Torchy in Heartbeats Torchy Brown in Dixie to Harlem Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger

In mid-20th century America, most black dolls represented stereotypes, like mammies, dolls advertised as "picaninnies," and raggedy little boys and girls.

Jackie Ormes said, "No more. . .Sambos. . .Just KIDS!" and she transformed her attractive, spunky Patty-Jo cartoon character into the first upscale American black doll. At long last, here was an African American doll with all the play features children desired: playable hair, and the finest and most extensive wardrobe on the market, with all manner of dresses, formals, shoes, hats, nightgowns, robes, skating and cowgirl costumes, and spring and winter coat sets, to name a few.

Produced between late 1947 and late 1949 by the Terri Lee doll company of Lincoln, Nebraska, Patty-Jo is sixteen inches high, made of hard plastic, is marked "TERRI LEE // PAT. PENDING" on her back, and has a stiff mannequin wig pulled into two low pony tails in the back. Original late 1940s Patty-Jo dolls are now highly collectible.