The litho was executed by John Karst with his signature appearing in the lower left hand corner. Highly detailed, the litho reproduces a bustling New Orleans' dock scene featuring numerous slaves at work.
This litho was professionally re-framed using museum-quality, acid-free materials in 2004. The frame is a classic styled, black painted, beaded, hardwood accented with a dark rose, acid-free mat.
A fascinating glimpse into life on the docks of the Mississippi River at New Orleans!
Please note that any white spots or streaking appearing in photos are the result of light reflection and are not damage to the litho.
This circa 1940's (perhaps even earlier!) Mammy has a polished cotton half body firmly stuffed with cotton batting which is attached to a fabric-covered, cardboard platform that enables her to sit. Such a doll is often referred to as a platform or toaster doll as her voluminous skirt was designed to cover unsightly kitchen appliances - most commonly the toaster!
Most notable is this Mammy's exquisitely executed, hand-embroidered face, and her elaborate dangling beaded hoop earrings!
Mammy's clothing is machine stitched and is absent of holes, rips or repairs. While all her patterned clothing retains its original and uniform coloring, all of the purple cloth has faded- obviously a less stable dye used there. When one opens the folds of the cloth, one sees the rich, deep purple it once was!
An unusually well-detailed doll for its type!
In excellent condition with the exception of some minor wear to the gilt rim and scripted banner, the cup or mug features two gentleman sharing a tub bath- one Caucasian and one African-American. The African-American gent is surrounded by musical notes indicating that he is doing quite a bit of whistling, while the Caucasian gent covers his ears in annoyance. The scripted banner above their heads reads, "Whistling Rufus." "There's music in the air."
The mug is signed in the lower right corner of the tub, "Copyright Sid Smith". The base bears the black crown and banner stamp of Allertons, England as well as the printed, red-inked number "2089".
Measuring approximately 12.5 long x 7.75 wide, this extraordinary and historical document is handwritten and appears to have been scribed by an individual other than the slave owner, Richard Dunn, as Mr. Dunn's signature is simply a "mark" labeled as such with his first and last name scribed around his "mark". The document is in excellent condition save the fold marks; this document clearly has been stored in this folded state for the past 170 years. It is suitable and ready for archival preservation- appropriate acid-free backing and matting materials with framing.
The text of the document is as follows:
"Know all men by these present that whereas my negro woman named Eliza having a strong desire for freedom and so I Richard Dunn of the county of Knox and the state of Tennessee being in possession of said woman Eliza and three children named William, Nancy and Mary Elizabeth. Now this is to show that I the said Richard Dunn for and in consideration of a certain sum of money to me in hand paid to my full and perfect satisfaction do hereby renounce my own right the right of my heirs or the right or claim of all manner of persons whosoever the said Eliza and her heirs forever to have and enjoy all the rights and privileges of a free white citizen so far as the laws of the state will permit and with regard to the law in such case made and provided it is necessary to have such matters attended to in open court I hereby (if it should not be done in my lifetime) make it obligatory in my heirs executors or administrators (as the case may be) to have the freedom of the above named woman and her children secured to them forever so as to enjoy all the rights and privileges of free white citizens so far as the law of the land will permit."
"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 7th day of Nov. one thousand eight hundred and forty nine."
Signed, sealed ?GC?.
in presence of us,
Richard Dunn his mark
Truly an extraordinarily rare piece of historical ephemera documenting a tiny light shining within a very dark period in American history. One can only be hopeful that Eliza and her three children one day achieved the freedom that this document promised.
The female is clothed in a green felt dress and head piece that are decorated with tiny blue and white beads. She wears double strand white beaded bracelets and anklets and also wears a double stranded white beaded necklace with a large red bead center. Underneath her dress in back a tiny head peeks out- a little plastic baby that she is carrying!
The male is clothed in a brown and red polka dotted skirt with 2 fur pouches, and a fur headdress. He is swathed in longer strings of beads that encircle his waist and also run diagonally across his chest. He, too, wears a double stranded beaded anklet and necklace. Larger Red beads hang from the sides of his dress as well as from the 2nd fur pouch that hangs behind him.
