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1930s Alabama WPA Project Folk Art Black Cloth Dolls

1930s Alabama WPA Project Folk Art Black Cloth Dolls

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Directory: Popular Collectibles: Memorabilia: Black Americana: Pre 1940: Item # 1273736

Please refer to our stock # BA874, BA919 when inquiring.
Priced Each or As a Pair

Measuring 9 inches high, these delightful examples of Folk Art styling, are two of a series of Black cloth character dolls made in Alabama in the 1930’s by unknown craftsmen/women. It has been speculated that their creation was encouraged through President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Depression era program, the Work Projects Administration (WPA), in existence from 1936-1940.

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.