Vintage 1950's IDEAL Saralee Doll - Very Rare First Black Doll Made - Vinyl 18

This is an extremely hard to find Ideal Saralee doll in need of a new home. She was made only two years, from 1951-1953. This was the first African American doll ever made, previous dolls were simply white dolls painted brown. Below is some interesting history on the Saralee doll.

Craftedto accurately reflect the beauty of African American children, it was created by a white woman from Belle Glade, Florida named Sara Lee Creech. Creech had seen black children playing with white dolls and was struck by the realization that there were no dolls of their own race for these children. She decided to provide a realistic black doll that promoted a positive image of African Americans for both black and white children.

The Saralee Doll was developed in consultation with educators and religious leaders of both races and manufactured by the Ideal Toy Corporation. It came on the market at a time when toy companies demonstrated little interest in making black dolls. Those that were made generally reflected crude racial stereotypes.

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt took an interest in the project, calling the dolls “reproduced well with careful study of the anthropological background of the race [and] a lesson in equality for little children." To attract national attention, Roosevelt hosted a tea to consult on the appropriate skin

The vinyl infant with medium-brown skin, wearing a yellow organza dress and a yellow bonnet. Saralee appeared in Sears Roebuck stores in October 1951 and in their 1951 Christmas catalog, at $6.95. Esquire , Life , Time , Ebony , and Newsweek magazines announced its arrival. Yet national sales were less than hoped for. Ideal abandoned its original plan for dolls with varying skin tones and stopped manufacturing Sara Lee in 1953. Creech returned to her family and business in Belle Glade.

This beautiful vinyl doll is 18" tall. Marked, "C -17 IDEAL DOLL." She has black molded hair in good condition except for a scratch and a few very minor rubs in the back. Good eyebrows and pink rosy cheeks. She has great coloring. She has clear brown sleep eyes that open and close. She has all of her eyelashes. Pink lips with a molded tongue. There are some rubs on her lips. She needs a little cleaning. Very sweet, chubby face. There are a couple very tiny nicks on the side of her eyes. She has a soft, stuffed vinyl head.

She has a cloth torso with a non-working crier. Her fingers and toes are all intact. Her arms and legs need cleaning. There is a little white coloring in some crevices and on the vinyl that needs cleaning. There is a tiny little nick on the very tip of one toe (the size of a pin hole.) No odors.

She is wearing a wonderful vintage outfit that is not original but it looks very much like her original dress and bonnet. She is also wearing white knit booties, vintage satin underwear, and a white slip. Her lovely vintage dress is a very pale pink and white. It has blue polka dots and trim. It is from the 1950's. It closes with a safety pin in the back. There are numerous pin holes in the back and on the front right side of the dress. Some are slightly larger than a pin hole. Her amazing vintage bonnet is also from the 1950's. There is a hole in the outer trim on top and a tear on one side of the trim. The material of the bonnet is good. No odors.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Thanks for looking!

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