Constructed of hand-cut, ¼ inch wide, black painted wood, this darling little black girl has hand-painted eyes and smiling lips, and is dressed in a hand and machine stitched, cloth-stuffed, one piece, black, tan and green dress! She has a hole in each ear, a metal hanging loop atop her head and one metal hook on each shoe for hanging keys or potholders!
She is in fine condition given her 70+ years of age and has great “patina”. Some minor paint loss, a few teeny holes in her outfit, but very visually appealing Black Americana Folk Art, none the less!
One of the hand towels, "Monday", is entirely hand-cross-stitched and hand-hemmed on a somewhat heavy-weight, cream-colored, cotton muslin. It measures approximately 36 inches square and features Mammy washing clothes using a washboard in a wooden barrel. Condition is quite good with small, scattered, stain spots here and there- none in the area of the cross-stitching.
The other hand towel, "Friday", is made of a slightly lighter weight and whiter-colored, cotton muslin. It measures 28 x 29 inches, and again, it has a tiny stain spot here and there away from the cross-stitched area. The hems are machine stitched while the cross-stitching is entirely hand-completed. This towel features a humorous scene of Mammy serving/making pancakes while a pitcher of milk or water unknowingly spills behind her!
These delightful towels would look charming folded and displayed on a kitchen wall rack or could even be framed - folded so that only the cross-stitched area is visible in the frame!
As the towels are priced both separately or as a pair, please email us stating whether you wish to purchase the pair or only one of the towels so that we can customize your order form.
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!
The graphics on the cover of this box feature a smiling, happy, young African-American boy (the company's trademark) who is peering through a rip in the paper, unknowingly about to be pounced down upon by a very ugly and venomous-looking spider!
The box is in amazingly near-perfect condition despite its 100+ years of age with very insignificant soiling present as well as rubs and abrasions to box edges, all of which are more than perfectly reasonable given the age of the piece.
A very seldom-seen advertising piece featuring a Black Americana theme! The first that I have had from this company! is in excellent, all-original, perfect condition!
Given that this sign is clearly segregating services for African-American children despite the fact that this was a federal agency, one can only hypothesize that this sign was placed on the exterior of a federal building in a state that endorsed and enforced segregation.
A quick history of this agency drawn from the federal publication, "The Story of the Children's Bureau, 1912-2012":
At the turn of the 20th century, conditions for children in America were deplorable; 1 in 10 infants did not survive the first year of life, and very often, many children were forced to leave school to help support their families, oftentimes working under dangerous conditions.
Those who were orphaned were crowded into large institutions where they received little care or attention.
Lillian D. Wald, founder of the Henry Street Settlement in New York City, and her friend, Florence Kelley, are credited with conceiving the idea for a Federal agency to promote child health and welfare in 1903. Impressed with the concept, a friend of Wald’s wired President Theodore Roosevelt, who promptly invited the group to the White House to discuss it further.
After nearly ten years of discussions with multiple groups, committees, and individuals, as well as numerous failures of Congress to pass a federal bill addressing the plight of these children, Congress, in 1912, finally passed the Act creating the Children’s Bureau, charging it “to investigate and report . . . upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of children and child life among all classes of our people.”
President William Howard Taft signed the bill on April 9, 1912, and the agency continues its work today.
Measuring 24" wide x 18" tall, the sign features a beveled-edged, copper base mounted on a wood frame featuring approximately 3/8" high, raised, solid brass letters ranging from 2" to 3.25" tall. The copper backing is securely bolted onto the wood frame from the front with four brass bolts, one positioned at each corner, adding a decorative element to the sign. Each letter is securely screwed into the copper base from the back of the sign as seen in one of the photos. The sign is marked by the manufacturer, "ABELE" on the lower center of the base underneath the letters "L" and "D" in the word, "CHILDREN".
Fabulous patina to both the copper and brass with just a slight edge crimping below the "N" in "CHILDREN" as noted in photo. Condition consistent of a 100+ year old, extremely well-made sign that was mounted on the exterior of a building. Areas of the copper background surface that appear to be lighter in some areas and in some photos are the result of flash only; the color and patina of the copper background surface is even with consistent aging throughout.
Truly an extraordinary piece of African-American cultural history reflective of an era and time- on the Federal Level, no less- of continued ignorant, obtuse and repugnant belief and behavior.
Sapolio was a brand of soap noted for its unique and clever advertising, led by Artemas Ward from 1883–1908. Bret Harte, an American short story writer and poet, wrote jingles for the brand, and the sales force also included King Camp Gillette, who went on to create the fabulously successful Gillette safety razor and the razor and blades business model. Time magazine described Sapolio as "probably the world's best-advertised product" of its time period!
This pleasant trio of Sapolio Soap die cuts is in excellent condition and comes protected in an attractive, walnut-toned, oak decorative frame!
This very rarely found advertising trio together create quite a visually appealing decorative piece!
The stereoview cards are titled: "Hoeing Rice, South Carolina", "Old Slave Market At St. Augustine, Florida", "Native Cane Grinders in Sunny Florida", "Who said quail?" (young man holding English Springer Spaniels) and "Waitin Fo De End Man" (7 Boys Sitting on a Mule).
The cards are priced at $35.00 each or all five cards for $140.00. All are in fine condition, and all but "Waitin Fo De End Man" and "Who said quail?" have a detailed, historical description on the reverse side.
As each is priced separately as stated, please specify which stereoview card(s) you wish to purchase so that we can customize your order form.
Prominent facial features- eyes and brows, nose, cheekbones, lips and teeth -and tight curly hair rise from the surface of the bowl. The bowl is rather heavy for its diminutive size and has no markings. Measures 4 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches high. Condition is excellent with some tarnishing that may be cleaned if desired; our preference was to offer this 140+ year old piece in as found condition.
A rare, outstanding and highly collectible offering to add to one's advanced Black Americana collection! I have only come upon 2 of these bowls in my 40+ years in the field.
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!
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.
The Work Projects Administration was designed to provide jobs across the country during the Great Depression when hundreds of thousands were out of work. While most WPA jobs were in construction and infrastructure, the most well-known project arm of the WPA, known as Federal Project Number One, employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in arts, drama, media, and literacy projects. The five projects assigned to this consortium were: the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP), the Historical Records Survey (HRS), the Federal Theatre Project (FTP), the Federal Music Project (FMP), and the Federal Art Project (FAP).
The creation of these fabulous dolls fell under the WPA Federal Art Project, with the goal of representing and preserving the various aspects of the culture, work and lives of the Southern black community of this time period. All of the WPA black folk dolls produced for this project were placed on asphalt shingle stands, they all feature elderly folk, they all share black leather shoes, a cotton-batting stuffed body, and identical hand-stitched facial features with subtle and unique variations in expression around the eyes due to the clever positioning of the eyebrows!
The Country Preacher is fully decked out to conduct worship services, from his black, wide-brimmed top hat down to his leather shoes, the left one, unfortunately, showing a bit of wear with his socked big toe peeking out! His machine-stitched clothing is all in the color black with the exception of his white ministerial collar. The preacher holds his real-wood walking stick securely in his right hand while clutching the Holy Bible under his left arm. Note the colorful red handkerchief that was placed in a back pants pocket, peeking out between the tails of his suit coat. The fully bearded preacher wears silver, wire-rimmed spectacles surrounding his soft and compassionate eyes and offers an open smile showing his front two teeth!
The white haired, bearded male country gentleman doll is attired in machine-sewn cotton, blue-striped britches with a patch at the left knee, black suspenders and a tan striped cotton shirt with a red kerchief tied around his neck. His hat is constructed of cranberry-colored felt. Under his right arm, he holds a nicely crafted fabric chicken that has sustained a tiny bit of fabric loss to its face, while his left arm holds a wooden walking stick. His complete asphalt shingle is missing, but remnants remain firmly attached on the soles of his shoes. He bears a very sweet, surprised expression on his face as evidenced by his slightly upturned eyebrows!
The female doll in this grouping is clad in a red and white checkered, machine-stitched dress topped over with a cream-colored linen apron which evidences, here and there, some very light, age-related discoloration. Her apron pocket displays a red and white polka-dotted hankie- a lovely detail-, while a bright, multi-colored head wrap protectively covers her graying hair from dust and grime while she completes household chores. Her outfit is fully completed with the cream-colored linen chemise and pantaloons underneath her dress, and she wears black leather shoes. Even though she is working at chores, as evidenced by the wicker-straw broom she holds in her right hand, she has not forgotten to wear her brass-toned, double hoop earrings! And she wears a pleasant expression on her hand-stitched face, showing a bit of a smile and her two front teeth.
Three very special dolls, which today, are becoming very, very difficult to find, representing a snapshot of history, capturing the lives of poor southern black folk of the Depression era! The Preacher and Lady with the Broom are priced at $295.00 each, with the Country Gent Holding a Chicken priced at $275.00 to compensate for his incomplete asphalt shingle.
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!
Each of these rag books were published as alphabet and numerical teaching tools for the very young children of the wealthier class who could afford to purchase books to furnish their children's home library as well as to support their early home-tutorial education.
