Made by and When: Princess House, 1991
Material: Porcelain head, lower arms and hands, and lower legs below the knees; cloth upper arms, torso, and upper legs
Marks: Princess House / 1991
Height: 15 inches
Hair, Eyes, Mouth: Black curly wig with two curly pigtails on the top of the head that are adorned with pink ribbons and flowers, brown stationary eyes, painted upper and lower eyelashes, smiling closed mouth, dimpled cheeks
Clothes: Wears a pastel blue floral-print dress that is lace-trimmed at the collar, sleeves, and hemline and accented with a pink satin ribbon sash, bow, and flower at the waist; crinoline half-slip, white lace-trimmed pantalettes, white socks, and pink Mary Jane shoes complete the outfit.
Other: This doll’s museum entry follows the question to the founder by a video journalist/producer for an NBC station in Washington, D.C., “Do you still have your first black doll?” After the founder answered, “Yes,” the next question was, “Is it in the museum?” The answer was, “No,” followed by the explanation that Jessica is considered by collectors as a mass-produced cookie-cutter doll. “There is nothing special about the doll except that it is my first Black doll,” explained the founder.
Because Jessica is the founder’s first doll (a catalog order and an intended gift for her then preteen daughter) and because Jessica inspired the founder to buy and collect more Black dolls for herself, the doll is historically significant. For these reasons, Jessica has earned a “seat at the table” (or place in the museum).
Most adult doll collectors begin their collections with basic dolls before graduating to more exquisite dolls. Jessica represents the countless other beginner dolls that inspired others to begin collecting.
A doll’s true value is determined by the level of pleasure it provides.
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