Nalah and Rudy by Lorna Miller (Sands)

Name: Nalah and Rudy

Made by and When: Lorna Miller (Sands), early-to-mid 1990s

Material: Super Sculpey or mixed media reinforced with steel and cloth for Nalah’s rag doll

Marks: The taller doll is clearly marked Nalah Toridan with a trademark on the back of the neck. The smaller doll is marked on the back of the neck with a faint Toridan inscription without the doll’s name.

Height: 19 and 18 inches, respectively; the rag doll is 5 inches tall.

Hair, Eyes, Mouth: Nalah’s applied human hair is styled in three long braids; her doll has multiple brown yarn braids. Rudy’s hair is styled in three short loose pigtails. Both dolls have painted brown eyes with individual eyelashes. Nalah appears to have a slight wink. Her doll has stitched facial features. Nalah has an open smile with individually sculpted, realistic-looking upper and lower teeth. Her left cheek is dimpled. Rudy has a closed, crooked smile with a dimpled right cheek.

Clothes: Nalah and her cloth doll wear their original clothes. Nalah’s multicolored dress is worn with a pink cardigan sweater that has a colorful embroidered pattern on the front panels. Rudy (the smaller doll) is redressed in a white-eyelet-trimmed yellow dress, white ankle socks, and brown Mary Jane shoes.

Other:  These are early, one-of-a-kind dolls by Lorna Miller (now known as Lorna Miller Sands). The dolls were made when she worked under the brand Toridan Originals. Toridan was inspired by Lorna Miller Sands’ sons’ names, Tori and Daniel. Nalah appears to have been sculpted from a resin-type material. Rudy appears wax-like. Named by the current owner, Rudy’s original name is unknown. Rudy was purchased from a doll artist who claims Lorna Miller gave the doll to her at a doll show.  Both dolls have human hair that is meticulously glued to the scalp. In the article, “Lorna Miller’s Black Dolls Capture the Soul” by Tom Dorsch, published in the June/July 1992 issue of Doll Reader magazine, the artist indicated “painted eyes preserve the personality of the doll.”

Slideshow (photographs courtesy of Anita M. Ormsby.)

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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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