While clearly overtly racist in title (pickaninny) and conceptualization ("A" stands for Alabama Coon, "P" stands for Pickaninnies), the book also promotes age-old stereotypes as well ("W" stands for Watermelon, "U" stands for Uncle Tom, "H" stands for Hen-Roost, "C" stands for Cake Walk, etc) that were, unfortunately, acceptable societal references at the turn of the twentieth century.
This 116 year old book remains in all-original, very good condition with no alterations or repairs. While the front and back covers exhibit significant age-related staining, the interior pages are significantly "cleaner" and the illustrations remain very brightly colored. Interior pages present varying degrees of very light soiling, light foxing, and yellowing of linen, commensurate with age. The exterior binding has teeny spots of wear to the first layer of binding fabric which do not impact binding integrity. Top and bottom edges are subtly frayed.
This book is in truly remarkable condition for its age and in consideration of its all-cloth construction. This title is very RARELY found in today's market and is the first I have ever had the pleasure of offering for sale in my nearly 40 years dealing in this field! This is an absolute cornerstone piece to any serious Black Memorabilia collection!
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!
Condition of the litho is considered very good given the rich coloration that remains. Some minor wear does exist: 2 small tears measuring less than 1/2 inch each on either side border edge-- one in the trees on the right side and the other on the left side in the water. There are several teeny holes in the sky to the right of the bearded gentleman's fishing pole as well as one single hole in the black gentleman's hair. (Please see photos.) Some wear to the border at top as shown in photos.
Despite the noted imperfections, this lithograph displays beautifully, with rich color and crisp lines. It presently resides in an early 1920's frame; ideally from a conservation point of view, it would benefit from a re-framing with acid-free materials to continue to preserve its historic importance.
This offering features two lovely die cuts- one, a well-to-do Victorian era husband and wife out for a stroll, and the second, a colorfully dressed musical trio playing banjo, concertina (small accordion) and tambourine. The musical trio remains connected- adding to its value- and uncut, number 7568.
The products for which these die cuts were meant to endorse is unknown. The litho features a very glossy finish, and the die cuts feature an embossed, glossy finish which compliments the beautiful detailing and intense coloring of each piece. Either would look fabulous framed- individually or as a grouping! Think gift!
Approximate measurements are as follows:
The Older Couple: 6" tall x 4.25" wide
The Musical Trio: 5" tall x 4.50" wide.
Priced each at $45.
Please note that any white specks that seem prominent in the closeup photos are the result of light bouncing off the surfaces of the aged die cuts. These pieces are approximately 140 years old, and while in very good condition given their age, tiny surface imperfections may be evident here and there.
The photo of the verso of the older couple reveal no restorations or repairs. The Trio of Musicians remain very loosely adhered to a piece of black construction paper so the verso cannot be viewed. (I leave removal to the buyer.) Inspection of the front side suggests no repair or restoration to this piece.
Constructed of celluloid with a metal back and pin to allow attachment to one's clothing, this diminutive mourning pin measures just 7/8th inch in diameter.
The image remains quite crisp with surface crackling of the celluloid that does not effect the integrity of the overall structure of the pin. In the highly magnified photos, the crackling appears much, much more intrusive to the eye than when viewed simply with one's eyes, alone.
The backside of the pin carries the maker's mark and manufacturing locations, some of which is partially obscured: "T. J. M..., Dearborn, Chicago".
While the precise age of this late 18th to early 19th century old shackle is unknown, this type of ankle shackle has been documented to have been in use as far back as the 1780's by English slave traders, and was likely in continued use up until the 1860 onset of America's Civil War. In 2015, the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, England, acquired a set of ankle shackles identical to the set offered here. In referring to the museum's acquisition, the museum's Head, Dr Richard Benjamin, stated the following:
“A similar pair of shackles was purchased in Liverpool by the campaigner Thomas Clarkson as evidence against the transatlantic slave trade. They were presented in front of Privy Council in 1788 as part of its enquiry into the transatlantic slave trade. An engraving of the shackles with a detailed description also appeared in Clarkson’s antislavery pamphlet."
These hand-forged, wrought iron ankle shackles remain in all-original and untouched condition, measuring approximately 11.75 inches in length. The cuff sizes vary slightly ranging from approximate lengths of 3.75 to 4 inches and approximate widths from 2.75 to 3 inches, a set likely used on a female slave. The shackles can be described as consisting of a wrought iron bolt with a pair of loops slid onto it via holes in both ends of each loop. One end of the iron bar is fixed closed by a triangular-shaped flange large enough to prevent the loops from being removed from the bar. The other end of the bar ends in a circular "eye" that is secured closed by a hand-wrought circular "lock washer" inserted at the time the shackles were applied.
An utterly gruesome, tangible testament to the malevolence and horrors of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.