Berry & Ross Doll Company In Harlem, NY 1918 – 1929

Berry & Ross, Inc., was a black owned doll company founded by Harlem residents, Evelyn Berry and Victoria Ross, located at 36 – 38 West 135th Street, in Harlem, New York.The company was founded in 1918 until around 1929. These two women were the first African American female large scale manufacturers of black composition dolls. The dolls appealed to both black and white children. And were sold in large department stores in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and a few other cities.

Black Doll Collecting reports that on the weblog on Henrietta Vinton Davis, August 15, 1860 – November 23, 1941, a woman who worked closely with Marcus Garvey in organizing and promoting the efforts of UNIA.  The weblog on Davis indicates during an address by Marcus Garvey at the Palace Casino in New York on June 15, 1919, Davis recited the poem, “Little Brown Baby” by Paul Laurence Dunbar.  During the recitation, she used a large black doll on loan from Berry & Ross, Inc.  The doll used might have been similar to the one held by the little girl in the image above.  Davis’s speech ended with an appeal to the audience to support the factory in its efforts to promote a spirit of pride in black people.

Via source. ‘Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.’

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