Name: Daddy’s Long Legs Dolls (Various)
Made by and When: Daddy’s Long Legs (Karen Germany) from 1993-2002
Material: Wood resin heads, torsos, lower arms, lower legs and feet or sculpted-on shoes; cloth upper arms and upper legs; the bottom of the resin torsos is flat to allow the dolls to sit.
Marks: Some dolls bear the K. Germany signature or “DLL” copyright stamp or incision on one of their legs. Some, however, are unmarked. A certificate of authenticity was included with all as well as a hang tag attached to the clothing. The hang tag bears the doll’s name, year made on the front and the company blurb on the back. If the doll came with a small accessory, it was also attached to the clothing inside a baggie. Larger accessories were packaged separately and were included in the dolls’ brown cardboard box.
Height: They range from 4-1/2 inches to 25 inches tall.
Hair, Eyes, Mouth: Except for Abe and Bessie, the Daddy’s Long Legs dolls in this installation have sculpted and painted hair that is usually black. Abe has male pattern baldness with gray synthetic fibers for hair. Bessie’s gray-hair wig is made from mohair. All have sculpted and painted brown eyes and eyebrows. Their mouths hold various expressions. See the descriptions for individual details.
Clothes: These dolls represent adult and children from the early 1900s. Each doll wears its original, period-appropriate clothing or costumes that are described below. A gold-tone star-shaped brad is attached in different places on the dolls’ clothing. View and listen to the video at the end of this installation to find out why the stars are there.
Other: Karen Germany and her husband, Brent, founded Daddy’s Long Legs (DLL) in 1989. The dolls are sculpted in wood resin from Germany’s original sculpts. It was her idea to create dolls that looked like real Black people that were not just brown versions of White dolls. DLL is known nationwide for manufacturing realistic Black dolls during the 1990s until manufacture ceased in 2003. The first doll was Nettie, followed by her husband Tobias and their son, Junior.
Photos and Descriptions
Abe and Bessie, #DL33A and DL32E, respectively are 18- and 17 inches, released in 1993 and 1992. They represent an elderly couple who sit on a separately-sold DLL bench. Bessie has her canvas bag of groceries. Abe has a brown paper-wrapped box (in Bessie’s bag) and a rolled newspaper (not shown). He wears a tan and green plaid shirt, a red flannel cardigan, gray trousers, painted-on gray socks and molded-on brown lace-up dress shoes. Bessie’s green jacket has a tan collar with a tan-trimmed green pocket. She wears a full-length black skirt, a green/orange/gold/and white scarf with a matching tam, painted-on stockings, and molded-on mock lace-up black ankle boots. A gold-tone star-shaped brad is attached to their jackets.
Esther, #DLL93A, released in 1993, is a 22-inch regal woman with natural-textured black sculpted hair styled in an upswept bun. Esther is dressed in an ecru Victorian-style two-piece, lace-trimmed dress with pearl buttons on the bodice. She wears molded-on high-top ecru side-button boots. The right boot is signed K. Germany/#2345/3000, ©1993 LTD. ED. Her accessory is a rose bouquet.
Ruth, #DLL33E, released in 1993, is a 21-inch resin Sunday school teacher. She wears a long-sleeve beige floral top with V-shaped eyelet trim, blue full-length skirt, molded-on off white shoes with two straps and mock side buttons; white eyelet ribbon in upswept molded/bun hair; has a black resin Bible.
Sister Carter, #DLL33F; released in 1993 is a 21-inch, full-figured, mature, resin choir singer with molded black hair styled in joined braids on the crown of her head with rolled back hair that frames the face; has painted brown eyes, black sculpted eyelashes, and a smiling closed mouth; wears purple choir gown and an orange/gold shawl. A gold-tone star-shaped brad is on one side of the white collar. Sister Carter wears white stud earrings, and molded-on black kitten heel pumps. Her accessory is a resin hymnal.
Bubby, a 1994 Daddy’s Long Legs Collector’s Club doll, was donated to the museum by doll artist, Goldie Wilson. He is 10 inches tall, made of resin, has sculpted curly black hair and wears a brown and tan check shirt with white muslin wings attached. Bubby’s gold star is attached to one of his wings. He wears blue denim pants and his feet are bare. Bubby sits on a resin cloud. The inside of Bubby’s right leg is signed in black ink: K. Germany/#1142 ©1994 MEM. ED.
Lizabeth, #DL35B, 1994, is a 12-inch little girl with brown eyes, smiling mouth with separately molded teeth with some that are missing and some newly growing in; wears a green floral-print romper with lace-trimmed cranberry fabric at upper chest area, white molded-on socks, and black molded-on shoes. The sculpted hair is styled in two side short thick curly pigtails accented by cranberry ribbons. The inside of Lizabeth’s right lower leg is stamped ©DLL 1994.
William #DL36F is a 13-1/2-inch boy with short black sculpted hair. He is dressed in an ecru shirt and ecru and green checked overalls with a red handkerchief in the front pocket of the right pant leg. His accessory is a green lizard. He has a descriptive credit-card sized photo card. His certificate of authenticity is signed by Georgette Taylor, who donated William to the museum. Georgette acquired Karen Germany’s archived Daddy’s Long Legs dolls in 2020. Marks: The outside of the right lower leg is stamped ©DLL 1996.
Joseph #DLM97A, Mary #DLM97B, and Baby Jesus in a manger were introduced in 1997. The 1997 catalog description reads: “Two of our children [Daddy’s Long Legs dolls] landed roles in their school Christmas play. Joseph and Mary are the 1997 Members-Only dolls and are exclusively available to club members. To complete this display, Baby Jesus is the free figurine you receive by renewing your membership or joining the Daddy’s Long Legs Collectors Club. The manger for Baby Jesus is included when you purchase Joseph and Mary.”
Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus measure 13-, 12-, and 4-1/2-inches, respectively. The straw-filled wooden manger measures 5-1/2 x 3-1/2 x 4 inches. Joseph and Mary have black molded hair. Baby Jesus’ hair is painted black. Joseph wears a blue and tan striped gown under a blue full-length coat that is tied at the waist with jute. His underpants are off-white. Joseph’s head is covered with white muslin held in place with jute. He carries a brown leather bag that has a shoulder strap draped across his body. His brown sandals are sculpted on. Mary’s brown gown is worn under a tan and brown striped coat. Her underpants are off-white. Her head is covered with a tan cloth that is underneath a brown cloth. Her brown thongs are sculpted on. Baby Jesus is swaddled in an off-white cloth and a navy-blue and green blanket that is held in place with a strip of off-white cloth around his waist. Each doll has the signature gold-tone star-shaped brad attached to their clothing.
Soul Anthony is a 25-inch portrait doll of Fashion Designer Anthony Mark Hankins (he now spells his first name, Anttony). The doll’s black hair is sculpted into multiple short locs. He has a sculpted brown mustache and beard. Soul Anthony has brown painted eyes and a smiling mouth with teeth. Dressed in a white two-piece dashiki-style top and loose-fitting white pants, the right pant hem has a star-shaped gold-tone brad. He wears five gold-tone chains of varying lengths, one of which has a gold cross pendant. He has a gold-tone chain bracelet on the right wrist. His beautifully sculpted feet are bare. Soul Anthony was manufactured under the Daddy’s KVK, Inc. brand in 2002 as a Home Shopping Network exclusive.
Slideshow (right-arrow through to view the photos or swipe to advance to the next).
In the Doll World Video Interview of Karen Germany
Click or tap the “play” arrow icon to view Karen Germany’s interesting In the Doll World interview.
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