Black Dolls from the Collection of Deborah Neff


Black Dolls from the Collection of Deborah Neff presents over 100 unique handmade dolls created between 1850 and 1940 that portray African American boys and girls, elegant young ladies and determined women of mature years. The dolls are believed to have been created by African Americans for children that they knew, members of their own families, as well as white children in their charge. This exhibition also includes rare nineteenth- and twentieth-century photographs of dolls, clutched by their young owners, which provide a fascinating context for these cherished companions.

Black Dolls from the Collection of Deborah Neff was organized by the Mingei International Museum, San Diego, California, and curated by Christine Knoke Hietbrink.

On view May 27-August 27, 2017

Sponsored by 




Doll photograph by Ellen McDermott, New York

Companion Event
Thursday, June 1
5:30 pm Opening Reception 
7 pm Collector Talk: Christine Knoke Hietbrink


Artist Unknown, American, Startled Woman with Bonnet, late 19th Century, mixed fabrics, leather, and mother of pearl, Collection of Deborah Neff, Courtesy of the Mingei International Museum