”Black Topsy” is dressed in a striking pink, green, orange, and black cotton, geometric-patterned dress- very Art Deco! Her mouth and nostrils are stitched in red thread and she has white pearl button eyes.
The Caucasian doll is dressed in a cotton lavender dress- also with a geometric, Art Deco pattern in black, green and yellow. Her blouse and bandanna are lavender sateen. Her entire face has been finely stitched. She has pink nostrils and mouth, black eyebrows, and her black stitched eyes have pretty lashes that highlight her silvery gray irises! She has the very palest of staining to her face above her nostrils, but it is barely noticeable, and there is some light fading to her sateen bandanna.
Condition and detailing of both sides of this Topsy Turvy is really quite extraordinary, setting her apart from other Topsy’s!! A wonderful addition to one’s doll or Black Memorabilia collection!
Her composition face is in impeccable condition with sharp, well-drawn painted facial features. Her face is further accented by 3 darling curls peaking out from under her brightly colored cloth bandanna!
Her body is machine-stitched cotton fabric stuffed with sawdust. On the back of her right thigh, her place of origin is stamped: "POLAND". Her little flowered skirt is also machine stitched and is the only piece of clothing that may be removed.
Condition is superb with the exception of a hand-stitched repair to the seam line of her left foot where the foot is joined to the leg. Does not detract.
Mammy's paper memo pad is original to the piece; however, she is missing her original pencil which would slip into the hole in her right hand and down into the broom top to form the broom handle! A present day pencil may be used as a replacement.
Condition is quite good with some tiny, age-related, surface and edge flecks as seen in photos. No repaint, cracks, repairs, no breaks! No maker's mark.
The doll clad in all black depicts the rarely-found, black country preacher out for an afternoon stroll with his wooden walking stick in one hand and the Holy Bible clutched in the other. The preacher wears a machine-stitched suit thoughtfully detailed with white shirt cuffs poking out of his sleeves and the white reverend's collar at his neck. His left shoe reveals a hole with a sock-covered toe poking through! The preacher's stove pipe style hat is placed snugly on his head covering most of his gray hair although his full gray facial beard features prominently. His embroidered facial features, characteristic of these dolls, are further accented with "steel-rimmed" style eye glasses. The 1.5 square inch bible actually has real pages! Also characteristic of this type of doll is a small square of asphalt shingle glued to the feet to serve as a stand. The doll's body is well-stuffed with cotton batting.
The gray-hair and bearded, chicken-toting black country gent doll is also attired in machine-stitched clothing and additionally shares a cotton-bating stuffed body, embroidered facial features, and an asphalt shingle tile stand. He wears cotton britches detailed with double knee patches and suspenders along with a blue and cream striped cotton shirt and a red and white polka dot kerchief around his neck. His hat is constructed of black-colored felt. This country gent holds a finely crafted and detailed brown chicken under his right arm, while his left hand clutches a wooden walking stick.
Two very special dolls that represent a snapshot of history, capturing the lives of poor southern black folk of the Depression era.
The dolls are priced at $255.00 each.
The Aunt Jemima offered here is machine stitched and lightly stuffed with cotton batting and holds a stack of her famous pancakes.
She retains her vivid, brilliant color and is free of rips, tears, holes with her only imperfection- a light, red smudge evident on her apron above the “t” in Aunt and “J” in Jemima.
A very interesting and iconic doll that displays quite nicely with her vivid colors as seen in photos! **Please note that any white marks seen in photos are flash reflections only and are not indicative as damage to the doll.**
Mammy's wonderful, smiling face is hand-stitched and her clothes are machine sewn. Her blouse is seersucker, and her head, arms, skirt, apron, and cap are cotton. Her head, arms, and upper torso are stuffed with cotton batting. The natural bristle broom fills out both Mammy's torso and skirt & the wooden broom handle extends upward through her neck and head.
Mammy is in all original condition with no mends or repairs. The structural integrity of the broom remains quite sound, and Mammy, herself, is free of holes and tears. Her once-red skirt has now faded to pink. Her white cotton apron and cap have been cleaned removing nearly all traces of old stains, dirt, and dust. Photo number 2 shows her outfit BEFORE cleaning; all other photos reflect her appearance after cleaning.
A fabulous piece of vintage Black Americana, and a seldom seen form of the Black Mammy Doll!
This 1920-30s, hinged, wooden game piece box features an original, hand-executed, ink-on-paper drawing of a black figure in a tuxedo that has been pasted to the box cover. The drawing has been preserved with a shellac covering.
The box contains fifty, sequentially numbered 1-50, wooden game pieces painted red and white. The game pieces are in mint condition and appear to have only been lightly used. They remain firmly in place within the box with the support of non-stick, archival tape which may be easily removed without damage to the game pieces, if desired.
The game box measures 5.25 inches wide x 10.50 inches long x 1 inch high.
Truly a one-of-a-kind piece of vintage Black Memorabilia! Displays wonderfully!
The String Holder is stamped "JAPAN" on the back side, and it has a hole in the center of her mouth to accommodate the string! This wonderful piece has expected and typical glaze crazing and even comes complete with vintage string! On the upper right hand side of her forehead, these is a small white spot about 1/4 of an inch long where the face paint was not applied prior to factory glazing (see photo)- a tiny, insignificant manufacturer imperfection that does not detract from this rare piece! The entire piece is glazed with the exception of Mammy's lips which are cold-painted (meaning that the paint was applied after firing). As such, this area of paint would be the most vulnerable to wear, and Mammy does have 2 microscopically-sized specks on her upper lip where the paint has come off. Too tiny to be picked up in a photo!
Please note that photos were taken with a flash, so any white markings on the piece are flash reflections only and not imperfections.
Great condition with some corner wear, but please note that all pages have completely separated from the center seam so are no longer in "booklet" form. No missing pages though!
A difficult item to find in today's market!
Measuring approximately 10 inches long x 8 inches wide, this extraordinary and historical document is handwritten and was executed on April 29, 1861, just 12 days after Virginia chose to secede from the Union on April 17, 1861.
The document is in excellent condition save the fold marks; this document clearly has been stored in this folded state for the past 153 years. It is suitable and ready for archival preservation- appropriate acid-free backing and matting materials with framing. In the upper left hand corner, the local stationery store's embossed imprint is visible and reads: “S & P Lawrence Superfine”.
The text of the document is as follows:
“Know all men by these presents, that A A Cowdery, of the city of Norfolk, for and in consideration of the faithful services of my negro man George Danley, do hereby emancipate and set free the said negro man George Danley and absolve him from all claim to my service; and for the consideration aforesaid hereby warrant unto him his freedom against the claim of myself and of all persons whomsoever to witness my hand and seal at the city of Norfolk, this 29th day of April 1861.”
A A Cowdery (SEAL)
“City of Norfolk, to wit
Simon S. Stubbs (sp?) a Notary Public in the city aforesaid in the state of Virginia hereby certify, that A.A. Cowdery, whose name is signed to the writing above (?) bearing (?) date on the 29th day of April 1861, has acknowledged the same before me in the city aforesaid. Given under my hand this 29th day of April 1861.”
Simon. S. Stubbs
Truly an extraordinarily rare piece of historical ephemera documenting a tiny light shining within a very dark period in American history. If only the circumstances and "story" surrounding the execution of this document were known today!
Some relevant family history that was very kindly provided by extant Cowdery-Taylor family ancestors:
Alexander Augustus Cowdery was born May 11, 1817, in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of Jonathan Cowdery of Sandisfield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and Elizabeth Reddick of White Haven, England. Jonathan Cowdery was a career physician surgeon in the United States Navy, serving until his death in 1852.
