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!
Measuring 13 inches tall, he 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. His hair has been styled in tightly wound little ringlets.
His brown-patterned, machine-stitched shirt and pants are also vintage 1930-40's fabric, accented with two miss-matched buttons holding up cute red suspenders.
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 Artist who is now deceased.
Please take a moment to view his big sister by typing the words "Maine Doll" into the SEARCH box.
This product was produced by the lime manufacturers, Hatmaker and Place, of Canaan, Connecticut, in the late 1800s. This small company was located within a large "lime belt" that stretched from Connecticut to Vermont. Back in the day, lime powder mixed with water was quite commonly used to "white wash" or paint numerous surfaces, and it was also used as a medicinal disinfectant! The manufacture of lime from marble was one of the earliest and most successful mineral industries in Connecticut, with historical records dating the establishment of the first CT lime manufactory to 1722.
Given its age and the fragility of paper, condition of this wonderful box is quite good. The lower portion of the back side of the box evidences light surface wear with some of the printing on the lower portion of the box worn away as a result. The front of the box has a 3.25 inch long tear which resulted in the loss of the lime powder from the box.
This early piece of Black Americana advertising is EXCEEDINGLY RARE and may well be a ONE-OF-A-Kind item! The Hatmaker and Place Company was one of a number of very small manufactories located within the "lime belt" that were ALL bought out and immediately closed down by a wealthy group of investors who then created and incorporated the mammoth monopoly, The New England Lime Company, early in 1902.
This fabulous piece of Black Americana is NOT to be missed by the serious collector!
Measuring 8.5" wide x 6.6" long, the original frame is unusually embellished in the lower left hand corner with a very detailed, three-dimensional image of a wicker baby carriage fashioned from an unidentifiable medium. The carriage is missing part of the handle, part of one carriage wheel, and a teeny bit has also been lost on the upper part of that same wheel, but these missing pieces do little to take away from this embellishment's unique character. This is a unique and interesting piece, indeed!
The lithograph measures 5.5" wide x 3.5" long and is signed "Wall" in the grass under the toddler's left foot. The copyright date, 1906, and the publisher, The Ullman Mfg. Co. of New York, appear in the lower right corner. The original backside paper liner is missing.
From approximately 1915 through the 1930's, Mrs. Vargas-Alphonso, influenced by the artistry of her father who also sculpted in wax, crafted a variety of wax dolls inspired by the black folk she saw on New Orleans's street corners while growing up. Sold exclusively at the time through Harriet's, of 318 Rue Royale in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the completely hand-made, one-of-a-kind dolls are seldom found on today's market due to their inherently fragile nature, making them highly sought after in the Black Memorabilia Collectible arena.
This figure, known as the Female Vegetable Seller, is one of the more difficult to find of the New Orleans street character wax dolls. Vargas wax figures are distinctly characterized by their interesting but highly exaggerated facial features. This female Vegetable Seller wears a multi-colored kerchief on her head, a red and cream polka dot scarf around her neck, a cream shirt decorated with red flowers, a blue and white polka dot apron and pale blue skirt decorated with a sea of multi-colored flowers - all constructed of actual cloth fabric that was coated with a fine layer of clear wax to stiffen them. Balanced on her arm is a removable, wax, wicker-look basket filled with cabbage, carrots and rhubarb. The Vegetable Seller's wax body is internally supported by a wire frame through which the figure is securely attached to the wooden base.
This wonderful figure is in amazing condition for her 75+ years of age with no apparent or visible imperfections other than two missing fingers on her left hand, a condition which is quite commonly found in Vargas figures. A highly collectible piece representing 1920s New Orleans's African American culture. Vargas figures are becoming increasingly more difficult to find!!
The advertising card measures 2.75 inches x 4.50 inches and is entitled "Photography Under a Cloud". It features a fabulous litho of 5 African-American boys with exaggerated facial features who are attempting to take a photograph using an early camera. The litho is marked in the lower right corner "Bufford, Boston". The reverse side further advertises WELCOME SOAP and features two shaking hands.
The trade card is in very fine condition with nice color and some very subtle evidence of age staining as seen in photos. The card has no rips, bends, or fading, and would be lovely matted and framed!
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.
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 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!
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!
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!
Manufactured by FOSTA Products, this highly sought after piece of Black Memorabilia shows some wear to the gold lettered word, “RECIPES”, although the majority of the paint remains intact. Small paint rubs are present here and there on Aunt Jemima’s face as seen in photos. The tiny plastic knob on the left side of the box that acts as a hinge for the cover is missing, but this minor imperfection detracts little from the fabulous color contrast and visual appeal of this delightful and essential, vintage piece of early 50’s Black Americana!
Please see the RED Aunt Jemima Fosta Recipe Box available for purchase separately.
Measuring 7.50 inches long x 3.25 inches wide, this Belgian cigarette or cigar, heavy paper/cardboard box features a fabulous litho of a very dapper Black Gentleman smoking one of the "JOHN" cigarettes. Its small size offers many options for display including framing for shelf or wall enjoyment.
A truly scarce find in phenomenal condition!
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."
The sign with its flat black background, features a decorative free-hand, skill-fully executed, corner-looped edge design in old white paint advertising: SLEEPING ROOM FOR RENT.
Beneath the words 'FOR RENT', the words "WHITE ONLY" have been covered over with a layer of similar-colored background paint. Both words are still visible beneath this layer of paint with the word "WHITE" being most readily visualized.
I believe that this "paint-over" can be easily, professionally removed, and I toyed with the idea of having this done, but then felt that I should offer the sign as it is in its current state, as it is reflective of a small yet positive progression in history, in the viewpoint of at least this proprietor in our society in this time period. What prompted this change of viewpoint, which obviously occurred decades before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is forever lost to history. The place of origin of this sign is unknown.
The sign is hand-painted on Masonite, a smooth-faced, compressed wood hardboard that was invented in the 1920s and was in popular use during the Depression-ridden 1930s due to its relatively inexpensive price tag. The sign has nine holes to facilitate hanging: three on each end and three down the center of the sign. The sign retains an original surface patina with age-related crackling to the lettering. In addition to the words "White Only" being painted over, a decorative flourish centered between the words "Sleeping Room" and "For Rent" has also been painted over, reason unknown. Mild surface paint loss, scuff-marks, and edge wear are present, commensurate with a 90+year old sign.
An exquisite example of Segregation Era signage that tells a story of prejudice evolving to an acceptance of equality.
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!
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.
It has been noted that their creation was encouraged through President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Depression era program, the Work Projects Administration (WPA), in existence from 1935-1943. The WPA was designed to provide jobs across the country during the Great Depression. While most 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 dolls fell under the WPA Federal Art Project, with the goal of representing the various aspects of the culture, work and lives of the Southern black community of this time period.
The doll clad in all black depicts the VERY 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 fine, white shirt cuffs poking out from beneath his jacket 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 WPA 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 and he stands freely.
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 $295.00 each.