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!
Measuring just 6 ½ inches tall with a skirt circumference of 4 ½ inches, her head, torso, and arms are constructed of fabric with an inverted basket serving as her skirt. Her clothing is machine-stitched with attention paid to detail: teeny gold fabric braiding serves as earrings and necklace; delicate lace accents her skirt hem; her red shawl features zig zag stitching accents; her face is finely hand-painted.
A sweet addition to one’s Black Memorabilia or Doll collection!
Author: Heyward, DuBose.
Title: JASBO BROWN AND SELECTED POEMS.
Subject: African-American Experience and Culture of Charleston, South Carolina Publication: New York: Farrar & Rinehart, (1931)
Edition: First Edition
Description: First edition. Hardcover, gilt-stamped brown cloth. First printing. 96 pages. A tight very good plus copy with a partial, former ownership bookplate with minor writing, some tiny chipping to the spine ends. No dust jacket.
Farrar & Rinehart, Inc. indicated their First Editions by the small oval logo forming the letters F an R immediately above the copyright line on the back of the title page.
The 1924 date is for the copyright date of the poetry, the 1931 is the date of first publication in book form.
Edwin DuBose Heyward (August 31, 1885 – June 16, 1940) was an American author who was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. He is best known for his 1925 novel Porgy. He and his wife Dorothy, a playwright, adapted it as a 1927 play of the same name. The couple worked with composer George Gershwin to adapt the work as the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. It was later adapted as a 1959 film of the same name. Heyward also wrote poetry and other novels and plays, and this book of selected poems reflected his observations of and experiences with black culture in Charleston during his childhood.
The String Holder is stamped "JAPAN" and “Theo Hinode” on the inside of the base (The Hinode Company is the Japanese Ceramic Company.). Mammy has a hole in the center of her chest area, just above her folded hands, to accommodate the string which would be pulled from the ball of string placed inside her body from the back of the piece. This wonderful piece even comes complete with vintage hanging string---Mammy has two holes at the back of her head to accommodate this! The entire piece is glazed with the exception of Mammy's red kerchief which is cold-painted (meaning that the paint was applied after firing). As such, this area of paint would be the most vulnerable to wear, and Mammy does have some “bald areas” where the paint has come off her kerchief. Please take a moment to view all photos to ascertain condition and appeal of this fabulous and functional, vintage string holder!
A lovely and colorful piece that can be displayed on a shelf or hanging from the wall!
This darling, all-glass piece remains in superb condition-no damage of any kind! It retains its wonderful, original satin string around the neck as well as the paper label that reads, “ Le Golliwogg, Vigny, Paris France” and features a lithograph of the Golli’s 2 black hands, positioned in such a way as to suggest that he his holding onto his big round belly!
The Golliwogg’s head is the perfume stopper (which lifts easily out of the bottle), and the facial painting/enameling remains as clear and crisp as the day it was applied! His black furry hair retains most of its original dark tones infused with shades of dark gray! The Golly’s glass collar is painted/enameled white with black lollipops and his feet are accented in black. The original paper label is completely intact.
The base of the clear glass bottle is etched but a challenge to read except under magnification or if the bottle is held up to a light bulb at a given angle. The etching reads, “FRANCE”. This bottle no longer contains perfume.
Along with photos of the Golliwog perfume is also a photo of an original 1920’s magazine advertisement for Vigny Perfumes including “Le Golliwogg”. The magazine advertisement is not available for sale and is only presented to serve as an historical reference.
A very, very special piece of Black Memorabilia that has appeal to Black Americana, perfume bottle, and Golliwog collectors alike!
Also pictured here and available for sale separately--- coming from the same estate--- is a 2.25 inch, Vigny, France, Golliwogg Perfume in Clear Glass dating post-WWI and priced at $375.00, as well as a second, 2.25 inch clear glass, 1920's, Golliwogg Perfume bottle complete with paper base label as well as a partial, original box and priced at $425.00. The clear glass perfume was the second version of the Vigny “Le Golliwogg” perfume produced from the 1920’s into the 1930’s. Type "Vigny" in the SEARCH box on our homepage to see all French Golliwogg Perfume bottles!
Her interesting and expressive face is completely hand-stitched and bears a tiny hole in the center of her chin. A similar teeny hole may also be seen (see photo) on her back. Mammy wears a lacy bonnet detailed with tiny pleats and 2 ribbon flowers. Her pink skirt and blouse, also hand-stitched, is presented in various shades of pink as Mammy's outfit has been subjected to light over the years and is in places, quite faded. Although now clean, Mammy's clothing is speckled here and there with teeny dark pinpoint size spots, most particularly in the bust area. Her white apron is pristine and is accented with a small, non-functional pocket. Her lace bonnet is fragile and must be handled with care as it can tear easily.
Although her bottle frame is covered by a black stocking, the stocking has opened slightly under her skirt revealing her sand-filled milk bottle.
This wonderful, early bottle doll is one of 3 currently offered bottle dolls --- all priced separately.
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!
Mammy's wonderful, smiling face is all hand-stitched while her clothes are machine sewn. Her blouse is striped cotton, as are Mammy's head, arms, skirt, apron, and cap. Her head, arms, and upper torso have been stuffed with cotton batting. The natural bristle broom fills out both Mammy's torso and skirt & the wooden broom handle extends upward through her neck and head.
Mammy is in all original condition with no mends or repairs. The structural integrity of the broom remains quite sound. Mammy's white cotton apron and cap have been professionally cleaned, removing nearly all traces of old stains, dirt, and dust.
A fabulous piece of vintage Black Americana, and a seldom seen form of the Black Mammy Doll!
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!
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!
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 female doll depicts a black mammy out for a stroll with black umbrella in hand. This 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 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 hers 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 $225.00 each, or they may both be purchased as a pair at the discounted price of $395.00. Please note that no further advertised discount is applicable to this special paired pricing offer.
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 Cotton Seller with Child, is most particularly hard to find and thus is quite highly sought after as it features a very young, female black child standing in a basket of newly-picked cotton. The Vargas family seldom included children or infants in their depictions of the numerous trades of black New Orleans folk, making any characterization featuring a child or an infant more than significantly rare.
Vargas wax figures are distinctly characterized by their interesting but highly exaggerated facial features. This female, Mama, Cotton Seller wears a red and white kerchief on her head, a red and white checked scarf around her neck, and a yellow and white checked shirt and skirt with an apron that matches her head scarf - all constructed of actual cloth fabric that was coated with a fine layer of clear wax to stiffen them. At her feet is a very large, wax-constructed basket made to simulate wicker that is filled with cotton and within which her young female child stands. The Cotton Seller's wax body is internally supported by a wire frame through which the figure is securely attached to the wooden base. The bottom of the base is stamped "Genuine VARGAS New Orleans, LA".
This wonderful figure is in amazing condition for her 75+ years of age with no apparent or visible imperfections other than some missing fingers, a condition which is quite common among found Vargas figures.
The Cotton Seller's young, female child also has some missing fingers, and additionally, her neck shows a contiguous crack all the way around. Because her structure is also supported by internal wiring, her head remains securely attached to her body. Please note that the child is merely placed inside the cotton basket and was never securely glued into it. The wax cotton basket, which was originally glued to the wooden base, has become loosened from it; however, when placed on the base, it will easily remain in place for display.
Both dolls retain their 3 original pigtails, all tied off with tiny pieces of string. Their hand-painted lips and eyes remain in excellent condition as is the dark brown paint which covers the bisque bodies which were originally white when manufactured (the white bisque coloring is visible at the joints).
Both dolls have jointed arms and legs which allow them to assume different positions. The string holding the larger doll's legs in place has stretched over these many years resulting in looser leg joints. (This can be repaired if so desired by the new owner.)
The larger doll is dressed in a hand-made outfit consisting of an ivory, yarn-knitted petticoat under a yellow crocheted dress while the smaller doll remains au naturalle! A darling, teeny tiny pair that display quite nicely!
Labeled #298, "Native Cane Grinders in Sunny Florida", the scene depicts 7 young Black men either chewing on a sugar cane stalk or holding a sugar cane cutting implement.
Printed on the back of the card is a brief history of sugar cane cultivation from its origins in 500 AD China to its introduction in the US in 1675 by the Jesuits. The harvesting process is also discussed.
Her cute face is completely hand-stitched and is accented by original celluloid hoop earrings. She wears a flowered bandanna, a cream colored flowered shawl, and an off white apron over her green and black mini-checked dress. She even has a cream colored petticoat underneath all! Her machine-stitched clothes are odor free and are nicely constructed, although her apron does have tiny age holes!
Although her bottle frame is covered by a black stocking, the stocking has risen up revealing her sand-filled milk bottle with red lettering from R.W. Tripp's Dairy, established 1889. The milk bottle lettering is in great shape and even features a graphic of a school boy and girl! Among milk bottle collectors, this particular milk bottle is quite rarely found and quite highly sought after, adding further collectible value to this sweet doll!
This great, early bottle doll is one of 3 currently offered bottle dolls --- all priced separately.