Bye-Lo Baby

Name: Antique German Bisque Head Bye-Lo Baby

Made by and When: Grace S. Putnam, ca. 1922

Material: Bisque head, brown cloth “frog” body, composition hands

Marks: The head is marked COPR. BY GRACE S. PUTNAM GERMANY

Height: 11 inches

Hair, Eyes, Mouth: Painted black hair, brown glass stationary eyes with painted upper and lower eyelashes, closed mouth

Clothes: Dressed in antique white cotton baby gown with rows of lace on bodice, sleeves, and hem area. Wears a lace bonnet and petticoat.

Other: Grace Storey Putnam fashioned the Bye-Lo baby after a newborn baby in 1922. Described as “the first ever to resemble a newborn child, the dolls became an instant success and were initially manufactured by George Borgfeldt & Co. Made of German bisque” (Bye-Lo Dolls). White versions preceded Black versions. Rare, wooden versions were also made. (See the gallery for two photos of a 21-inch Bye-Lo Baby with wooden head and hands, a cloth body, and painted eyes dressed in a muslin gown). Read more about the history of Putnam’s doll in the article, Bye-Lo Dolls.

Gallery (Porcelain and cloth Bye-Lo images and description courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Alderfer Auction. Wooden Bye-Lo images courtesy of David Friedlander Antiques.)

The doll below is a rare example of a wooden antique Bye-Lo baby. It is 21 inches tall with wooden head and hands and cloth body. The eyes are carved.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Bye-Lo Baby

  1. Hi,

    is the wood doll the one I bought from the antique dealer in Kentucky a few years ago? If so, the eyes are carved, not painted. Also, the doll has no Putnam doll markings, only initials scratched into the bottom of the neck flange. I know wood By-lo babies were made briefly, but I never was able to confirm this was one of them. One dealer who looked at it theorized it might have been the work of a talented carpenter or craftsman that made it to replace the original head that broke, but that is just a good story so far.

    Sani

    On Wed, Nov 3, 2021 at 7:04 AM DeeBeeGee’s Virtual Black Doll Museum™ wrote:

    > DeeBeeGee posted: ” Name: Antique German Bisque Head Bye-Lo Baby Made by > and When: Grace S. Putnam, ca. 1922 Material: Bisque head, brown cloth > “frog” body, composition hands Marks: The head is marked COPR. BY GRACE S. > PUTNAM GERMANY Height: 11 inches Hair, E” >

    Like

  2. Yes, Sani. These are the pictures David Friedlander shared with me that I shared with you before you purchased the wooden Bye-Lo. I believe it is an original, and agree that the suggestion that it was made by a talented carpenter is just a good story. Thank you for sharing that the eyes are carved. I will edit the installation to reflect that.

    Like

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