Monday, July 6, 2009

Lil Napoleon paper doll

From Children's Play Mate, July 1937. Interesting how patched-up clothing is a motif in black paper dolls. Of course, during the Depression, many people of all ages and races patched up their clothing. Also interesting: Lil Napoleon is free of the exaggerated (ie., racist, offensive) facial characteristics that we associate with illustrations of blacks during this era.


  1. Very interesting piece. I recently found this site by the collector Arabella Grayson- - and she has several fascinating articles on the history of black paper dolls and their cultural and social meanings. If you haven't read them, or seen some pieces from her collection, you might enjoy it. As always, I do enjoy this blog very much.

  2. Thank you! Arabella is a dear friend, and her collection is extraordinary. I look forward to her book on this topic.