BDHT: 1944 Wards Christmas Catalogue ... Colored Dolls, Ad Ploy?

BDHT: 1944 Wards Christmas Catalogue ... Colored Dolls, Ad Ploy?

Black Doll Enthusiast

Dainty, Lovable Colored Baby Dolls is the caption for the dolls shown on page 68 of the 1944 Wards Christmas Catalogue with a statement regarding their demand as follows:

In response to many requests for well-made, well-designed colored dolls, we offer these appealing baby dolls of well-known Horsman quality. They’re exquisitely tinted a warm brown, with sparkling brown Glammene sleeping eyes, real lashes. Lips are shaded a delicate rose. Soft cotton-filled bodies, realistically modeled heads, arms and legs of hard-to-break composition. Dainty baby clothing is carefully made and finished.
Scroll up (if necessary) and look at the picture again.  If the ad’s caption and above description are not read, these dolls could easily be mistaken for white dolls by looking at the image only. I wonder if the dolls that customers received in 1944 were as as pale in color as the dolls in the image or if they were in fact a deeper brown in person.  Perhaps Wards featured white dolls in the ad and described the black version.  It was a common practice for many manufacturers to exclude photos of black dolls from the black doll's box, electing instead to use an image of the white version and include a caption on the box that read:  This box contains the Black version.   This practice extended well into the 1980s and possibly later.

I took the liberty of typing the 1944 Wards Christmas Catalogue dolls’ descriptions, but omitted duplicating the complete description of the smaller or larger version of the same doll.

[1] 20-IN. COLORED BABY DOLL cries and goes to sleep. Glammene eyes, real lashes. Soft cotton stuffed body; brown tinted composition head, arms and legs. Hair molded on; head turns. White permanent-finish organdy dress and cap, net trimmed. White slip, knit panties, socks and shoes. 48 T 2457—20 in. tall. Ship. wt. 3 lbs. 12 oz… $5.25

[4] 16-IN COLORED BABY DOLL (smaller version of doll #1) $3.49

[2] 17-IN. COLORED BABY DOLL IN PINAFORE. Black mohair ringlets; Glammene sleeping eyes, real lashes. Soft cotton-stuffed body; composition head, arms, and legs tinted brown. Head turns. Flocked-dot cotton dress, matching bonnet; organdy pinafore. White slip, panties, socks, shoes. 48 T 2459—17 in. tall. Ship. wt. 2 lbs. 8 oz… $4.69

[5] 23-IN COLORED BABY DOLL (larger version of #2). $6.95

[3] 20-IN. COLORED BABY DOLL. Cries like a real baby. Long-lashed Glammene eyes go-to-sleep. Black mohair curls. Soft cotton-stuffed body; head, arms, legs of brown-tinted composition. Head turns. Net-trimmed white organdy dress; ruffled bonnet. White slip, panties, socks and shoes. 48 T 2454 – 20 in. tall. Ship. wt. 4 lbs… $5.95

[6] 18-IN. COLORED BABY DOLL IN COAT. Glammene sleeping eyes, real lashes, cotton-stuffed body; composition arms, legs, turning head, tinted brown, hair molded. Pink rayon coat with net-trimmed cape, collar; matching bonnet; white flock-dot cotton dress. White slip, panty, socks, and shoes. 48 T 2458—18 in. tall. Ship. wt. 2 lbs. 12 oz… $5.79

I checked my composition baby doll collection.  None of my dolls appear to be identical to these and certainly none can be mistaken for white dolls. 


Please adhere to copyright notice (see bottom of blog).

Leave a Comment