From 1901-1924, Bruckner produced this original, 12" Topsy Turvy doll for Horsman's Babyland Rag Doll line that features Caucasian, "Betty", on one end and African American, "Topsy", on the other. The inspiration for this doll is based on the character of Topsy in Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic 1852 novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin".
The Bruckner Topsy Turvy doll was advertised in a 1907 Babyland Rag Doll catalog as follows:
"TOPSY-TURVY---What is this?
Looks like just a pretty miss.
But turn her over and you'll find,
She is quite another kind.
First she's White and then she's Black,
Turn her over and turn her back.
Topsy that side--Betty this--
Yet complete, each little Miss."
The detail on this hard to find classic doll is lovely. Both heads indeed have the pressed, molded mask faces with lithographed features. Topsy's face is in mint condition! Betty's face is very fine with superficial rubs to the flesh-toned coating of her mask; her lithographed facial features, however, remain beautiful. (Such rubs are not unexpected as these particular doll masks are, unfortunately, prone to rubbing.)
Grinning Topsy has red bows tied to her black mohair braided pigtails which are tucked into her red headscarf. Her red blouse, which matches her head scarf, is trimmed with cream banding around the sleeve and neck edges. The cream scarf she wears around her shoulders tucks into her very full, red/cream checked, gingham skirt. Flip her over, and....
Betty's more subtle Anglo face and her hair are lithographed. She wears the same red/cream checked gingham fabric of which both her dress and ruffled bonnet are constructed. Over her very full gingham dress, Betty also wears a sheer, ruffled pinafore.
Both dolls have the typical "mitten" hands of the stuffed rag dolls of this era. There are no other difficulties to report other than the rubs to Betty's face and some tiny, stray (original) glue spots here and there. No rips, tears, soiling, or odors, and she has been stored in a smoke-free home. The photos show it all- these two girls are a charming pair! A very difficult to find doll in near excellent condition!
Mammy’s sweet little face has been hand-painted, and she has been nicely dressed in a red and white polka dot dress with linen apron and red flowered head scarf. She holds a tiny, plastic, white baby in her left arm who wears a linen gown edged with lace.
Condition of this wonderful miniature Mammy is very good! With the exception of her nipple face which has contorted a bit due to the ravages of time, she is in delightful condition!
While some photos may appear a bit blurry, this is a function of photography and not condition. All postcards are crisp and clear! The six comical cartoon postcards are much more brightly and vividly colored than the photos depict. The four photo postcards also feature titles describing their subjects.
A delightful grouping that would be much-appreciated framed!
As each is priced separately (see photos for pricing), please email us stating which item you wish to purchase so that we can customize your order form.
This pleasant trio of Sapolio Soap diecuts is in excellent condition and comes protected in an attractive, walnut-toned, oak decorative frame!
Quite visually appealing!
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!
Featuring a delightful, cartoon-like caricature of a black man, this board is in very good condition with minor edge wear, slight age-discoloration and a teeny missing piece of the front rim of the hat.
An interesting, seldom-found piece of Black Memorabilia!
Please disregard reflections in photos that are due to the presence of protective plastic wrap.
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!
These signs were found in March of 1971, inside the abandoned and decaying basement of the former Philadelphia Enameling Works factory at the corner of 13th and Vine Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The gentleman from whom these signs were purchased, bought these segregation signs along with hundreds of others signs of all types found in the basement of this former factory (see last photo) and has very kindly written a letter of provenance which has been photographed here and which will be included with these signs upon their sale.
These historic signs are enameled on both sides, and on the front sides are written, "COLORED MEN" and "COLORED WOMEN". The signs feature black lettering on a white background.
The signs are in all-original condition with some very minor discoloration and very unobtrusive edge discoloration pinpoints and some enameling loss here and there as seen in photos.
Extremely RARE, UNUSED, one-of-a-kind, museum-worthy pieces of Black American history that are quite likely the only ones of their kind extant today! Condition is amazing!
Please take a moment to view additional segregation signs by simply by typing the word "segregation" into the SEARCH box on our homepage.
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 of English parents, 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.
