Children of Japan

Children of Japan
Courtesy, R. John Wright

The Jumeau 201

The Jumeau 201
Courtesy Theriault's and Antique Doll Collector Magazine

Hinges and Hearts

Hinges and Hearts
An Exhibit of our Metal Dolls

Google+ Followers

Tuxedo and Bangles

Tuxedo and Bangles

A History of Metal Dolls

A History of Metal Dolls
Now on Alibris.com and In Print! The First Book of its Kind

Alice, Commemorative Edition

Alice, Commemorative Edition
Courtesy, R. John Wright

Translate

Emma, aka, La Contessa Bathory

Emma, aka, La Contessa Bathory
Her Grace wishes us all a Merry Christmas!

Annabelle

Annabelle

Emma Emmeline

Emma Emmeline
Our New Addition/fond of stuffed toys

Cloth Clown

Cloth Clown

Native American Art

Native American Art

the triplets

the triplets

c. 1969 Greek Plastic Mini Baby

c. 1969 Greek Plastic Mini Baby
Bought Athens on the street

Iron Maiden; Middle Ages

Iron Maiden; Middle Ages

Sand Baby Swirls!

Sand Baby Swirls!
By Glenda Rolle, courtesy, the Artist

Glenda's Logo

Glenda's Logo
Also, a link to her site

Sand Baby Castaway

Sand Baby Castaway
By Glenda Rolle, Courtesy the Artist

A French Friend

A French Friend

Mickey

Mickey
From our friends at The Fennimore Museum

2000+ year old Roman Rag Doll

2000+ year old Roman Rag Doll
British Museum, Child's Tomb

Ancient Egypt Paddle Doll

Ancient Egypt Paddle Doll
Among first "Toys?"

ushabti

ushabti
Egyptian Tomb Doll 18th Dynasty

Ann Parker Doll of Anne Boleyn

Ann Parker Doll of Anne Boleyn

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Tin Head Brother and Sister, a Recent Purchase

Tin Head Brother and Sister, a Recent Purchase
Courtesy, Antique Daughter

Judge Peep

Judge Peep

Hakata Doll Artist at Work

Hakata Doll Artist at Work
From the Museum Collection

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Japanese Costume Barbies

Japanese Costume Barbies
Samurai Ken

Etienne

Etienne
A Little Girl

Happy Heart Day

Happy Heart Day

From "Dolls"

From "Dolls"
A Favorite Doll Book

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Jenny Wren

Jenny Wren
Ultimate Doll Restorer

Our Friends at The Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum

Our Friends at The Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum

Baby Boo 1960s

Baby Boo 1960s
Reclaimed and Restored as a childhood Sabrina the Witch with Meow Meow

Dr. E's on Display with sign

Dr. E's on Display with sign

Dolls Restored ad New to the Museum

Dolls Restored ad New to the Museum
L to R: K*R /celluloid head, all bisque Artist Googly, 14 in. vinyl inuit sixties, early celluloid Skookum type.

Two More Rescued Dolls

Two More Rescued Dolls
Late Sixties Vinyl: L to R: Probably Horseman, all vinyl, jointed. New wig. R: Effanbee, probably Muffy, mid sixties. New wig and new clothing on both. About 12 inches high.

Restored Italian Baby Doll

Restored Italian Baby Doll
One of Dr. E's Rescued Residents

Dolls on Display

Dolls on Display
L to R: Nutcrackers, Danish Troll, HItty and her book, Patent Washable, Mechanical Minstrel, Creche figure, M. Alexander Swiss. Center is a German mechanical bear on the piano. Background is a bisque German costume doll.

A Few Friends

A Few Friends
These dolls are Old German and Nutcrackers from Dr. E's Museum. They are on loan to another local museum for the holidays.

Vintage Collage

Vintage Collage
Public Domain Art

The Merry Wanderer

The Merry Wanderer
Courtesy R. John Wright, The Hummel Collection

The Fennimore Doll Museum

The Fennimore Doll Museum

Robert

Robert
A Haunted Doll with a Story

Halloween Dolls Displayed in a Local Library

Halloween Dolls Displayed in a Local Library

The Cody Jumeau

The Cody Jumeau
Long-faced or Jumeau Triste

German Princesses

German Princesses
GAHC 2005

A Little PowerRanger

A Little PowerRanger
Halloween 2004

The Island of the Dolls

The Island of the Dolls
Shrine to Dolls in Mexico

Based on the Nutshell Series of Death

Based on the Nutshell Series of Death
Doll House murder

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A lovely dress

A lovely dress

Raggedy Ann

Raggedy Ann
A few friends in cloth!

Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum, WI

Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum, WI
Pixar Animator's Collection

Little PM sisters

Little PM sisters
Recent eBay finds

Dressed Mexican Fleas

Dressed Mexican Fleas

Really old Dolls!

Really old Dolls!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

New Barbie Fashonistas Unveiled and Ruby Lane

Mattel sent out an email about the new dolls, including four new versions of Ken that I blogged about for Ruby Lane.com.  Even more body types and diverse looks are available, making Barbie truly the "Everydoll" of our time.

Doll Bytes

Once again, dolls appear on the old Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Last night, they did a sketch from the early 90s parodying home video shows. A baby doll was bounced around in a sketch about a baby swept out a window.  The doll reappeared baked in a birthday cake her mother took home.  NO babies were harmed, of course.  Last week the show from January 22, 1985 featured a detailed miniature room with bisque doll house dolls as part of a skit featuring The Mighty Carson Art Players.


Dolls are everywhere!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Black Dolls

Self portrait if Leo Moss.  Built over a discarded
composition doll. Photo by E. Tsagaris, D. Neff Collection

Leo Moss Doll.  D. Neff Collection. Photo by E. Tsagaris
Primitive Doll, leather head--Photo by E. Tsagaris.  D. Neff Collection

Coconut head by Isabel Greathouse. D. Neff Collection.  Photo: E. Tsagaris

Handmade cloth doll.  Costume of this doll emulates those of more expensive bisque dolls.
Photo, E. Tsagaris.
 
Example from Neff photo collection of girls with dolls and black dolls.  Photo by E. Tsagaris


Black dolls have played a role in our history from the first example created centuries ago.  Dolls tell the story of the people who created them, and are portraits of their makers in many ways.  Black dolls speak of courage, culture, art, and history that have shaped human endeavors for millennia.  Ancient Venus figures with corn-rowed hair, Egyptian Paddle dolls and Ushabti, ancient Iron figures from Benin, Nubian dolls and others testify to  this legacy of black doll making.

 

In California during the late 80s, the Rev. C. Laverne Williams, a lovely lady and gracious hostess, held a show devoted to black doll artists called The Holiday Festival of Black Dolls. R. John Wright, Magge Head Kane,  Floyd Bell, Carry Lisle, Leo Moss,  Shindana Toys, so many other gifted artists created them, too. The former Me Dolls site had amazing images of all kinds of dolls of color and ethnicity. O. Winfrey supposedly had a big collection, and the late Patrick Kelly, designer, had over 6000. His logo was a tiny black celluloid baby doll, sometimes made into a pin.  I once passed over a great T-shirt printed with one of these. It was for sale at Nordstrom’s.  Silly me.

 

Folk dolls made by slaves are valuable pieces of Americana that tell of historical struggle and injustice, and  black dolls made of nuts, wood, nipples, cloth, and other materials are the subject of museums and exhibits all their own.  Janet Pagter Johl wrote of them and pictured them in her books, and those picture here are from a current  exhibit of black dolls at The Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA.  They are from the D. Neff
Collection, and are part of an exhibit from the Mingei Museum. I was lucky enough to meet the talented woman who collected the dolls on exhibit, and also to attend the opening and reception.

 

Examples that have become scarce include black sock dolls that fit over antique bottles.  Examples of these and other folk dolls exist in Wendy Lavitt’s American Folk Dolls, Myla Perkins’ Black Dolls series, and Carl Fox’s The Doll.

 

Black Kewpie, aka “Hottentots”, are the quintessential doll for February; the angelic Kewpies, originally drawn by Rose O’Neill, sport blue wings and a red heart, and the black examples are iconic as well.   The RJW “Hottentot” Kewpie was release in 2001, and is made of felt and jointed.  The doll, of course, sports the famous red Kewpie heart, and is just adorable!

 

Lenci and Norah Wellings made exceptional black dolls of felt and velvet, and Madame Alexander has provided amazing and detailed examples over the years, some very rare models.

 

Another iconic black doll, the Golliwog, was inspired, in part, by a performer who was sketched by Toulouse Lautrec, “Chocolat.”  Originally born in Brazil, Chocolat was a star during the Moulin Rouge Era, and Debussy’s “Golliwog’s Cakewalk”, Part of The Children’s Suite, was a nod to Chocolat the entertainer.  Robertson’s Jellies has long been associated with its Golliwog log and ins and other memorabilia it has sold.   They appear in Florence K. Upton’s “Two Dutch Dolls” in a Golliwog, and I’ve seen examples from Germany (Steiff), The United States, England, and South Africa.

