Pansy by Leo Moss

Name: Pansy

Made by and When: Leo Moss, 1888

Material: Papier-mâché shoulder head with painted composition arms and legs, and a brown cloth rag-stuffed body

Marks: 1888 (incised in the back of the head)

Height: 23 inches

Hair, Eyes, Mouth: Textured black hair with molded pigtails to accommodate ribbons, inset brown glass eyes, smiling mouth

Clothes: Pansy is redressed in a white child-size gown and shoes from the 1800s. A large red ribbon is tied to the top pigtail.

Other: Leo Moss, a Black man and native of Macon, GA was a handyman by trade. Moss sculpted his doll heads of papier-mâché without the use of molds during the late 1800s through early 1930s.  He purchased manufactured dolls, doll parts, and doll bodies from a New York toy supplier over which he applied his papier-mâché material. Many of his dolls are unmarked while others will bear a cloth label on their body with Moss’s initials (L.M.), the doll’s name, and the year made; or as in the case of Pansy, the year made is the only mark—see the last gallery photograph.

Formerly owned by doll collector, historian, and author, Myla Perkins, Pansy’s current owner won the doll in the March 2018 Theriault’s auction, “Tears for Mina.”  This one-of-a-kind doll is one of 12 Leo Moss dolls from Perkins’ collection that was included in the auction.

Gallery (Photographs courtesy of Leasa “Tutu” Souza.)


See Pansy in the following 25-minute video narrated by Florence Theriault for the “Tears for Mina” auction of March 17-18, 2018.

Leo Moss Articles to Read

Read more about Leo Moss in detailed articles, here, here, and here. Additionally, read “The Healing Power of Dolls and Tears” by Leasa “Tutu” Souza in the November/December 2021 issue of Antique Doll Collector.


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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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