Leo Moss Crying Boy Doll, early 20th century, papier-mache socket head with molded black curly hair, inset glass eyes, pouty mouth and crying expression with two molded tears, incised "LM," cloth body with composition arms and legs, label sewn on chest that reads "REX 1912," wearing a white sailor suit with blue shoes, ht. 17 in.
Note: Leo Moss (d. 1936) was an African American handyman from Macon, Georgia. In the 1890s he began making dolls from scrap materials he found on jobs and colored them black with soot. His wife made the clothes, and he purchased the bodies from a toy salesman. Legend has it that his wife left him for the toy salesman, which is why his dolls are sad.
Provenance: Collection of Lenon Hoyt, who was a doll collector and started Aunt Len's Doll Museum in New York City that operated from 1970 to 1994; sold at Sotheby's New York in 1994; and again at Morphy Auction in Pennsylvania in 2010.
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