The arms and legs are movable at hip and shoulder joints of each doll. The Male has the following in raised lettering on his back: P. M. and J. H. B. The remainder of the marking is obscured by beading and clothing. No other markings are visible.
A visually striking pair!
Demonstrating some degree of age-related paint loss as seen in photos, Shufflin' Sam remains fully functional, shuffling his feet and twirling his blue umbrella when he is gently pulled along a flat surface. His manufacturer is unknown. On his base is written in ink, a very OLD price of $22.00!
The paint loss imperfections do not interfere with the toy's overall charming visual appeal! This exceptional toy has never been repaired or repainted; it remains in all-original condition!
Wooden toys were produced with less frequency than their tin counterparts and also tended to be less hardy, and thus, a far fewer number of them survive today as compared to the more frequently discovered tin and metal toys of the same era.
"Shufflin' Sam" is very RARELY found (The FIRST time I have ever been able to offer him!!!), and the opportunity to acquire him should not be overlooked!
This is a partial document missing its beginning and end pages, therefore, the name of the deceased slave owner and the date of the document is not known. HOWEVER, the document remains EXTRAORDINARILY RARE AND UNUSUAL as it proceeds to, first, categorize the 40 slaves using the word SLAVES instead of Negroes, and secondly, proceeds to list the male slaves BY NAME, ALONG WITH NAMES OF THEIR WIVES AND THEIR CHILDREN, with monetary value listed in the right column of the document!!!! In two instances, the number of years married is also listed! Children are labeled "Girl, "Boy", or "Infant". Total value of these 40 slaves was calculated at $24,200.00
Such documents listing ENTIRE SLAVE FAMILIES BY NAME is simply not found, as slaves were viewed as property, not individuals with rights and privileges who had wives and children, the whole of which, constituted a family. It would indeed be a phenomenal piece of history to be able to identify the plantation and/or deceased slave owner as such an estate listing speaks to an uncommon, albeit, rare and unique perspective of slave ownership. Such a listing makes this particular document all the more heart-wrenching, and it certainly begs the very sad question of whether or not these slave families were allowed to remain united and intact once the final estate disposition was conducted.
The document measures approximately 8 1/2 inches wide x 14 1/8 inches long, is double-sided and is in good condition, with fold lines evident along with some age-related foxing at top and bottom fold lines. 1 3/4 tear along the fold line of the top fold at right edge. The ink color is sepia toned (likely as a result of some fading over time) on a pale blue, vertically-ruled, heavy paper. This phenomenal piece of cultural ephemera is ready for appropriate archival preservation/framing.
The listing of slaves is on the back side of the document with the front side listing farm animals, equipment and supplies along with values- "The following property set apart for the use and benefit of the farm".
The Middle Passage Museum was the dream of Jim and Mary Anne Petty of Mississippi as well as that of an anonymous Georgian benefactor who had together compiled a collection of slave artifacts numbering over 15,000 pieces and who had hoped to find a permanent site in Mobile, Alabama, for their museum. While they formed a non-profit organization to raise funds for their hoped-for museum, their dream was never realized.
In a 2003 statement, Jim Petty remarked, "The importance of the exhibit of these artifacts is to understand the harshness of what slavery and segregation was all about. The items in the exhibit remind us of the terrible heinousness of slavery. Viewing the collection can be very emotional, but it is a tool through which we can understand, honor and respect a great culture. We want to realize that out of slavery, a great culture emerged, and carried on, and continued to strive for a better life regardless of the adverse conditions that were placed upon them."
This circa 1900-1910 Johnny Griffin item is a double image still bank that features 2 images of Johnny's head placed back-to-back. It was manufactured by the A.C. Williams Company of Ravenna, Ohio, which at the turn of the 20th century and up until World War II, was the largest toy and still bank manufacturer in the world. (At the start of WWII, production declined sharply as iron was needed for military consumption, marking the end of an era.) The bank is constructed of cast iron in two pieces which unscrew to facilitate the emptying of coins. There is a coin slot at the top of Johnny's head for use in depositing the coins. This sweet bank remains functional for banking use today or may be simply used as an attractive desk paperweight!
