These two folk art pieces came straight from the 93 year old great grandma who played with them as a child!
While the heads were constructed from dried apples painted black, the bodies were cut from various pieces of sponge which were then hand-sewn together. Hands were cut from pink--- and not brown or black felt--very interesting---while the teeth were formed from tiny white beads, and the white fuzzy hair fashioned from nothing more than small, cotton batting pieces. Eyes are glued-on googly eyes.
The homemade clothing is nicely constructed via a combination of hand and machine sewing. Mammy's green, teal and rust flowered dress is embellished with a bit of lace at the sleeves, and she also wears a fancy, white eyelet petticoat and a soft pink crocheted shawl. She is barefoot. Pappy's light blue shirt features 3 button detailing, and he wears denim pants and black felt shoes and hat with a red felt vest.
Condition is quite fine with no observable issues! No odors, rips, stains or missing parts. A very sweet pair!
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 female doll depicts a black mammy out for a stroll with black umbrella in hand. This sweet gentlewoman wears a red and white polka dot kerchief on her head covering most of her gray hair and has embroidered facial features – characteristic of these WPA dolls. Also characteristic of this type of doll is a small square of asphalt shingle glued to the feet to serve as a stand. This doll has (not uncommonly) lost her asphalt shingle long ago, but a bit of the original shingle is still attached to the soles of both shoes. Clothing, with the exception of her neutral-striped knit-fabric sweater, is machine-sewn cotton with careful detailing right down to the red hankie poking out of her apron pocket. She also wears gold hoop earrings! Her body, which is well-stuffed to be anatomically correct, is black cotton fabric stuffed with cotton batting.
The white haired and bearded male country gentleman doll is similarly attired in machine-sewn cotton britches with a patch at the knee and suspenders along with a tan cotton striped shirt and red kerchief around his neck. His hat is constructed of cranberry-colored felt. Under his right arm, he holds a nicely crafted chicken that has sustained a tiny bit of fabric loss to its face. His left arm once held a wooden walking stick which is long gone, but alternatively, he now uses his free hand to hold the arm of his lovely lady! His asphalt shingle is also missing with remnants evident of it present on the soles of his shoes.
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 $245.00 each. AS these two dolls were originally purchased out of a lovely and quite comprehensive doll collection as a PAIR, if desired, they may also be purchased as a PAIR at a very special discounted price of $395.
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.
This late 1930's toy is the later version of the two Mammy walker toys produced by this company. It is marked on back just under the white apron tie, "Lindstrom Corporation Made in USA". The marking is very faint, and thus, difficult to read without scrutiny. The contrast in this photo has been enhanced so that the manufacturer labeling is easier to visualize online.
Mammy shuffles along quite vigorously via her original wind-up mechanism while she holds her broom and quickly "sweeps" back and forth.
Over 70 years old, Mammy is still quite sturdy as she was well made, but she does show some minor scratching and paint loss from play over the years as the photos indicate. Her coloring remains brilliant!
The box remains in very good condition with minimal wear to seams considering its age. Coloring is strong. One flap at the top of the box is detached but present.
Sweeping Mammy is a must-have addition to any Black Memorabilia Toy collection!
The puppet, itself, is 14 inches tall and is colorfully dressed in blue and white checked pants, red shoes, orange and whit polka dot shirt, straw hat and red patterned neck scarf.
The puppet's face is composition and bears evidence of some age-related crackling as noted in photos. He has a tiny piece if composition missing on the left side of his neck partially covered by his neck scarf, so it is very difficult to notice. He bears a manufacturer stamp on the bottom of his right foot, but it is partial and unreadable. His hands which hold colorful pink straw maracas are a heavy molded plastic.
The puppet is free of stains, dirt and odor. He retains his original black strings and wooden airplane controller!
Very few of these pieces survive due to the high level of use they encountered. This piece has obviously not seen much if any use as the paint remains absolutely perfect! A single, very minor, very tight age crack is present at the outer edge of the handle bottom. Two superficial craze lines noted: one at the base of the right-side tulip, the second noted at the "R" in "SPOONREST". No other imperfections.
This fine and very hard-to-find piece of Black Memorabilia is an essential addition for the advanced collector! Fabulous detailing!!
Four of the hand towels were made by the same individual, and are entirely hand-cross-stitched and hand-hemmed on a somewhat heavy-weight, cream-colored, cotton muslin. They measure approximately 36 inches square.
