|Box 1 and Box 2 contained birthday gifts from Betty Ativie.|
Engaged in a conversation with my mother at the time, I decided to open the packages. Box #2 was opened first and I thought to myself, about the lovely hand-sewn dresses, shoes, hair ribbons, tights, and gold stud earrings: I'll have to find a doll to wear these. Little did I know that concealed inside box #1 was the doll for whom these items were intended.
After seeing the hand-sewn doll made especially for me, I was deeply filled with gratitude that Betty had taken the required time to make not only the doll but also the doll's wig, full slip, undies, and five different dresses. The note that accompanied the doll indicates Betty's initial intention to send the doll only, but she must have realized there was enough time to make the clothing that box #2 contained.
I chuckled at the doll's shared story and was doll-lighted that she wanted to hurry and get to her new home. After her arrival, she let me know her name was to be Patty-Jo, and there were no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
The above, September 6, 1947, Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger comic strip image is courtesy of cartoonist,Tim Jackson. I originally used it in my article, Jackie Ormes' Patty-Jo, published in the March/April 2008 issue of Doll Castle News. In the above comic strip, Patty-Jo is amazed that her likeness has been captured in the Patty-Jo dolls upon which she gazes. She opines to big sister, Ginger, that it might be frightening if the dolls develop her social awareness and candor.
The comic-strip character, Patty-Jo, created by the first syndicated African American female comic strip artist, Jackie Ormes, was the main character in the big sister-little sister comic strip. Described as a 5-year-old, Patty-Jo was quite precocious as well as socially and politically aware. The above Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger comic strip was published a few weeks after Ormes contractually partnered with the Terri Lee doll company in August 1947 to produce the 16-inch heavyweight, hard plastic Patty-Jo doll. The doll, fashioned after the comic-strip character, had an array of fashions (just like Betty Ativie's Patty-Jo), and was on the market from 1947 through 1949. The comic strip character outlived the doll by several years, running in the Pittsburgh Courier from 1946 through the early-to-mid-1960s.
Betty Ativie's cloth Patty-Jo's bangs, two side ponytails, and the way she stands on her own (when positioned just right) reminds me of the spunky comic-strip character, Patty-Jo. We both agree the name she chose for herself is appropriate.
After thanking Betty for the doll and wardrobe, she sent the following photos, which document some of Patty-Jo's come-to-life process.
|A vintage "Tillie" doll pattern was used to make Patty-Jo.|
|With body and limbs stuffed, she's coming together nicely in this photo.|
|Black yarn was used to make Patty-Jo's hair. That must have been a tedious process!|
|Like the comic-strip character, Patty-Jo has two side braids which will remain pinned under. In this photo, one of her applied ears and gold hoop earring are shown.|
|She has very shapely legs.|
|Patty-Jo anticipated trying on each of her dresses. She later decided which one she would continue wearing for now.|
Because she arrived wearing her undergarments, white tights, and white shoes, Patty-Jo first tried on dresses that would coordinate with the tights and shoes.
|This ankle-length yellow and white seersucker dress has three hand-stitched floral appliqués on the bodice. Yellow hair ribbons were sent with it.|
|It looks yellow, but this dress is actually chartreuse green. Except for the ribbon that ties in the back, it has the same style as the previous dress.|
|Next, Patty-Jo tried on this shorter-length blue floral-print dress. With this dress, Betty packaged contrasting hair ribbons and gold tone stud earrings in two sizes.|
|The red dress and accompanying red Mary Jane-style shoes were tried on next. The bodice of this dress has a faint printed pattern that was not captured by my camera. The style is similar to that of the blue floral dress.|
|Along with the African print dress, Betty sent black tights and black Mary Jane-style shoes. The yellow ribbons work well with this dress.|
|Take a closer look at the African print fabric. It contains images of African women, girls, pottery, and woven baskets.|
After selecting a location in the doll room, Patty-Jo settled in nicely. Her extra dresses, tights, shoes, earrings, and hair ribbons are stored in a doll trunk and are easily accessible for future redresses.
Can You Find Me? asks Patty-Jo.
Where am I?
|How about now?|
|Can you see me now?|
Thank you again, Betty! I love my new little girl, the Patty-Jo you made, and her fashionable wardrobe!
Read more about Jackie Ormes' Patty-Jo, here.
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