Measuring 21.5 inches long, this delightful and appealing cloth Golli is unmarked and is thought, by his original and quite elderly owner, to have been made in the mid 1940's! (She speculates that he could even be a bit older than that, but she remembers not acquiring him until after the end of WWII.)
His nose and mouth are hand-stitched and he has round, cloth covered button eyes- the pupils were hand-colored using black ink! His nicely coiffed, black hair appears to have been styled from soft, "stuffed animal-type" fur! Rather interesting and ingenious! He has a machine-stitched, cotton batting stuffed, black sock cloth body. His colorful wardrobe is also machine stitched- green wool mourning coat, gold vest, and red and white polka-dotted cotton pants and matching bow tie!
He is in wonderful condition with the exception of some tiny moth holes to the back of his mourning coat (see photos) as well as another tiny moth hole to the back of his right arm and back right pants leg. The polka dot clothing shows the slightest hint of fading. His dark black fur hair also shows some age-related color change to brown at the roots. Hmm...then again...perhaps he's simply overdue for another hair coloring appointment at the Salon!
A very sweet addition to one's Black Memorabilia or Golliwogg collection!
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!
Remaining in its original frame with original wooden and paper backing, this watercolor retains its framer's identifying sticker which reads, "Staton's Art Shop 5409 Germantown Ave." Perhaps this Germantown address indicates Philadelphia area origin? In the interests of proper conservation, the new owner should re-frame this lovely piece with appropriate acid-free materials.
Please ignore any white streaks seen in photos; these are the result of light reflection off of the glass.
A lovely watercolor- nicely executed!
Mammy’s sweet little face has been carefully hand-stitched, and she has been nicely dressed in a red and green plaid dress with linen apron and red flowered head scarf. She holds a bunch of sticks in her right arm- presumably to add to a fire.
Condition of this wonderful miniature Mammy is excellent! Oftentimes, the nipple dries up and deteriorates, so finding a nipple doll in such fine condition is truly a treat!
Measuring 4 inches wide x 3 3/4 inches high, the black color-toned set was manufactured by A.D. Handy, Stereopticon & Supplies, Boston.
The four slides tell the story, through drawings and southern black dialogue, of a black boy attempting to steal a watermelon (slide 1). Four other black boys hiding behind a fence and watching, spook him, making the boy think there is a ghost behind him (slide 2)! Dropping the watermelon in fright, he dashes off for safety (slide 3). The shattered watermelon is then left on the ground, already broken into bite-sized pieces for the 4 other boys to enjoy!
This offering is truly an exceptionally scarce Black Americana collectible!!
She has a muslin, machine-stitched body which is stuffed with sawdust. Her feet are black cotton. Upper arms are also stuffed muslin with composition forearms.
Her curly-haired head is molded composition; eyes, nostrils, and lips are handpainted-- note the BLUE EYES!!
She wears a muslin slip under a Victorian styled, machine-stitched, tiered ruffled dress. Her clothing has been professionally laundered but does remain darkened with age in some areas- the photos make these dark areas appear more prominent than they are when viewed by the naked eye.
Condition: Difficult to photograph due to camera glare off the composition, her head remains in pristine, all original condition- no repaint- with just a couple of very teeny white flecks here and there! The breastplate has an old glue repair which appears to be quite solid. The repair is not visible unless the doll is undressed. Superficial wear to each thumb is evident as is seen in photos. No cracking or peeling to composition. She was very well cared for over the years!
A very lovely and rare Black doll!
Fabulous colored and black and white illustrations as represented by photos adorn this 26 page book! The book features the adventures of a little Southern boy who lives with his gran'mammy and gran'daddy in a log cabin set down in a cotton field.
Interior pages are in very nice condition, are clean and bright and are tightly bound together. The hard bound cloth covers are in fine condition, with slight wear to cover spine edges and book corners typical of a book of its age. There are two drip marks at spine and a few on the rear. Otherwise clean. A 1" tear at top of frontispiece is present along with a tiny one at bottom. No other damage. An early owner's name and gift date is inscribed in ink on the interior front cover. This is a first edition as later editions had the cloth board without the color pastedown. Illustrated on every page, alternating color and black and white.
A charming addition to one's Black Americana collection, and a black-themed children's book that is very rarely found in today's collectible market!!