Alexander Augustus Cowdery was uncle to Walter Herron Taylor, who served as Lieutenant Colonel in the Confederate Army as Aide-de-Camp and then Adjutant-General under General Robert E. Lee, becoming one of Lee's most trusted aides and an intimate friend. Taylor later authored two works documenting his wartime experiences: "Four Years With General Lee" and "General Lee, His Campaigns in Virginia, 1861-1865".
The folder is undated and was never mailed. Some edge wear evident at corners and some slight separation at the seams of individual cards. While some photos may appear a bit blurry, this is a function of photography and not condition. All postcards are crisp and clear!
The Real Photo postcard folder features the lyrics of "Dixieland" and 18 full color scenes of industry common in the South during this period: cotton picking and production, tapping pine trees for turpentine production, watermelon farming, Razorback Hog farming and sugarcaning. All photos feature African-American laborers.
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!
This wonderful Depression Era piece features a whimsical 10 inch long cutout figure of a little wooden black mammy with hand-painted “surprised” mouth and eyes! She is dressed in a machine-stitched cotton costume with great yellow ric-rac accenting —a wonderful kerchief on her head, and a cute little apron.
Her feet feature two brass-finish hooks, presumably to either hang keys or pot holders from. Overall condition is fine with minor paint wear to her face as seen in photos--typical of a 70 year-old-piece.
One of my favorite hand-made pieces with true folk art appeal!
The folder was mailed, but remains in fine condition given its age. Some edge wear evident at corners. While some photos may appear a bit blurry, this is a function of photography and not condition. All postcards are crisp and clear!
The Real Photo postcard folder features the lyrics of "Dixieland" and 18 full color scenes featuring stereotypical and actual depictions of African-American southern life. Some politically incorrect and derogatory captioning. Scenes depicting the cotton and tobacco industries are also featured.
This fabulous game features a brightly colored lithograph target depicting the dapper, banjo-playing, "Jolly Darkie" with a gigantic mouth.
The target box remains in very fine condition, appearing to have seen little, if any, use. It has four openings through which one was to toss the four wooden balls that the game originally came with, but which are no longer present. It measures 13 inches tall x 6 3/4 inches wide x 1.5 inches deep.
As evident in the photos, the box cover shows expected wear given its 100+ years of age, with some pencil writing in the mouth and some surface soiling.
As indicated earlier, the extant game pieces do not retain a copyright year or maker name; however, this game is very similar to two other Milton Bradley Jolly Darkie Target games that were manufactured from 1890-1910, suggesting that this game was also manufactured during this era by Springfield, Massachusetts' Milton Bradley Company. The directions to this game are not present, and it is quite possible that the manufacturer and manufacture date both appeared on the direction card-- as has been found to be the case on other Milton Bradley games of this era.
The game cover as well as the JOLLY DARKIE target box display absolutely wonderfully and would be a colorful asset to one's vintage black Americana game collection!
Constructed of tin with a tin embossed and lithographed image and a glass cover, this game has a paper advertisement on back which has been partially impaired presumably due to the removal of an old price sticker. The puzzle is in all-original condition with the embossed graphic remaining free of scratches and abrasions. (Please disregard any light or shiny spots in photos which are due to flash reflection off of the glass.)
An interesting image and a delightful piece of early Black Memorabilia!
The puzzle is constructed of a cardboard paper material with Aunt Jemima’s image lithographed on the front and product advertising on the back. This puzzle toy was a “give-away” item--- customers could write away for the “free” puzzle by sending two 2 cent stamps for a “set of Aunt Jemima and her Pickaninny Dolls”.
Aunt Jemima is in all ORIGINAL condition and has no age imperfection to speak of other than minor creasing near the three string holes, undoubtedly created when someone long ago attempted to solve the puzzle---“separate the two cardboard pieces without untying the string!”
This RARELY found piece of early Black Memorabilia and/or Aunt Jemima advertising would be fabulous framed between two pieces of glass! A must-have for the serious Black Americana collector! These Aunt Jemima paper string advertising puzzles are simply not seen anymore- they are very rarely found in today's market due to the fragile nature of their composition!