Amosandra Doll from the Amos and Andy Radio Show

The Amosandra baby doll was manufactured by the Sun Rubber Co. located in Barberton, Ohio in the late 1940's. Packed away for posterity, I found a photo of me with my doll in 1948. The story goes that she was the baby daughter of Amos from the famous Amos and Andy Radio Show. Ruth E. Newton was the designer of this very sweet doll. Ms. Newton was a well-known artist at that time who illustrated many children's picture story books. The doll was clearly marked on her back, AMOSANDRA, copyright Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. Designed by Ruth E. Newton, Mfd. by The Sun Rubber Co., Barberton, O., U.S.A., Pat. 2118682, Pat. 2160739. This little cutie is 10" tall and made entirely of rubber. She was fully jointed so her head, arms and legs were poseable. She was one of the first drink and wet dolls and was completely submergible. Her hair and facial features were painted. She is now considered to be one of the first Black American dolls and has become highly collectible. One must keep in mind, however, that age hasn't been kind to some of these dolls and, unfortunately, some have succumbed to unavoidable rubber deterioration. Please visit the May 2008 archive for another article and photo about the rubber condition of Amosandra. Just click above on "janiesdolls.com" and click on the May 2008 archive listed in the right column. I had no idea that Amosandra touched the lives of so many of us baby boomers. See new pics of MIB Amosandra in September 2009 archive. Thanks!

Posted on Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 09:08:48 PM in Dolls-from-the-1940s
janie

By janie

Comments

  • I'm assuming that a number of the people who have commented, like myself, are white. Yet, this doll has touched all of us. I also remember my Amosandra with great fondness and nostalgia, but she deteriorated in the dry Arizona climate and I lost her long ago. I probably received her as a gift in about 1950? I'm hoping that this sweet doll taught us all some tolerance because I never regarded her with condescension.

  • Would you be willing to post, or to email me, the photo of you with your doll? I teach a course about American radio, and would love pictures from the time period showing how these "race dolls" were played with across racial lines, because of the popularity of the television and radio programs featuring Gosden and Correll in blackface. My mom had one, and I remember playing with it in the 1970s - they are charming, and such an interesting American artifact. Would be very obliged. Great site, love your photos.

  • I love your doll. I also have a Amosandra doll and she is hard and crack on her face. I wish I could find one in good condition as she was always my favorite and have had her stored for many many years.

  • Thanks for your comment. Good luck finding one is nice shape. These dolls are now almost 60 years old and suffer from rubber deterioration...very sad!!

  • I played with my Amosandra doll in the early 1960's. She had belonged to an older cousin. Unfortunately she melted when left to close to the radiator. I have fond memories of my beautiful baby doll.

  • I too had an Amosandra doll that was my favorite. It had been stored since I was a child and my daughters were not allowed to play with it. My oldest daughter secretly took it out of storage (when she was 6) and then hid the doll in the back of a closet on the second floor of our home - next to the outside wall - in August. Needless to say, Amosandra suffered greatly from this treatment and I have been suffering since that time at the loss of my favorite doll. Thanks for the great photo of Amosandra. She brought back memories of my happy childhood.

  • It is so nice to hear that sweet little Amosandra brings back such fond memories. There is no doubt that she is one of the cutest dolls every made!! I would love to hear more stories. :)

  • My brother and I put our money together and bought our little sister (aged 3) an Amosandra doll for Christmas in about 1956. Our sister loved her and named her Chocolate Drop. I don't know what happened to her, but I imagine that time destroyed her. I wish a doll co. would put out a plastic doll from the same molds, as I would love to give my sister that doll again.

  • Thanks for sharing your memories of this sweet doll. Sounds like your sister is very lucky to have such a caring sister and brother. :)

  • my mother has an amosandra doll that she got in 1953 it came with a birth certificate and a arm bracelet which my mother still has both and the doll but unfortunately she melted in spots and cracked but then a few months ago she found another one at a yardsale but she is missing an arm and a toe has been chewed she wrapped her in a blanket so you couldn't see it and is very happy to have one in better shape than the original that even though it is in bad shape she will never get rid of it.

