll, former childhood doll of Lizzy Z.

This past summer, after her visit to the Eye of the Collector exhibition where she saw my black-doll exhibit, I received a Facebook message from Lizzy Z.   The message, which included the above photograph, read:

My mother brought me this doll from a trip she took when I was a child. I never much played with dolls and kept it for the connection to my Mother. I wondered if you wanted her for your fabulous collection. She is looking for a fine home and I'd like to give her to you. Would you want this doll for your collection? A gift.

I replied:

Hi Lizzy - thank you for writing me and offering me this wonderful doll. If you are absolutely sure you don't mind parting with the doll, I will gladly accept it. Would you like for me to pay postage?

"No," was Lizzy's reply.

Within a few weeks, as promised, Lizzy mailed her former childhood doll to me.

Close-up of the 12-inch doll's smiling mask face

Dolls like Lizzy's (black and white versions) dressed in various costumes were made and sold for the tourist trade throughout the world. As seen here and here dolls similar to this one originated in such places as Poland circa 1950s.  According to this website, mask face dolls date back to the 1920s.  I do not know the year Lizzy received her doll nor the geographical location from which it was purchased.

The blue headscarf exposes the extent of her hair, her black bangs.   She has a mature bosom.  Her dress and apron are sewn onto her body.  Her blue fabric shoes match the color of her headscarf and apron.  The cardboard sole of one shoe has deteriorated from age. The sole is missing from the other.

I own other souvenir dolls, but none are like this one.  She is a sweet little doll with a "happy disposition."

Lizzy's doll, Lizzy

To always remember her previous owner and her kind gesture, I have named her Lizzy.  Thank you again, Lizzy for Lizzy!