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.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Black History Month

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 examples 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.”

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