 

Black memorabilia dolls and figures are popularly collected and include Mammy dolls made of different materials, often sold as souvenirs in New Orleans and Elsewhere. Other Mammy dolls are portraits of actress Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammy in Gone with The Wind.  Miss McDaniel was the first African American actress to win the Oscar for her role, but she was also an avid doll collector and a pen pal of my friend, doll author and artist R. Lane Herron.

 

Dolls from Africa and the Caribbean illustrate the diverse nature and origin of dolls of color.   Africa has a rich history of dolls, idols, and masks that influenced Picasso and The Cubists.   These dolls are made of wood, iron, other metals, cloth, beeswax, husks, all sorts of natural materials, and beads.   An interesting exercise is to assemble pictures or examples of Dolls and statues made in African countries by African artists and group them next to a selection of black dolls form other parts of the world.  The variety of the African dolls is astounding, but often, the dolls from other parts of the world are simply painted black or brown.  It is an interesting study of how the African people see themselves, and how some other parts of the world see them.

 

Yet, black or brown bisque dolls, and antique wooden dolls are also things of beauty. An ethnic papier mache doll attributed to Bru of the Rosalie Whyel collection and represents a tribal woman wearing leather and beads.  She could be the dignified woman associated with Kurtz in “Heart of Darkness.”  Bru dolls and French fashion dolls of brown bisque are astounding, as are automatons like Zula the Snake Charmer.  Zula once fetched a quarter of a million dollars at auction, and a light skinned, biracial Jumeau exhibition doll has been valued at $250,000.  Black Frozen Charlottes and China heads have a charm all their own and make an amazing collection.  Black wax dolls and Crèche figures of the Three Kings often provide unusual additions to doll collections.  Puppets and marionettes are also terrific finds.  For more of these, review Mary Hillier’s books Wax Dolls, Automata, Dolls and Doll Makers, and Chloe Preston and the Peek-A-Boos.  Also, check out Who won Second Place at Omaha about Lenon Hoyte’s museum, Aunt Len’s, once in Harlem.

 

Vintage black dolls include versions of Terri Lee, Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls, Chatty Cathy, Drowsy, Barbie, and Barbie’s friends as well as original creations like Afro Malaika, Ayoka and others by Annette Himstedt, Phillip Heath Dolls, Shindana toy babies, Ashanti, Florence Griffith Joyner,  Julia, Diana Ross, Redd Foxx, Jimmie Walker, Flip Wilson, Josephine Baker, Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,  Butterfly McQueen,  M.C. Hammer, and Steve Urkel.

 

These dolls alone tell an amazing story.  Museums are devoted to them, and books are written about them. Like all dolls, they deserve to be curated, collected, and preserved as historical artifacts of humanity itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

For London, Manchester, and The UK; Our Hearts are with You

Below is the famous speech by John of Gaunt; nothing expresses our love for England better.  We salute the people of the UK, in memory of my dear friends, British Writers Mary Hillier and Angela Wells:



John of Gaunt describes England


 


John of Gaunt:  This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,


 This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,


 This other Eden, demi-paradise,


 This fortress built by Nature for herself


 Against infection and the hand of war,


 This happy breed of men, this little world,


 This precious stone set in the silver sea,


 Which serves it in the office of a wall,


 Or as a moat defensive to a house,


 Against the envy of less happier lands,


 This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,


 This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,


 Fear'd by their breed and famous by their birth,


 Renowned for their deeds as far from home,


 For Christian service and true chivalry,


 As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,


 Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's Son,


 This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,


 Dear for her reputation through the world,


 Is now leased out, I die pronouncing it,


 Like to a tenement or pelting farm:


 England, bound in with the triumphant sea


 Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege


 Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,


 With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds:


 That England, that was wont to conquer others,


 Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.


 Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life,


 How happy then were my ensuing death! 


 


 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Decoration Day

Decoration Day

I recited this poem at a Memorial Day school program in sixth grade, wearing a prairie dress my mother sewed for me. I don't remember the author, or one line of the poem, but here it is for all veterans, and for my grandfather's an everyone else in my family who served, and for my students in the military:

PD image of the Star Spangled Banner



My Grandpa’s old and kind of lame,

He doses in his chair,

And when the family goes some place,

He stays and doesn’t care.

 

He’d rather stay at home,

He says,

Than dress to go uptown,

And when he knows there’s

Company come,

He’s always lying down.

 

But once a year there’s quite a change on

Decoration Day.

Then Grandpa wears his uniform and

Hurries me away,

 

[To see a big Parade] . . . .

 

The shiny cars with great folks in,

The flower girls in white,

The bands that play the national airs,

With all their wind and might,

 

And the boys that wear OD

Come through,

And straight and tall,

The wind a blowing

Through his hair,

My Grandpa Stands Through it