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Long before magnetic “paper” dolls and interactive walking, talking baby dolls, there was Bess Bruce Cleaveland’s Jointed Toys. Filled with patterns to be copied, enlarged, assembled, and decorated (whether in paper or wood), Cleaveland’s two-volume set offered potentially hours upon hours of make-believe fun for children in the early 20th century. The books provide explicit directions in general for copying and assembling the patterns as well as specific instructions per pattern for coloring and/or making extra copies of a toy part. The jointed toys include duos (e.g., clown and donkey), seesaw duos (e.g., Mary and her Lamb, two jolly pigs), familiar animals (e.g., dog, goat, rooster, tiger, zebra), famous figures like Santa Claus, and characters from legendary Mother Goose nursery rhymes—Wee Willie Winkie, Humpty Dumpty, and Boy Blue are among the most common; Daffy-Down Dilly and Polly, Put the Kettle On may be less familiar.
(summary written by Kim Hoffman)
Milne Library Publishing
Cleveland, Bess Bruce, "Jointed Toy Patterns I: For Coloring, Cut Out and Construction Work: Book One" (1920). Genesee Valley Historical Reprints. 13.
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