Leo Moss-Type Dolls

Name: Leo Moss-type dolls

Made by and When: Betty Formaz, circa 1980s

Material: Porcelain heads and hands; brown knit stuffed bodies, arms, and legs

Marks: None

Height: 15 inches

Hair/Eyes/Mouth: Sculpted curls/brown stationary eyes have teardrops falling/parted lips with molded tongues

Clothes: Dressed in matching red velour clothing original to the dolls; the boy wears white socks and black lace-up shoes. The girl wears white socks and white lace-up shoes. The boy wears a cap and the girl wears a bonnet that matches the red and gray print of the dress.

Other: Born in the 1800s, Leo Moss was a Black man from Macon, Georgia, who made dolls from the 1890s through the 1930s in the likeness of family, friends, and on commission. The artist of this pair is credited for bringing Moss dolls to the attention of the doll community during the 1970s. A collector and doll artist herself, Betty Formaz later began reproducing Moss dolls. Many of her dolls had the signature tears that Moss gave his dolls.  Formaz (now deceased) is said to have met one of Moss’s daughters, Ruby, during the 1970s, from whom she purchased several originals.

Close-up of Leo Moss-type twins

Published by DeeBeeGee

Doll collector, historian, co-founder of the first e-zine devoted to collecting black dolls; author of black-doll reference books, doll blogs, and doll magazine articles.

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