  • I enjoyed your comment! Amosandra was truly a special doll!

  • My little "Amosandra" baby came to me by way of Santa in 1946. She has ben my constant companion ever sence. She was given a wardrobe of nighty, robe, silk and lace diapers and a blanket all in pink by my mother. All hand made. For her year old Christmas, Santa gave her a cradle. All of which I still have today. She has laid in her cradle in my bedroom in every home my late husband and I have ever lived in. She was never alowed to be played with. Of course having three boys helped to preserve her. But she has cancer ever so bad now and not much longer for this world. I just havn't had the heart to put her away. She remains wrapped in her blanket and lays on her side so I can still see her smile. If a good replacement ever comes on the market, I would hope some one lets me know. I breaks my heart to give her up.

  • Thanks for your little story! I am very sorry to hear of your doll's condition. Unfortunately, the rubber deterioration is much too common with these sweet dolls. I have one that is also suffering...but I will keep her until there is nothing left! :)

  • Our baby sister, Kay, in the forties, had saved her pennies, nickles & dimes toward an Amosandra doll. We listened, religiously, to the radio show; to all the comedy shows, of that time, "Fibber Magee & Molly", "Amos & Andy", etc.!

    Nothing but an Amosandra doll would please her. She purchased the doll for
    $3.98, I think it was (with our Dad's help) at a local drug store. The first of
    many Amosandra dolls. It came with a little bottle; you filled with water & she
    would wet her diaper. Which, of course, had to be changed. Eventually, the
    water rotted out the doll.

    So, am trying to bid on the doll as a surprise gift for her. She had about 4 or
    5 of these dolls, eventually, which she just 'wore out' with her wear & tear but
    she is a beautiful memory & thank God, some have survived.

    Thanks for this lovely photo.

    I'm printing it out for my sister to see.

    Loretta Johnson
    loretta@ifco.org

  • I loved your story! Hope you find one...what a nice gift! :)

  • I'm a 62 french grand mother and I found out that this was the doll that my father brought me back from the states in 1950 . I was five years old and wanted a black doll. My father always told me that he had a lot of difficulties to find one and that no one wanted to sell him a black doll... Anyway he brought back this marvellous little doll to which I gave so many bathes that ten years later I found the rubber all rotten and I buried it in my garden , crying so much...I just loved it.I'd love to find one not too badly hurt like the one on ebay this week but they are very expensive maybe the will reedit the mold ... if they do let me know and if you feel like it give me some news in France of this marvellous little afro american doll

  • This special doll made so many little girls happy (I am also 62 now!) She was truly one of my favorites. Thanks so much for your comment. :)

  • My sister and I (65 and 63 years old) each received the Amosandra doll from Santa. My sister's doll has really suffered from rubber deterioration. My doll was about in perfect shape, but I packed it in a box with some other old dolls when we moved and after two years, I have just unpacked the dolls and the head is all out of shape. I do wish I could find a new head. I was going to try a hair dryer on her head but after reading the comments I am glad I didn't. I plan to try ebay. I have to agree that Amosandra is one of the cutest doll ever!

  • I hope I can find an Amosandra doll or at least a head for my doll.

  • After reading your comment, I just had to take another look at my poor baby!! In just a month there is a lot more deterioration. The wonderful doll pictured is one that I had for a short time and sold her. I am willing to bet that now she could also be showing signs of the "plague". Unfortunately, nothing that I know of can stop it. Best of luck finding one. :)

  • bonjour, amosandra a été ma première poupée. Mon grand'père l'avait commandée sur un catalogue qui venait de Chicago et qu'il recevait en France. Je ne l'ai plus depuis très longtemps et j'aurais aimé en retrouver une.

  • Have been researching Amosandra and what a great feeling to learn of so many others who have loved her. I am 69 and remember living in Chicago, taking the trolley downtown and my Mom buying her for me in the Woolworth's store for $.40 - lots of money back then. It was areal treat to get a gift inbetween Christmas and my birthday. She was my favorite of many dolls - she, too, has suffered rubber deterioration in back of head, arms and legs but her tummy has survived well. Has anyone tried a trip to the doll hospital for some help? Would love to hear from anyone. I have her dressed in the sweetest little pink gingham outfit with bonnet that I made for her a few years ago. I also would love to find another.

