Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Toy postcard by A. Vivian Mansell & Co., London, c.1920s

This is a 3-D or pop-up postcard. The figures bend, and the card folds to create a little dollhouse scene. The black rag doll is the infamous Golliwog character, beloved by some, despised by others. The character, created in 1895 by Florence Upton, was popular in the U.K., not so much here. The last part of the name has become a racial epithet. I've heard women who grew up with the doll (or studied it for research) vigorously defend it as a cuddly, benign figure. I remember as a child reading Black Sambo, a figure that carries the same baggage as Golli.  I think the definitive interpretation of Golli can be found here. I'm glad we're all more aware of how toys shape our thinking as children, and how destructive they can be for a child's self image, and his perception of others.

Mansell is a well known publisher of fine prints, in business since 1910. The company is best known for glamour cards and hunting scenes, according to the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City.

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