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Catalog Data

Manufactured by:
Unidentified  Search this
thread and yarn on cloth with batting and metal
H x W x D: 18 13/16 × 9 5/8 × 2 3/8 in. (47.8 × 24.5 × 6.1 cm)
cloth dolls
Place used:
Texas, United States, North and Central America
mid 20th century
This doll is one of several Black dolls given to the donor, a White woman, as a child. TThe dolls were purchased in either Texas, where she spent summers at her grandmother’s, or in Illinois, where the donor lived the rest of the year.
The donor named her dolls "Mamie," "Maggie," and "Mariah" after African American women who worked for her grandmother in Texas. She remembers very little about the individual women or their families. Her grandmother needed assistance due to diabetes and hired the women to help around the house. The donor recalls her grandmother keeping separate plates and silverware for the African American women to use but did not object when the donor’s mother would invite them to eat at the family table.
A female Black cloth doll with a pink dress and white apron with stereotypical features. The doll has a soft, brown cloth head and body with rounded cloth hands and feet. The doll's facial features are embroidered. She has round, side glancing, black eyes, thick bottom eyelashes, and short, thin eyebrows. She also has a black embroidered upturned nose and a thin, red, U-shaped line for a mouth with black smile lines on either side. Her black yarn hair is parted down the middle down the back of her head with three short braids along the back part. The rest of her hair is arranged into three pigtails on either side of her face. The pigtails and braids are secured with pieces of white and light pink plaid ties. The hair is pulling away from the head on the proper right side of the face. She is wearing a long sleeve, light pink dress with a purple and white fern pattern. The dress extends over the top of the legs and has a U-shaped neckline opening at the back. Over the dress is plain white apron with a square bib, a ruffled shoulder halter straps, a thin waistband, and gathered body. Both the shoulder straps and waist straps are tied into bows at the back. At the bottom of the proper right shoulder strap is a pink and blue cloth flower embellishment. She is also wearing white bloomers secured with a small safety pin at the back.
Objects depicting racist and/or stereotypical imagery or language may be offensive and disturbing, but the NMAAHC aims to include them in the Collection to present and preserve the historical context in which they were created and used. Objects of this type provide an important historical record from which to study and evaluate racism.
African American  Search this
Amusements  Search this
Children  Search this
Domestic life  Search this
Families  Search this
Race relations  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Linda M. Sheffield
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Unknown – Restrictions Possible
Rights assessment and proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Toys and Games
Racist and Stereotypical Objects
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture