American Beach was established in 1935 on Florida's east coast under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln Lewis, one of seven co-founders of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company, and one of Florida's first black millionaires. His vision was to create a beach resort as a benefit for company executives and as an incentive for employees.
In the era of Jim Crow segregation laws, few public places in Florida or the rest of the South were open to African Americans. From the Depression until well into the 1960's, American Beach served as a holiday and vacation destination for thousands of African Americans, and was a magnet for black celebrities such as entertainers Cab Calloway and Ray Charles, heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis and writer Zora Neale Hurston.
But in 1964, the area began to decline. Hurricane Dora destroyed much of the beach, and passage of the Civil Rights Act meant that blacks were, finally, no longer restricted to segregated beaches and the businesses that catered to them.
A fabulous and historically relevant piece of Black Americana!
In 1912, in a stroke of advertising genius, Mayo's Tobacco Company packaged their cut plug tobacco in round tins with a lithographed character. Each held 1 pound of tobacco. It was opened by removing the head!
These "Roly-Polys" were a unique shape that distinguished them from the rectangular and lunch box-shaped tins that surrounded them on store shelves. There were a number of different characters that were available, and smokers were encouraged to collect the entire set. The six original tins were the Satisfied Customer, the Storekeeper, the Singing Waiter, the Dutchman, Scotland Yard....and Mammy!
Mayo called this packaging a "Brownie" tin...apparently the company suggested that the tins be used as brownie containers after the tobacco was used, and designed them accordingly. They were never a plentiful tin, and today, are becoming increasingly more and more difficult to find.
The Mayo tobacco tins were distinguished by little packages of Mayo Cut Plug tobacco shown somewhere on the character. Notice that the Mammy tin has a tiny tobacco tin tucked into her front pocket.
Mammy's dimensions are 7"x7". She is in good condition, as evidenced by the photos which clearly detail the flaws she has acquired over her 100+ years of existence. The body of the tin has minor paint loss to the litho as seen in photos, minor and subtle surface scratching (see photos), and small areas of denting to the top of mammy's head (see photo) and to her base near the cigarette pack protruding from her pocket (see photo). The body has some light soiling and has the appropriate wear at contact points. The tin has no repaint but does have some light, interior rusting to the interior of the base as well as a couple of tiny size holes which can be seen in the 12th photo (tiny holes show up as white spots in the photo). The base was held up to the bright, outdoor light to illuminate the holes- which actually make them appear more prominent than they actually are!
The base of the tin is labeled "made in factory # 42, in the 2nd District of Virginia".
**The depth of color is better viewed "in person" as opposed to what I was able to capture in a photo.**
A must-have addition to any SERIOUS Black Americana collection! A note on the rarity of this item....this is only the second Mayo Cut Plug tin that I have had the pleasure of offering for sale in my 20+ years specializing in Black Americana! The tin displays beautifully!!
Little Jasper was created by George Pal, a cartoonist who worked for Paramount Studios and who created the Puppetoons, a popular cartoon series played in movie theaters of the era prior to the screening of the feature film.
Push or pull him along, and he twirls around while the two present wooden flowers spin along with him! (One wooden flower top is, unfortunately, missing--the only imperfection to this fabulous toy!)
Overall condition is rated as excellent, barely-used condition! There is very insignificant edge wear to paint here and there, but the four wheels don't show even the tiniest trace of wear from use, suggesting that this toy quite likely sat either in a display cabinet or was packed away for its entire existence! Even the original, paper manufacturing sticker remains intact and in pristine condition!
"Little Jasper" is very RARELY found, and the opportunity to acquire him should not be overlooked!
Marked "Copyright 1924", in the lower left hand corner, this extremely hard-to-find advertising piece measures 10.5 inches wide x 13.5 inches high. Colorful and visually interesting, the heavy cardboard diecut depicts an engaging Uncle Wabash serenely strumming his banjo on his front porch! Guess the message to the consumer was, "Eat one of Uncle Wabash's cupcakes to experience your own little slice of heaven and serenity!"
Condition of this charming piece of Black Historical ephemera is quite good given its 80+ years of age!! Old water staining to bottom of the diecut does little to detract from the piece. Crease line to one cupcake edge. Appropriate age foxing to back.
A tiny bisque black boy holding a watermelon slice is seated on a throne of sea shells. The name of the location that this sea shell souvenir was meant to commemorate is worn and is no longer readable.
Two very minor chips are present as shown in photos which do not detract from the beauty of this piece!
This never-used tote bears the original paper tag which states, "Handmade by African Cripple; Ematupeni / Zimele Cripple Care Centers; Durban, England".
The artistry of the wool felt, hand-appliqued cut-outs featuring a mother and her three children is further enhanced by colorful bead work which was carefully placed for symmetry in design and form! A gorgeous piece of vintage African Artwork!
Measuring 14 long x 14 wide x 2 deep, the bag retains a "brand-new" appearance with no fading, rips, stains, or other blemishes.
Please see the companion "tea cozy" offered for sale and priced separately.
A wonderful and rarely found piece of Black Americana!
Given away by the Merrick Thread Company as a free advertising premium to encourage the purchase of its product, this mirror depicts a rather confident black boy hanging from a single strand of Merrick thread while dangling above the open jaws of a hungry alligator! At the base of the mirror the caption reads, "Fooled Dis Time Cully Dis Cotton Aint Gwine To Break".
A delightful Black Americana Advertising piece!
Unmarked, this toy is in very good condition with tiny superficial surface scratches wherever metal rubs metal during toy movement. To operate the toy, one simply squeezes the metal lever on the back, which causes the clown to hit poor Golly on the head with a mallet!