It is in all original condition with delightful patina- not a reproduction- and measures 3 inches high x 2 1/2 inches wide. It retains traces of the original gold leaf paint and may (or may not!) have a replaced screw.
The Johnny Griffin image- in the arena of Black Americana collectibles- should form the cornerstone of any serious Black Memorabilia collection!
To see all of the Johnny Griffin items currently available for sale, simply type “Johnny Griffin” into the search box on our web home page.
”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!
The piece has two tiny holes in its bowl suggesting that this was once screwed or fastened into another piece. Logic suggests that perhaps this may have been an advertising display item of some sort.
Remnants of red paint are easily visible on the back of the black boy's hat as well as on his lips, and the giant shoe also displays remnants of black paint. When one looks quite closely, one can see that the entire figure was at one time painted. Some light superficial rusting to the bowl is evident here and there.
Certainly a mystery piece as to purpose, this fascinating Black Memorabilia collectible remains quite intriguing and does reinforce a stereotypical occupation associated with black folk during the unfortunate Jim Crow era.
The AYER'S Cathartic Pills card is copyrighted 1883 in the lower right front corner by the J.C. Ayer Company Company, Lowell, Massachusetts. This card is brilliantly colored with a phenomenal graphic of the Black "Country Doctor" holding a small child who clutches an Ayer's Pills advertisement in her hand. The reverse side carries a testimony to the wonder of the multitude of curative properties of Ayer's Pills. The card measures 2 5/8 inches x 4 3/4 inches.
The J.P. Coat's Company card is not copyrighted but is at the latest, a circa 1890's card, and features a smiling African-American boy seated on a spool of Coat's thread tickling a bright yellow shining sun. The card measures 3 inches x 4.50 inches. The reverse side is an advertisement for J.P. Coat's Fast Black Spool Cotton thread.
The Clarke's Spool Cotton Thread advertising card is SOLD. It measures 2.75 inches x 4 3/8 inches and features an African-American boy beating a drum which advertises Clarke's MILE-END Spool Cotton. The litho is marked on back "Donaldson Bros, Five Points, New York". The reverse side further advertises Clarke's Thread.
The fourth card is another J.P. Coat's Thread card depicting a humorous scene of an African-American couple attempting to move a very stubborn mule. The card measures 3 inches x 4.75 inches. It is copyrighted on the reverse 1881 by Auchincloss & Brothers, New York. The reverse side advertises the myriad of J.P. Coat's products.
The fifth card is another Clark's Mile-End Spool Cotton advertisement that features a humorous lithograph of a well-dressed African-American man being tripped by a young Caucasian boy holding Clark's super-strong thread, and measures 2.75 inches x 4.50 inches. The reverse side is a continuation of testimony and advertisement for the product.
All five trade cards are in very fine condition with nice color and some very subtle evidence of age staining as seen in photos. The cards have no rips, bends, or fading.
These seldom-found trade cards would look fabulous framed as a group!
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 wonderful Depression Era piece features a whimsical 10 inch long cutout figure of a little wooden black girl with hand-painted smiling mouth and eyes! She is dressed in a hand-stitched cotton costume that has been stuffed with scrap fabric.
Her feet feature two brass-finish hooks, presumably to either hang keys or pot holders from. Her ears each have a punched out hole--whether this is functional or purely decorative remains a mystery. A small brass hoop threaded through a piece of fabric which was then tacked to the back of the girl's head facilitates hanging on a wall. Overall condition is fine with age-related soiling to the dress and minor paint wear typical of a 70 year-old-piece.
One of my favorite hand-made pieces with true folk art appeal!
This circa 1920-30's Johnny Griffin letter opener is constructed in solid brass. It remains functional for such use today or may be simply used as an attractive desk paperweight!
