Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” has been an American classic for over 150 years. It is a story of suspense and adventure; of love and hope. It’s no surprise that The Boston Sunday Globe chose characters from the novel as the subject of one of its paper doll supplements in 1896!

Paper toys as newspaper supplements have an interesting history!  The Original Paper Doll Artists Guild describes this history in the following passage:

The Boston Herald began printing paper dolls in the 1890s. Two lady fashion dolls –one blonde, one brunette- were issued in the paper, and others could be ordered. Costumes in subsequent issues fit the dolls first shown. The Boston Globe soon followed with their own unusual paper dolls to put together. In 1907 and 1908, a Teddy Bear series was published, and in 1910, a family. After 1900, the Boston Post printed a series about Little Polly and Her Paper Playmates with the popular addition of Polly’s older sister Prue, all in full color. The Sunshine Paper Dolls series appeared in The Boston American and The Buffalo Express in 1916.

Paper dolls enjoyed a huge resurgence in newspapers during the Great Depression, when much entertainment could be had for a nickel from the comics and the paper dolls that often appeared in them. Some paper doll characters sprang directly from the comics: the Katzenjammer Kids, Dick Tracy, Brenda Starr, Daisy Mae and Li’l Abner, Fritzy Ritz and Jane Arden. Other newspapers had their own paper doll features, such as Mopsy, Boots and Millie.

I love newspaper paper dolls!  I’m sure Victorian boys and girls looked forward to getting the Sunday paper so they could engage in playtime with their new toy!  Such simple fun!

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