Books on...Ethnic Dolls

Ethnic dolls...dolls from different cultures, backgrounds....

And...I did my best to check on the most respectful way to say this...dolls that represent an African Heritage.

I do not want to make anyone uncomfortable!

Three of these books, written in other decades, use the term "black dolls".  And perhaps that's because they come from a variety of countries.

I ran across the book, Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion by Debbie Bahan Garrett, when I was researching the little Berenguer that joined us recently. I spent quite a while reading this book. It is a great book on collecting dolls generally and has lots of dolls, photos, details...


Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion

by Debbie Bahan Garrett

$22.99US Paperback used

$24.99US New


Written in 2008

Summary from Amazon review:

Collectors and non-collectors will experience the passion for collecting dolls in Ms. Garrett's second black-doll reference book, which is a comprehensive celebration of over 1000 vintage-to-modern black dolls. Doll genres referenced and valued include early dolls and memorabilia, cloth, fashion, manufactured, artist, one-of-a-kind, celebrity, and paper dolls. 'A to Z Tips on Collecting,' 'Doll Creativity,' and 'Added Extras' will entertain, enlighten, and encourage the most discriminating collector. Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion, is an informative reference for any doll collector's library.

An older version...


The Definitive Guide to Collecting Black Dolls

by Debbie Bahan Garrett

$52.48US Paperback  or is it...

$18.45US Paperback?


Written in 2003

From the Amazon summary:

Collectors will delight in acquiring the first and only Black dolls book that is completely published in FULL COLOR! Author Debbie Garrett has written an extensive book of reference on vintage, modern, fashion and artist Black dolls. Featured in this book are Black dolls made from cloth, bisque, celluloid, composition, rubber, wood, and hard plastic. Fashion dolls, modern artist dolls and other doll categories are covered. This long-overdue, insightful book includes a price guide and tips for buying and selling in the collector's market. This is a "must-have" book for collectors and social historians who want to see first-hand the evolution of a childhood plaything which in recent years has also been fashioned for adult collectors. 8 1/2" x 11" - 436 Color Photos


And a cute little book, while I am researching...


Lola at the Library

by Anna McQuinn

$6.04US  Paperback


From the Amazon summary:

Lola has a big smile on her face. Why? Because it's Tuesday--and on Tuesdays, Lola and her mommy go to the library. Join Lola in this cozy celebration of books and the people who love them.


Black Dolls 1820-1991: An Identification and Value Guide

Myla Perkins

$3.47US Paperback


Written in 1992

From the Amazon summary:

1,415 black-and-white photographs with identifying captions highlight this scarce out-of-print book which is an in-depth pictorial value guide to antique black dolls. This book is an invaluable reference for the serious collector, dealer, or historian of antique dolls.


From a 2015 Reader review:

This is a handy reference book for any collector who loves Black dolls. I just fell into collecting a few years ago but wanted to know what's out there. The book is well organized and very descriptive yet concise. It's packed with great examples of probably anything from this period.


This book has a second link with a price for a paperback of $39.99US...

And the new copies start at $203.42


And on the Canadian Amazon, the prices are all different. Curious!

Collectible African American Dolls, Identification & Values, Avon Toys, Eegee, Effabee, Gerber, Hasbro, Horsman, Ideal, Kenner Parker Toys, Madame Alexander, Mattel, Playmates, Remco, Topper, and more

by Yvonne H. Ellis

$3.09US Paperback


Written in 2008

From the Amazon summary:

History comes alive in this beautifully illustrated book of legendary African-American dolls. This book showcases hundreds of African-American dolls, beginning with the early 1800s through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The dolls are shown in spectacular color and are among the most popular collectibles today. The Early Years includes dolls made of papier maché, china, composition, bisque, magic skin latex, hard plastic, and vinyl. Special features include a variety of life-size dolls, doll house dolls, cloth dolls, artist and reproduction dolls, and paper dolls. All are displayed with detailed descriptions and current market values. The dolls featured are a delight to the eye. Every doll lover and collector of black memorabilia will want to add Collectible African American Dolls to their collection. 2008 values.


I have discovered so many cute dolls, pretty dolls, funny dolls by researching these books...

I am doing my best not to go on a fun hunt on eBay, and just be happy with the little dollies we have here.

And new adorable Whoopi!

Write a comment

Comments: 3
  • #1

    Sharon in Spain (Thursday, 24 March 2016 14:02)

    These look like interesting books and I'd love to read them.....actually I love reading anything on dolls!
    In the UK we use the same term when referring to a person who has dark skin....I wonder are we old fashioned? I have never found anyone to take offence by it, thank goodness. I only found out recently that the term 'oriental' is seen as offensive in America by Asian people....such a shame as it is such a lovely exotic sounding word! I never would have dreamt that it was not nice to refer to someone as Oriental, but we live and learn I guess.
    Anyway, going back to dolls, I like black dolls but preferably with features that relate to their culture, I've never really thought there was any point to a doll mould that started out as a white doll but is then released in black vinyl or resin for example, they just don't hit the spot for me!
    An interesting post, thanks Jano!

  • #2

    Sharon in Spain (Thursday, 24 March 2016 14:03)

    Meant to say 'features that relate to their ethnicity' not 'culture' DOH!

  • #3

    Jano (Friday, 25 March 2016 09:51)

    Hi Sharon! Nice to see you here! Busy day yesterday!
    I love books on dolls too. Just unearthed some from my childhood, one on Eskimo dolls, another term not in use.
    My reading about acceptable terms showed me that as soon as a word, even a word as lovely as Oriental is said often enough in a derogatory way, the word has to be left behind. Humans!!
    I wrote about the topic of hunting for diversity in my dollies in my weekly newsletter. And promptly lost a new subscriber. Oh no! :(
    Not sure if it was related but I really was doing my best!
    Easy to be blunt when people know you have a lot of love, but...
    Do you have doll books? Books about dolls? Or with dolls in them?
    About sewing for dolls I bet!
    Chat soon!