These four towels are as follows: "Monday"- featuring Mammy washing clothes in a wooden barrel, "Tuesday" featuring Mammy hanging clothes to dry on the clothesline, "Wednesday" featuring Mammy mending clothes, and "Thursday" featuring Mammy delivering a hand-picked, flower bouquet to a neighbor. Condition of all four towels is quite good with small, scattered, stain spots here and there- none in the area of the cross-stitching.
The fifth 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 but the cross-stitching is 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 each towel is priced separately, please email us stating which item you wish to purchase so that we can customize your order form.
Vividly colored, this Black Memorabilia themed piece features a smiling black girl seated on a large straw basket while holding 2, smaller-sized, flower-filled straw baskets in each arm. The young girl is nicely attired in a ruffled blue and yellow dress and wears red sandals, white lacy gloves, and a rose-accented, straw bonnet!
The diecut is in excellent condition! A very unusual find!
This particular estate document is extraordinarily unique and atypical in comparison to other estate documents of this period as it lists 15 SLAVES among the articles of property, and it actually labels these individuals as SLAVES as opposed to the much more common and typical practice of listing "Slaves" as "Negroes". The slaves are listed on the back side of the document with all other inventory listed on the front side.
Each slave is listed by first name with the corresponding current market value written to the left of the name, with the total market value of the 15 slaves named at $8600-- quite a hefty sum when one considers that the remainder of the estate (furniture, livestock, transportation and work vehicles, tools, etc) is valued in total at $980.75. Also listed in the inventory was 13,000 pounds of seed cotton, indicating that Lewis Mattair owned a sizable cotton plantation, clearly farmed by the slaves.
Lewis Mattair is noted in the 1860 Federal Census as a resident of Suwanee County, Florida; the 1860 Federal Census- Slave Schedules references Lewis Mattair owning 28 male and female slaves, ranging in age from 4 to 58. Lewis Mattair is listed in the 1865 Florida Tax records, but his name does not appear in any archived state or federal records after that year. Thus, it is presumed that this document dates from or just prior to 1865, the year that the Civil War ended.
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."
Detailing in construction sets this mammy doll apart! Her creation was very carefully executed through a combination of hand and machine stitching. Mammy was lovingly dressed in clothing made from old, red, black, and white-patterned handkerchiefs, while both her body and her interesting pair of black pantaloons were constructed of old, black stockings. Detailing was clearly important to the creator--an additional and elegant surprise is the cream-colored, cotton petticoat edged with lace!
Mammy's face is hand-embroidered, and she wears brass-colored, plain, hoop earrings. Her body is machine-stitched together and is stuffed with cotton batting.
Mammy is in near perfect condition with the exception of minor wear (not holes) to her stocking-constructed left foot as well as the underside of her right, stocking-constructed hand. (This wear to the fabric may well be the very reason the stockings were used to construct Mammy as they may have been discarded from personal use. Please refer to photos to view wear.)
Mammy is simply full of charm with lovely and creative detailing! A quite difficult-to-find-in-this condition, 80+-year-old, cloth mammy doll!
Constructed of tin with a cardboard lithographed image and a glass cover, this game has a mirrored back. The puzzle is in all-original condition with the graphic remaining free of scratches and abrasions. The mirrored back shows evidence of subtle, minor scratching. (Please disregard any light or shiny spots in photos which are due to flash reflection off of the glass.)
A delightful piece of early Black Memorabilia!
Constructed with care and skill, Mammy's floral dress, white apron and white under-pantaloons were neatly machine stitched. Her facial features--- eye brows, eyes, nose, and lips --- are hand-stitched with embroidery thread. She has yarn-constructed black curls peeking out from under her red and white polka dot head scarf. Her arms, torso and head are stuffed with cotton or cloth scraps with the torso securely tucked over the top of the clothespin and into the pantaloons. Her black-painted clothespin legs are hidden under her long skirt.
A very sweet little doll in wonderful all-original condition-- no repairs, rips, stains or odor. Displays quite nicely!!
Mammy’s sweet little face has been carefully hand-painted, and she has been nicely dressed in a red dress featuring flowers and watering cans, a linen apron, a linen under-slip(not usually found on nipple dolls) and a red head scarf. Her apron is entirely hand-sewn as is the hem of her dress which is also atypical.
Condition of this wonderful miniature Mammy is very good! With the exception of her nipple face which has dried out a bit due to the ravages of time making her look very much the old-aged mammy, she is in delightful condition!
