Baby Nancy

Photographs courtesy of Karen Kilburn

Name: Baby Nancy

Made by and When: Shindana Toys/1968

Material: Vinyl


Height: 13 inches

Hair/Eyes/Mouth: Black rooted hair/brown painted eyes/drink and wet mouth with painted pink lips

Clothes: Dressed in a variety of brightly colored dresses and panties, bare feet

Other: Shindana Toys, a division of Operation Bootstrap, Inc., was founded by Louis S. Smith, II and Robert Hall during the aftermath of the Watts revolt against 1960s police brutality and other issues affecting the Black community. Shindana Dolls was founded as part of a cooperative to bring jobs and revenue back into the community and to produce ethnically correct black dolls. Baby Nancy, sculpted by African American sculptor Jim Toatley, was Shindana’s first doll. Several versions of Baby Nancy exist.

The Baby Nancy dolls curated here represent the original head sculpt used for Baby Nancy. Three hairstyle versions were released of the doll that uses the first head sculpt: long side ponytails, short curly hair, and long side ponytails with bangs.

In 1969, the Zuri head sculpt was used for Baby Nancy.

In November 2020, Baby Nancy was inducted into the Strong Museum’s National Toy Hall of Fame. Below the slideshow are links to additional Shindana Toys information.



Shindana Toy Company: Changing the American Doll Industry

Black Toys and Toymakers: The Story of Shindana

Shindana Toys Articles of Interest:

Shindana Dolls Toys that Make a Difference

Operation Bootstrap: Empowering the African American Community Through Entrepreneur

Google Arts and Culture Exhibit: A History of Shindana Toys


Your comments are valued. Donations aid the initiative to preserve Black-doll history. 

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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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