A brief history of the Golliwog doll: The Golliwog is based on a Black minstrel doll that the Victorian era illustrator, Florence Kate Upton, born in 1873, had played with as a small child in New York. Upton's Golliwog character was first introduced to the world in her 1895 book entitled The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls. Like the rag doll that inspired it, the Golliwog in her book was an ugly creature with very dark, jet black skin, large white-rimmed eyes, red clown lips, and wild, frizzy hair. Golliwogs are typically male and are generally dressed in a jacket, trousers, bow tie, and stand-up collar in a combination of red, white, blue, black, and occasionally yellow colors.
A stunning and very visually striking piece, it is labeled on back, "Fredericksburg Art Pottery USA", a pottery once located in Fredericksburg, Ohio, manufacturing between 1939-49. The back has 2 original hanging holes for placement on a wall.
Truly in wonderful, vintage condition with no cracks, chips, repairs or repaint! A fabulous addition to one's Black Americana collection!
Please note that the natural outdoor lighting used to photograph this piece has amplified the white paint flecking --the teeny white spots really show up more in these photos than on the actual piece in an indoor setting--- photo number one gives an accurate depiction of appearance.
Quite multi-purpose in nature, his legs hold spools of thread, and under his red vest, he hides a pincushion (his chest) along with 2 felt strips for needle and pin storage (his arms)! Four decorative plastic rings can be used to hold safety pins! He also sports a ring on the top of his hat to allow one to hang him on the wall.
Condition is quite fine! No rips, stains or tears with just some subtle fading to his green felt bowtie and black face and legs--all age-related. He has two, insignificant moth holes on the BACK of his red vest.
Handy to keep by the sewing machine, but also just a delightful, vintage, Black Memorabilia whimsy to decorate your sewing room!
Measuring 5 1/8 inches tall with soap dish attached, Mammy's colors- her deep red dress, mustard yellow shawl, and yellow and red polka dot head scarf- remain vibrant and brilliant with a wonderful old patina! Her face features large, dark eyes and a smiling, red mouth.
The soap dish is designed to be removed, and its anchoring cast iron peg fits into a hole atop Mammy's head. The exterior of the soap dish is cast to resemble a wicker laundry basket and is painted a slightly lighter-toned, mustard yellow.
A delightful, vintage piece of early Black Americana in premium condition!
Both dolls retain their 3 original pigtails, all tied off with tiny pieces of string. Their hand-painted lips and eyes remain in excellent condition as is the dark brown paint which covers the bisque bodies which were originally white when manufactured (the white bisque coloring is visible at the joints).
Both dolls have jointed arms and legs which allow them to assume different positions. The string holding the larger doll's legs in place has stretched over these many years resulting in looser leg joints. (This can be repaired if so desired by the new owner.)
The larger doll is dressed in a hand-made outfit consisting of an ivory, yarn-knitted petticoat under a yellow crocheted dress while the smaller doll remains au naturalle! A darling, teeny tiny pair that display quite nicely!
ENTIRELY hand-stitched, this gent is dressed in fancy striped pants, straw shoes and hat, green belt, and in a navy blue and white polka dot shirt with a tiny breast pocket that holds a teeny pack of CAMEL cigarettes, labeled with a "C"! His outfit is topped off with a red tie that is held in place by a bean tie tack!
His face is hand-stitched with careful attention noted to the creation of his molded, 3-D nose. The weather must be warm as he wearily wipes his hot neck with a red and tan checked handkerchief!
A delightful African-American Southern character doll!
Measuring just 6 ½ inches tall with a skirt circumference of 4 ½ inches, her head, torso, and arms are constructed of fabric with an inverted basket serving as her skirt. Her clothing is machine-stitched with attention paid to detail: teeny gold fabric braiding serves as earrings and necklace; delicate lace accents her skirt hem; her red shawl features zig zag stitching accents; her face is finely hand-painted.
A sweet addition to one’s Black Memorabilia or Doll collection!
Labeled #298, "Native Cane Grinders in Sunny Florida", the scene depicts 7 young Black men either chewing on a sugar cane stalk or holding a sugar cane cutting implement.
Printed on the back of the card is a brief history of sugar cane cultivation from its origins in 500 AD China to its introduction in the US in 1675 by the Jesuits. The harvesting process is also discussed.
The needlework measures approximately 15 by 14 inches and is in good condition overall, given its 120+ years of age! The central design is superb with no problems, but the two upper corners show evidence of some unraveling, particularly the upper right, which has a small hole. This little hole could be repaired, or if the piece was framed, it could be visually eliminated; however, it truly does little to detract from the central focal point of the children on the seesaw, when viewed in its entirety. The piece does show subtle evidence of typical, age-related discoloration.
An utterly wonderful and scarce example of 19th century Black Americana themed Needlework!
The little black doll retains its original cloth diaper and swaddling blanket with arm holes. The blanket shows spotted soiling. The baby doll features a nicely hand-painted face with the bisque in excellent condition with the exception of the right foot. The top front of the right foot appears to have been chipped during production as it retains the original paint that is applied over the white bisque during the manufacturing process. The doll is marked on its upper back: "made in Japan".
The 2 piece peanut shell is quite lightweight and appears to be made of layers of heat-pressed paper that was fashioned into a peanut via a mold. The two peanut shells retain the original hinges. A 1 inch long piece of the interior paper liner has separated from the peanut shell, but the separated piece remains (see photo). These delicate peanut shells are in fine condition overall!
Perhaps originally intended as an ornament, the peanut shell still retains a hanging string at its top edge. A rarely found piece of Black Memorabilia!