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.
Your comments are valued. Donations aid the initiative to preserve Black-doll history.
If you subscribe to DeeBeeGee’s Virtual Black Doll Museum™ by email, be sure to click the post title in the email, which links to the website to view all text and associated media. Please “like” and share this installation with your social media doll contacts. To subscribe, add your email address to the subscribe or sign-up field in the footer or right sidebar.