Name: Dolls for Democracy Marian Anderson
Made by and When: Ruth Cecil Bullard Weeks, circa 1950-1960s
Material: Clay for the head and lower arms/hands. The upper arms, body, and legs are cloth with wire armature.
Marks: The bottom of the wooden base reads, Marian Anderson.
Height: 10 inches
Hair, Eyes, Mouth: Molded hair, painted black; hand-sculpted face with painted brown eyes, closed mouth
Clothes: Holds a songbook and wears a full-length, off-white lined lace dress; pantalettes, stockings, and painted-on shoes with firm soles. The shoes are nailed to a wooden base. The bottom of the base reads Marian Anderson.
Other: Part of the Dolls for Democracy and Diversity series of initially 38 dolls that represent famous and other American achievers, this doll represents Marian Anderson, “one of the finest contraltos of her time,” who “became the first African American to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1955” (Biography.com). It was previously owned by the late Frances Reedy from North East Ohio who was also a doll artist.
Dolls for Democracy and Diversity were exhibited during the 1950s through the 1970s sponsored by the Washington State Jewish Historical Society (formerly B’nai B’rith Women). Up to 42 dolls traveled to parochial and private schools in the US and Canada to teach children that people of all backgrounds can become great achievers. Other known African American dolls in the series include Ralph Bunche, George Washington Carver, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jackie Robinson.
Marian Anderson Doll
Jackie Robinson Doll
Jackie Robinson and other Dolls for Democracy
Jackie Robinson and Marian Anderson in 1966 photo with B’nai B’rith Women of Spokane
Girl Scouts with Jackie Robinson and other dolls
Doll Lady, Selma Bukstein with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., George Washington Carver, and other Dolls for Democracy
Ralph Bunche doll with Emma Lazarus and Leopoldo Antonio Carrillo dolls
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