(It was difficult to get a good photo of the nipple base due to the unusual addition of the linen under-skirt which made it impossible to turn the skirt completely inside out.)
Entitled A New Story of Little Black Sambo, this tale picks up the story of the original Little Black Sambo tale with Little Sambo's mother, Black Mumbo, exclaiming that Sambo, after almost losing his best Sunday clothes to the tigers, would- from now on- only be allowed to wear his every day clothes. Now very unhappily dressed in only a grass skirt, a pouting and naughty Sambo decides to run off into the jungle once again without permission, and climbs a tree to gather coconuts. Two hungry tigers soon arrive threatening to eat Little Black Sambo, trapping him up in the tree for the entire day! Eventually, Sambo's friend, Tusker the Elephant arrives, successfully chasing off the tigers, saving Sambo. Tusker carries Sambo back home, where his worried parents await him. Relieved that Sambo is finally safely home, Black Mumbo decides not to punish him too harshly by spanking him with a hairbrush for running off without permission and all alone. The conclusion of the tale then moves forward one month, one week and one day before Little Black Sambo is finally allowed to wear his fine clothes once again!
Although no author is attributed, it is thought by some that this continuation tale of Little Black Sambo was co-authored by Clara Bell Thurston and Earnest Vetsch, who illustrated Whitman Publisher's earliest and first known edition of this story version in 1926.
The hallmark of this version of A New Story of Little Black Sambo is the utterly fabulous illustrations that make this edition stand out. The vibrant colors used, the stunning detail applied, make each of the 12 full color plates simply gorgeous works of art!<> This softcover book is constructed of very sturdy, heavy, high quality stock which likely accounts for its very good condition. No fading of color, writing or missing pages. Binding is tight with all three original staples present although the cover pages have separated at the bottom to just above the lowest staple. Some page edges are subtly worn with minor creasing, and age-related, light soiling is present.
This very rarely found continuation of the original Little Black Sambo story is a must have addition for the collector of Little Black Sambo books! Given the extraordinary quality of the illustrations, this is a book that one will want to display- under protective cover, of course!
To see all of the Little Black Sambo items currently available for sale, simply type “Sambo” into the search box on our website homepage.
This circa 1920-30's Johnny Griffin tie rack is constructed in solid brass. It remains functional for such use today; however, only two of the five original tie hooks remain.
It is in all original condition with fabulous patina- not a reproduction- no replaced parts- and measures 13 inches long.
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 origin of this sign is unknown, but given its very substantial size and weight, it likely once hung as a directional sign in a major bus or railroad station, designating the "WHITES ONLY" area where African-Americans were not permitted to sit, stand, or otherwise, occupy.
The subtly convex sign has had no restoration and remains in all-original condition. It bears areas of paint loss, scratching and superficial rusting (some areas larger in scope than others) typical for its age and use as noted in photos. Please view photos for further assessment of the sign's condition. The age and use-related signs of wear do not impact the physical integrity of the sign and are more than appropriate to the age and purpose of the piece.
An utterly phenomenal, extremely RARE, one-of-a-kind, museum-worthy piece of Black American history!
Please take a moment to view the other "Jim Crow" Segregationist Era signs that I currently have the pleasure of offering.
Featured in a crisp and highly detailed, cranberry colored etching are a mammy (with a monkey face) pondering the bizarre activity of a young black boy (also with a monkey face) who is relieving himself via hole in a presumed maple tree that has been tapped to collect sap!
This cream colored, ceramic ashtray is in absolutely perfect condition; it clearly was never used for its intended purpose! Edged in finely applied gold paint, the plate edge is further embellished with a refined, ruffle and corded design. Very attractive! There are no markings on the plate.
Fabulous colored illustrations as represented by photos adorn this 19 page book! Ten to eleven darling little poems and/or short stories are written in "dialect", reflective of the Caucasian cultural mores of the period.
Interior pages are in fine condition--they are tightly bound together with the 3 original staples and remain brilliantly colored; front and back covers have loosened from these interior pages, and the covers have been taped along the exterior spine in a failed attempt to keep them attached to the tightly bound interior pages. The covers have edge wear, small edge creases, and surface scuffing with minor surface paper loss here and there (see photos). Additionally, the front cover has a small remnant of an old paper sticker in the upper right quadrant.
A charming addition to one's Black Americana collection!!