The 700-Doll Question – NYTimes.com

The 700-Doll Question – NYTimes.com.

Here’s a very timely article — about collections, family, nostalgia, autobiography, and history.  Be sure to check out the slideshow of the doll collection.

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“I watched “Antiques Roadshow” and wondered how many people ended up selling their valuable treasures, and how many more couldn’t bring themselves to part with something so special. How many marriages had been strained by the problem I was struggling with?

2 thoughts on “The 700-Doll Question – NYTimes.com

  1. Looking at this doll collection can teach us about personal, as well as cultural, history. The doll collection is clearly personally meaningful to the article’s author, yet the dolls also reflect this country’s social history. Most of the dolls shown are white girls dolls; the notable exception is Roland, a South Seas Baby, a doll that, to me, seems to represent a racial stereotype. Today, the country’s growing ethnic diversity and the push to be “politically correct” means that popular dolls and toys for children represent a wider variety of races. Therefore, studying historical objects can both connect us to our personal pasts and remind us of how much our society has changed since the childhoods of our older family members.

    • Nice observation: I hadn’t noticed (but am not surprised by) the whiteness of this collection. For most of US history, the only black toys and dolls and figurines were derived from stereotypes– like the “pickaninny” or the minstrel or the Mammy– the same stereotypes that were used as commercial “mascots” (cf. Aunt Jemima).

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