Name:  Nalo

Made by and When: Marlena H. Nielsen for Danbury Mint, 1995

Material: Porcelain and cloth

Marks: The artist’s signature is incised in the nape of the doll’s neck: Marlena H. Nielsen

Height: 19 inches

Hair, Eyes, Mouth: Brown synthetic curly wig, brown inset eyes with applied upper eyelashes and painted lower eyelashes; closed, smiling mouth

Clothes: Wears a West African-inspired fashion of blue shirt, rust-colored wrap, and rust and green print full-length wrap skirt or lapa with rust-colored canvas rope-soled shoes. A gele that matches the fabric of the skirt, gold hoop earrings, several beaded necklaces, and a double-stranded white bead bracelet complete the fashion. Missing is a basket of grain/wheat.

Other: Nalo, which means “lovable” or “lovable daughter,” is an example of the types of mass-produced “collectible” dolls available for adult collectors during the 1990s distributed by Danbury Mint, Franklin Mint, Ashton-Drake, Georgetown, and others. Many adult collectors began their collections with this type of doll. Some companies used head sculpts repeatedly to create other dolls that were renamed, redressed, and/or re-wigged—similar to what one company has done throughout the years with their popular 8-inch doll.

Nalo’s artist, Marlena H. Nielsen, used the same head and body sculpts for another Danbury Mint doll, Anuli. Included with both dolls were instructions for posing, a hang tag, and a registered certificate of authenticity that included the purchaser’s name. Most companies only included a certificate of authenticity that was not registered and did not include the owner’s name.

Nalo originally held a basket of grain which has been replaced by a porcelain African baby doll.

Nalo was donated to the museum by Kimberly Samuel of Maryland.



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, 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 contacts. Add your email address to the subscribe or sign-up field in the footer or right sidebar.

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.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: