Doll's: Precious Playthings and Keepsakes
In their small way, dolls illustrate why the enslavement of African-Americans
was called the "peculiar institution." Slaves produced handmade dolls
while the master purchased elegant porcelain dolls. Whether cornstalk
or china, dolls evidence common bonds as precious playthings for children
and keepsakes for adults.
These replicas of dolls made by slaves are from the collection of
Sherry DuPree, research librarian at Santa Fe Community College. Lacking
money or materials, DuPree said, slaves improvised by using buttons
or corn kernels for eyes, hand stitching or dried beans for mouths,
cotton for hair and available cloth - black, white, dun or plaid -
"Many dolls show the work ethic," DuPree said. "Dolls could be holding
brooms, stirring a pot or carrying a basket of fruit. The slave culture
was one of work and labor, and dolls showed the way they lived."
Santa Fe Community College
A historical doll display is available as a traveling exhibit.
Top of File
- American and African Dolls
- Female and Male Dolls
- Many hand-made one-of-a-kind dolls
- Angel Dolls
- Indian Dolls
- Dolls made from various materials
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