It is in all original condition with delightful patina- not a reproduction- no replaced parts- and measures 10 1/4 inches long. Remnants of green paint are visible on Johnny's shirt. Interestingly, this piece also doubles as an advertising piece as on the reverse side it is impressed, “I. C. Herman + Co., 507-9 Broadway, NY (New York)”.
Johnny Griffin Black Americana collectibles should form the cornerstone of any serious Black Memorabilia collection!
To see all of the Johnny Griffin items currently available for sale, simply type “Johnny Griffin” into the search box on our web home page.
The neck opening, arm openings and the hem of her cream and red flowered dress are all hand-stitched. Her head and torso, cut from a piece of wood, are completely hand-painted, and the facial details and head scarf details were executed with a very fine-tipped paintbrush and were very nicely done! Mammy's dress contains a ball of old cotton string which is allowed exit through a small circular hole cut into her mouth.
Paint condition is very good with only slight edge wear and a couple of very subtle, tiny surface scratches. There are no rips, tears or wear to Mammy's dress, but some small staining splotches on the left side edges of her dress in front and in back are evident. A small eyelet was screwed into the top of Mammy's head with a string attached to allow for hanging and easy access.
This seldom found copy was originally published in 1932 by Rand McNally & Company of New York.
This copy has superficial scratches to the front and back covers, as well as surface soiling, and wear on book cover edges.(see photos). The front cover has a slight tear at the crease that does not effect strength or integrity of the cover board. A couple of pages have minor staining. The binding is super-tight and all pages remain present.
Topsy's adventures are divided into three chapters in length, approximately 59 numbered pages. Book is filled with a variety of black-ink and black and red illustrations as represented in photos. The story of Topsy was likely inspired by the Little Black Sambo stories which originated at the turn of the 20th century. PLEASE NOTE: in the photos, the printing seems light and faded- not so! It is merely the function of over-lighting or light reflection.
A wonderful and truly RARE book not to be missed!
Please see the other Topsy Turvy book available for separate purchase, a 1938 copy of Topsy Turvy's PigTails.
In lovely condition with age crackling to the backside of the seashell, this stunning piece appears to have never been used for its original purpose as a hanging wall planter. The black paint is in impeccable condition and any white dots that appear in photos are the result of light reflection off of teeny glaze imperfections and are NOT chips, rubs or scratches to the surface. The gold stippling to the seashell is perfect!
The piece has a hole in the back to facilitate wall-mounting or it may be easily displayed on a shelf.
A very seldom found piece of vintage Black Memorabilia that is truly stunning in appearance!
Measuring 18 inches tall, Mammy is constructed of black, machine-stitched, vintage 1930-1940's, polished cotton which has been stuffed with cotton batting. Facial features have been hand-embroidered, are quite expressive, and are exceedingly well done. Her hair has been styled in six pigtails adorned with bows.
Mammy's red, machine-stitched dress is also vintage 1930-40's fabric and features the classic Grecian Key design in white.
A delightful piece of Black Memorabilia Folk Art! This wonderful, 1940's-vintage-look, one-of-a-kind, Artisan Doll was constructed in the 1990's by a Maine Folk Art crafts-person who is now deceased.
Please take a moment to view her little brother by typing the words "Maine Doll" into the SEARCH box.
George Thompson’s missionary service to Africa occurs approximately 7 years after the MENDI natives of the AMISTAD were accompanied by missionaries on their return to Africa. He serves this very same mission, now in the of colony Sierra Leone, a colony which was established to serve as refuge for the liberated Africans taken from slave ships. 356 pages long, this journal provides a fascinating account of all aspects of the Mendi culture seen through the eyes, however biased in his mission to convert the Africans to Christianity, of a genuinely well-meaning gentleman of his time. Condition: complete, tight binding, foxing throughout, spine wear as shown in picture.
Thompson states, “It is hoped that the following narrative may, in the hands of GOD, awaken a desire in many hearts to go to Africa, for the purposes of preaching, teaching, farming, building houses, mills, manufactories, etc., and thus assist in making long despised and neglected AFRICA, what it is capable of becoming, THE GARDEN OF THE WORLD.”