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Black Dolls Part 1


Welcome to the wonderful world of black, Negro and colored dolls; by any name their history is convoluted and intriguing. The first commercially made black dolls were paper mache made in Germany in the 1820s. They were dressed as servants and meant to be playthings for white children. Nearly all of the bisque doll makers included black dolls in their line and as early as 1885 some advertising was aimed at parents of black children. Through the years black dolls have been divided into two types: white dolls painted black and dolls with ethnic features. Many nationalities other than African American have been represented and every medium from wax to felt has been used.

Black dolls represent a vast field for collectors with something for everyone. To learn more I suggest Black Dolls Volumes One and Two by Myla Perkins as well as the Coleman's Encyclopedias. My thanks to all of you who are shared your dolls in this study.

Amy/Absentminded's lovely 1972 Horsman baby.

Deanie/jointheir's Horsman alone on the one, none on the little grumpy one with porcelain head & cloth body. The mother & daughter are 19" & 11" with U on the tall one, and 42 on the small one. I have never found what they were ... the Horsman is between 15 & 16"..The little grumpy about 17".

Marty/charmar's Little Black Sambo has lost his purple coat and his umbrella. He is 17" tall and has an embroidered face and yarn hair. He is stuffed with something heavy and fine - sawdust, maybe? His main body is made of cocoa brown cotton and his black shoes are cotton fabric as part of the body construction. His blue and white socks go up to the knee and are made the same. His green pants are made of wool. Little Black Sambo was made for my husband's first Christmas, 1945. His Grandma, Alida Bell Dewitt Pascal, was the seamstress. His head is floppy and he doesn't sit too well anymore, but he has been loved for a very long time.

I bought this Raggedy Ann at a garage sale many years ago. She is 15" tall, and completely hand made. Her hair is black wool yarn and her face is drawn on with some kind of pen. Her shoes are polyester and her red &white legs are flannel. She is wearing the dress that she came in, but I added the pinafore. She is a favorite of the babies who visit at my house and is a beloved doll even though she is missing her heart with "I Love You". Since love is invisible, we believe her heart is invisible, too! I bought this Raggedy Ann at a garage sale many years ago. She is 15" tall, and completely hand made. Her hair is black wool yarn and her face is drawn on with some kind of pen. Her shoes are polyester and her red &white legs are flannel.

Rita/littledoll The first picture is Lester and a clown. Lester is made by Eegee 1973 he is a vetrioquist dummy, painted eyes, hard vinyl head and hands, cloth body, pull string in back of neck to work mouth. The Clown is a "Learn to Dress" doll, made for children to learn to zip, button, tie, etc. Unmarked, vinyl head, cloth body.

The second picture is two straw stuffed souvenir dolls, which I believe were made in Jamaica. The clothes are nailed on with small brads. Very firmly stuffed. Painted features.

The third picture are two composition head dolls, unknown origin, straw? stuffed cloth bodies (firmly stuffed). The one sitting has oil painted legs, with one leg crossed over the other.

The fourth picture is Whitney and friend. Whitney was a Christmas gift from my youngest son this year. She has porcelain head, arms and legs, cloth body. Inset eyes with "real" top lashes and painted bottom lashes. Multistroke eyebrows. (One of my absolute fav dolls, I think you can guess why).

(I also have a 5th pic of a close up of Whitney). Her little friend is an 8" vinyl "kewpie" like (note: starfish hands and side glancing eyes). Marked Made in Japan.


This first one is of Bea. She is my original sculpture. I just love her; she is so full of sunshine. She has dark brown glass eyes, black mohair wig and is dressed in a yellow dress with a sunflower printed pinafore; eyelete lace trim and accented with dark brown French Ribbon. Copyrighted by Lee Feickert. 1995.

The second doll is The Wizard of Onimo. I made him for the Industrial Light and Magic's Creatures exhibit that George Lucas sponsered for the Marin Co. Fair in July 1990. He is from several different doll molds and added to. My Original Design. He is poured in Black Ebony slip. Glass eyes, yes they are blue. Sheep flecce for hair. His robes have real gold woven into the silk fabric. Copyrighted by Lee Feickert 1990

The third doll is Jinijja, she is a character from "The Arabian Nights". I made her for the Seeley Doll Artisan Guild competition. It was the mail in one with the theme of Arabian Nights in Feb. of 1991. In the story she was a flying serpent that was saved by a country women. The Jinijja then appeared as a black ebony woman to this country woman and rewarded her for her good deed. I used the serpent as a design to her porcelain and poured her in black ebony using the Isadora mold by Seeley. She is my original design. Pictures are copyrighted for all three dolls.

V's turn -- The little one is an Advertising doll from Trader Vic's (an exotic restaurant) and the other is from New Zealand. The NZ doll was an Island elf, a Minnehuna. They live near the water like in the inlets on an island. (per Lee)