  • Loved your story!! Thanks for your comment. We could all start an Amosandra Doll Club!!! :)

  • I am 67 and received my Amosandra from Santa in the early 40s. I loved her with all my heart. I grew up and moved north. My mother gave by sweet baby doll to my cousins. They destroyed her in a short time.
    I cried when I saw Amosandra on EBay. It was very sad to see her all battered and torn. I am searching for another one in good condition.

  • Thanks for visiting the site and your comment. This wonderful doll does bring some emotions to the surface! Good luck finding one!

  • Thank you for jogging my memory. Ahhh nostalgia. Sigh Would you believe I actually had the "prototype" of this darling "Amosandra?" Really!
    My Dad, Joe Schweiger, was the sound engineer on "Amos 'n' Andy" (and many other popular radio (and early TV) shows. Freeman Gosdan actually gave my Dad the first Amosandra doll, "just to bring home to his daughter." She was just beautiful and was my favorite doll for many years. She was different from the "run of the mill" caucasian baby dolls and I prided myself on being her "Mom." Sadly, she eventually got given to the "Goodwill" during the time we moved to another home. I was upset and missed my baby. Thanks for the memories! Love, Carol

  • How amazing! Do you remember if the prototype was the same as the all rubber doll that the rest of us had? I hope others will enjoy your comment as much as I have! The internet is so amazing...without it I never would have had the pleasure of hearing your great little story!! Thanks so much.

  • Gosh Janie, I wish I could answer that. I think she was. As I recall, she came in a darling checked outfit and had a beautiful face. I loved her to pieces. My Mom and I made her other doll clothes. She had a bottle and she wet, too. She was amazing! I am so sad that I don't have her anymore ~0:'-(. From what the others have said, I doubt she would have survived the environment because she was made of rubber, as I recall. I'm sure (in that she was the first) she must have been like the others that followed her though I'm not totally certain.

    Yes, the Internet certainly has changed our lives! Can't believe you got back to me so quickly!!

    Love,
    Carol ~0:-) "Nikkie"

  • Thank you for your followup comment...keep checking to see if others have a story to tell. Of all the dolls on my site, Amosandra is getting the most attention!! I guess she really was a very special doll.

  • I wonder if there are more than one version of this doll or slight differences for different years of manufacture. My Amosandra doll had her "copyright info." on her back as you have stated in your article. I have also seen dolls with the "Amosandra Copyright Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc." on the head near the neck area and the rest of the information on their back and the eyes are plastic not painted on. I would think these dolls would not be fakes as they too have the deterioration problem. I also remember the doll's distinct smell. I inherited my doll. My aunt bought her two children each an Amosandra. One cousin lost their doll. My aunt could not determine which of her children lost her doll, therefore she gave the doll to me. An like the other people who have written to you it broke my heart when she started to deteriorate. Maybe some day some on will do a complete history on this rare Black American doll. It would also be great if someone could find a way of keeping this doll from deterorating further than they already have.

  • I have also seen Amosandra with the plastic inset type eyes. My guess is that it is a later version, perhaps the early 1950's. Isn't it amazing how we can remember certain odors! I know just what you mean. Maybe someone will comment and give us a definite age for the dolls with the plastic eyes. Thanks for your comment.

  • I have been doing some research on Amosandra and I read somewhere that the plastic inset eyes does indicate a later version and the reason for the change is that the painted eyes didn't last, the paint would rub off. I am no doll expert so I can't say for sure.
    I also have a question for Carol Worth..do you know for sure what year you got your doll or when the first doll was sold to the general public? I have been told it was just before Christmas 1948.

    @Mona - I think I got "Amosandra" in 1948. As I recall, I was about 9 years of age. Surely wish I still had her! C.

