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.
This work, first published in 1920, is reprinted by Milne Library at the State University of New York College at Geneseo as part of the Genesee Valley Historical Reprints series. The Genesee Valley Historical Collection is Milne Library’s largest and most accessible collection of local history materials. Its geographical scope covers the eight counties surrounding the Genesee River in New York State: Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben and Wyoming. For more information, see: http://go.geneseo.edu/gvhr.