Handmade Elderly Couple

Name:  Handmade Elderly Couple

Made by and When:  Unknown, circa 1940s

Material:  Black cloth, stuffing, cotton fabrics, gray yarn, white and red embroidery thread, human hair

Marks: Unmarked

Height: 12 and 11 inches (man and woman, respectively)

Hair, Eyes, Mouth: Loops of knotted gray yarn frame the sides and top of the man’s head. The woman’s previously bald head might have originally been covered with a scarf. Salt-and-pepper human hair now covers the woman’s hair to form a short Afro. The facial features were created with embroidery thread (white for the eyes and red for the mouths; they do not have noses).

Clothes: Dressed in period-appropriate clothing worn by many southern American Blacks who were either sharecroppers or owned their own lots of land which they farmed, the man wears denim overalls and a printed cotton gauze shirt that has a collar and buttons. The woman originally wore the blue and white gingham dress, off-white pantalettes, and off-white apron as illustrated. The curator added a shawl made from a light blue bandana.

Other: This elderly handmade couple was found in an antique store in Scottsboro, Alabama approximately 15 years before their donation to the museum by Sandra M. Ross. The curator added human hair to the woman’s head and the bandana shawl. They are otherwise as they were upon receipt.


The couple is seen in a photograph taken by Sandra M. Ross before the dolls were donated to the museum and before the hair was added to the woman’s head.


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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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