  • Even though I don't have the picture of me with my doll anymore (too many moves), I do remember the photo and where I was when it was taken. I am sure it was the summer of 1949. There is a good chance it was a gift for Christmas 1948. My doll had the painted eyes just like the one pictured here. I still had my doll when my son was born in 1968. I know he played with it and I probably tossed it out!! Of course, that was before I started collecting dolls. I can't believe I would have done that! Thanks for your comment and hopefully Carol will post an answer to you!

  • I have a doll just like this one she was given to me on my 1st Birthday 48 years ago she is in great shape and I have always called her Helen. My Aunt brought her back from the South, I was the only kid in a very small town witha black baby doll and I have been searching to find out who made her and if there were others. Helen has a small stamp on her bottom JD her features are beautiful and so detailed. Helen does not have arms and legs that move her head does. She has very detailed toes fingers and ears.

  • I have this doll. I just need to locate her from a box, I know her fingers were starting to deteriorate, but other that she is in GREAT shape. Does anyone know what she is worth today? I always loved her name! it's so unusual.

  • I searched for ever so long to find out anything about this doll! I'm so glad to find this site and the beautiful picture of my beloved "Brown Baby". I got my doll as my very first doll when I was 2 1/2 and I am now 61, so she was probably given to me in 1949. I named her Brown Baby and as my mother told me, she came in a little pink suitcase and she was one of two dolls - they were TWINS! Since I was so young, my mom only gave me one of the dolls and put the other one away. Unfortunately, a house fire destroyed both of them. I was gifted with another set of the twins when I was about 5, and this time I got them both. I clearly remember the two and they had the glass eyes you mentioned. I loved them so deeply and completely that despite many many dolls in my life, my Brown Babies were always my favorites. What is truly unique is that even though I was told I'd never bear children, at 28 I gave birth to beautiful twin daughters! Would you believe that their last name is BROWN! Real, live Brown Babies.

  • My dolls also deteriorated from heat, water, and time. I would love to find them again, new or old!

  • Monnie, I loved your story!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

  • I was given one of these dolls in on my first birthday, 02/23/1954. She had the glass eyes. She was my favorite doll. Also the favorite of my little sisters.
    I still had her in 1972 when our first son was born. It survived all 3 of our sons growing up. When we moved back into town in 1987 my doll came up missing. I had her in a little red nightgown sleeper because her arms and legs had come apart. My sister found one of the original dolls without the glass eyes and bought it for me in the early 90's. She paid $80.00 for her. I have her right here in front of me as I write this. Part of the rubber is as smooth and beautiful as the day she was made. Her tummy, legs, and arms are badly weather checked but no real breaks. She also has all of her fingers and toes.
    I found this sight in trying to find a way to preserve rubber. I guess their really is not much I can do except to keep her away from heat and sunlight. We will try making a little glass case that is air tight to keep her in unless someone can give me a better idea. I guess I am very lucky.

  • Janice, I just wrote an updated article about Amosandra and her rubber deterioration problem. It is in the May 2008 section. I have pictured my poor baby and have added a bit of advise about the care of these dolls. Thanks for stopping by the site and come back again. :)

  • I had two Amosandra dolls. My family was very poor but I managed to get one for Christmas twice. It was the best gift I ever had. I handmade all of her clothes and learned how to knit so that she could have a hat and coat. When I think of how much my mother had to do to get that doll for me, my heart swells. Later, I found a replica for my niece who is not trying to find one for her daughter. Hopefully, someone will realize what a joy that toy was and will redevelop her. One thing I remember most is that she always smelled like a baby. How was that? It is great to see that so many other people enjoyed her like I did. I thought she was a "poor" baby. Now, at 62, I realize she was richer than any toy I could have had.

  • My favorite doll ever was Amosandra which I got around 1949. A little girl hid her from me and I never got her back. I have tried so hard this past year to get one since she is one of the most precious of my childhood memories. Does anyone have an idea of how much they go for now?? I don't want to be an idiot but I want Amosandra even if she is not my original doll.

