The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by African-Americans, sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926. Schools, churches, and communities would organize local celebrations and lectures. Cities began issuing proclamations recognizing Negro History Week and by the 1970s college campuses began designating February as Black History month. In 1976, as part of America's bicentennial, President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month. Black dolls are an important part of doll history, so in commemoration of Black History Month, our club will be sharing example of Black dolls. This 7 inch tall wax doll of an African-American woman selling chickens was created in New Orleans by the Vargas family. The patriarch of this artistic family was Francisco Vargas. He was born in Mexico, where he had been trained in making wax religious sculptures. Francisco immigrated to the United States and in 1875 set up a shop in New Orleans selling his wax sculptures. Instead of religious images, Vargas created realistic looking flowers, fruits and human figures. The Vargas figures are made of beeswax and dressed in fabric that had been dipped in hot wax and draped over the doll. His children and grandchildren continued the family tradition up through 1930s. Many of the figures were sold as souvenirs and are based on vendors seen on the streets of New Orleans. Under her base, a black and silver label reads “Harriet’s 318 Royal Street New Orleans.”
AUSTIN DOLL COLLECTORS SOCIETY
The Austin Doll Collectors Society is an organization of antique, vintage, and modern doll collectors, dealers, and artisans. We meet on the first Monday of each month and our meetings are fun and educational. We begin with refreshments and socializing, and, following our brief business meeting, there is a special doll-related program and "show and tell." The Austin Doll Collectors Society is a nonprofit organization and is a member of the United Federation of Doll Clubs.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
For our February meeting, the refreshment able was decked out in a festive Mardi Gras theme.
Member Sharon Weintraub did a program on frozen Charlottes and Charlies. These unjointed bisque and china children are typically frozen into a standing position. Early doll collectors dubbed these dolls "Frozen Charlottes" after the the old American folk ballad called “Fair (or sometimes Young) Charlotte,” which tells the sad tale of a beautiful young woman who foolishly refuses her mother's advice to dress warmly and subsequently freezes to death on a sleigh ride to a Christmas Eve ball. However, these figurines are actually German in origin, where they were called badekinder (bathing children). Produced in Germany beginning in the 1860s, they were offered as children’s playthings and bath toys (some, like the little boy at the top left in yellow and white striped bathing trunks will actually float when placed in water).
The little girl on the left is a bank with a slot on her back for coins. Not too many seem to have survived, because the only way to reclaim your savings is the literally break the bank!
Although many badekinder are nude, they also can be found in molded clothing.
Some frozen Charlottes wore wigs.
Frozen Charlottes also appear in novelty items, such as this the badekinder in a bottle.
This early china Charlotte is beautifully dressed an antique bridal gown of silk and net. Sometimes a doll would be dressed a scraps left over from making the bridal gown to commemorate the happy occasion.
Other members brought Frozen Charlottes to share. This diminutive doll belongs to Beverly Evans.
This tiny child is a family heirloom belonging to Elaine Jackson.
Sylvia McDonald brought this bisque-headed baby character by the Japanese firm of Morimura for show and tell.
Thursday, January 25, 2018
This month's program asked members to bring a favorite doll and tell the club why this doll was so special. Peggy Lenke shared this well loved Ginny doll from her childhood.
Jenell Howell told the club about her new infatuation, her first American Girl doll.
Sue Smith brought this handmade Cabbage Patch that she received on Christmas. . .
and this pair of carved wood American folk dolls.
More wooden dolls, brought by Elaine Jackson. These hand carved dolls were created by an Austin doll artist, Nancy Grobe. Grobe unfortunately had to give up doll making when she developed arthritis in her hands.
Sylvia McDonald brought this beautiful antique Bye-Lo baby. The doll was given to Sylvia by an elderly member of her church; she told Sylvia that the doll was a gift from her father to her mother on their first Christmas together.
Sallie Howard proudly displayed her award-winning nearly-mint composition Deanna Durbin doll.
Beverly Evans brought this reproduction of a rare character doll called Mein Liebling by the German firm of Kammer and Reinhardt and told the club how she enjoys dressing her in different outfits and changing her wig.
Another vintage composition doll, a childhood doll brought by Nancy Countryman.
Michele Thelen shared these two Flexy dolls by Ideal from the 1930s. The girl represents actress Fanny Brice as her character "Baby Snooks," and the other is Mortimer Snerd, one of the dummies used by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen.
Pam Wolf brought this Toodles baby doll by American Character and an antique ball-jointed doll by German maker J.D. Kestner. She told the club how she had won the Kestner at a raffle at an annual United Federation of Doll Clubs convention.
Faydra Jones created this doll. She said that this is the first doll she made using a wire armature.
This unusual bisque piano baby with a swivel neck belongs to Sharon Weintraub. Sharon explained that the figurine was found by her parents while her father was teaching in England many years ago. Her mother had tried to draw a picture of it in a letter to Sharon and Sharon told the club that while her mother had many talents, drawing was not one of them.