Sunday, November 29, 2015

Telling stories with paper dolls

When I saw this old photograph in the newspaper, I knew I had to make a paper doll out of it. It's a famous photo of a New Orleans prostitute in Storyville, 1912. The photographer was E.J. Bellocq.

I thought of Fanny Gray, the first paper doll published in America in 1854. Here is a review that ran in The Lady's Repository, 1855:

FANNY GRAY: An Amusement for Children 
This is one of the most unique and exquisite things of this season of beautiful gifts. It is in the first place one of the very best specimens of colored printing yet given by the Art of the country and then the intent of the play is excellent tracing by six illustrative pictures while a poem is read: the history of Fanny Gray from poverty to happiness amid wealth. As the poem is read the figures are altered to illustrate each portion of Fanny's career, the same face fitting into all the figures. The picture of Fanny's Cottage is very attractive but her name beneath wrought by the union of flowers, grapes, mosses and birds is the most delicate of exquisitely beautiful designs The whole comes in a box and is indeed a rare gift for the Christmas holidays. Mr Collins, 1 South Six Street, has it in Philadelphia 
Why not tell a story with this doll? That was the challenge for the New York Paper Doll Group. Here are the designs I made for the other members earlier this year. 

I named her Delia. What happened to Delia after she left her wild life in Storyville? Each member got to choose an outfit from her wildlife and an outfit from her future:

Fortune Teller 

 Boutique owner



Foreign Correspondent

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Itinerant musician, 1925

A strange little print that was tucked in the Little Folks magazine. It looks like it was separated from another image at the bottom. The landscape reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. That looks like a violin case under his arm. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Little Folks Magazine, Nov. 1925

The Hotel Empire is still there on West 63rd Street. Wrigley's and Uneeda are still in business, too. Not sure about Horlick's Malted Milk.

Age and foxing on the page is what the magazine looks like inside. I cleaned up the paper doll and parrot pages.

Back cover has more fun for kids.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Liberation of Paris cut-outs

From the remarkable collection of Patricia of Agence Eureka, who is in my thoughts today. 

Our beloved Samy Odin, who operates the doll museum in Paris, tells us on Facebook that he is in London. That is good to know.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day

One of the first pages in my collection, and one of the few I have framed. World War I ambulance drivers and nurses. This beautiful page sought to help children understand how a medical team worked on the front lines. 

The first world war generated great poetry and art; Ernest Hemingway was an ambulance driver and his WWI experience (he was wounded and fell in love with a nurse) shaped some of his early writing: "A Farewell to Arms" and the short story "Soldier's Home" come to mind, but there are others.

During the First World War, Ernest Hemingway volunteered to serve in Italy as an ambulance driver with the American Red Cross. In June 1918, while running a mobile canteen dispensing chocolate and cigarettes for soldiers, he was wounded by Austrian mortar fire. "Then there was a flash, as when a blast-furnace door is swung open, and a roar that started white and went red," he recalled in a letter home. 
Despite his injuries, Hemingway carried a wounded Italian soldier to safety and was injured again by machine-gun fire. For his bravery, he received the Silver Medal of Valor from the Italian government—one of the first Americans so honored.
Commenting on this experience years later in Men at War, Hemingway wrote: "When you go to war as a boy you have a great illusion of immortality. Other people get killed; not you. . . . Then when you are badly wounded the first time you lose that illusion and you know it can happen to you. After being severely wounded two weeks before my nineteenth birthday I had a bad time until I figured out that nothing could happen to me that had not happened to all men before me. Whatever I had to do men had always done. If they had done it then I could do it too and the best thing was not to worry about it."