  • Thanks for your comment. The condition of Amosandra will determine her current value. I would say her price could range from a low of $30 to upwards in the low hundreds for a doll that is still in excellent condition with no deterioration. Good luck!

  • I have an Amosandra doll and she is in great shape. She was always one of two favorite dolls. We took many baths together (which of course meant many "diaper" changes! I am 62 and think I got her for my first or second birthday. Our family listened regularly to the Amos & Andy Show on the radio (along with Fibber McGee and Molly and many others) and I always called her Amosandra. I loved the sound of it!
    My other favorite doll was Bonnie Braids. She is blonde and was the daughter of Dick Tracy. I had the rubber baby doll but heat got to her. I still have the walking Bonnie Braids and she too is in great shape. Does anyone else know anything about Bonnie Braids?

  • You are indeed lucky to have an Amosandra in great shape!!! I just checked eBay and a painted eye Amosandra in nice condition with no deterioration just sold for $281. Treasure your sweet baby and keep her in a climate controlled place. I also remember the Dick Tracy comic and always loved cute Bonny Braids. She was the baby daughter of Dick Tracy and Tess Trueheart manufactured by Ideal from 1951-1953. Her first version was a vinyl head and "magic skin" body which usually falls victim to temperature and time. Your "toddler" walker was the version from 1953. A vinyl head, plastic body with yellow painted hair, saran braids and sleep eyes. This toddler version also can as a non-walker. So nice to hear that you have some survivors!!

  • I have an Amosandra doll that I found recently while cleaning out
    my Mother's house.
    She is in good condition---I played with her in the 40"s ---my mother
    thought it was cool to have a doll named Sandra and we loved Amos
    and Andy!!!
    Then my daughter played with her in the 60's---I have many photos of
    her with the doll in our NYC apartment.
    I have grandsons (not interested!) so I would sell her.

    Do you still have the doll?
    What would you want for AmoSandra and can you send pictures of her so I can see her condition.I got one when I was 5 or 6 and she has really deterioted over the years.I have her boxed up and can not throw her away.She was my favorite and I have been looking fo years for anther one in good condition.
    Please reply
    Thank you

  • My amosandra doll is one of my prized possessions. I got her for my third Christmas in 1951 and have a picture of me holding her. I loved my baby and carried her around all the time. Each night I put her to bed in the bottom drawer of my dresser. About a year later my mother gave her away (without telling me) to a family whose house burned down and their little girl lost all of her toys. More than 55 years later I still remember the paralyzing shock of finding my baby gone.

    In about 1993 I was in an antique store following my husband around (I get bored real fast in antique stores and almost never go in) when I distinctly heard someone call out "Mama!" Sounds crazy, but I stopped, looked in the case I had just passed and on the bottom shelf of the glass case partly obscured was my baby. I knew it was her. Long story made short: The store owner was holding the doll for someone who had already purchased it but didn't currently have a place for her. I was heart broken. When my mother found out she, my husband, and one of my nieces apparently got into a bidding war for the privilege of secretly buying her for me. The store owner contacted the woman who had just bought the doll and arranged a deal in exchange for letting my family buy her for me.

    Each time I hold her I feel such joy. Unfortunately, deterioration has seriously effected her arms and now the head is starting to deteriorate. I would love to find some way preserving her. One thought I had was to try something like a rubber preservative for tires, etc. However, I'm concerned about the silicon. I may perhaps try it on a part of one arm that has all but rotted away. If it works I'll pass it along.

  • What a nice story! Let us all know if you find an answer to the deterioration problem. It is so frustrating to see these doll disappearing right before our eyes. Thanks so much for your comment :)

  • I got one for my 5th B'day--Had her for years -Have been searching for 3years to find her....................It was a special gift from just my dad..................If you are ever willing to sell.......let me know-or if you know someone who has one in this good of condidtion......Phone 920-992-3919......I would really love to have her....Thanks...jan

  • I picked Amosandra from the Christmas wish book when I was very small (1948 or 1950) and could not be coaxed to change my mind. She was my favorite doll and I loved her into my college years when she became so dry rotted I had to get rid of her. When I had my own daughter in the early 1970's , my Mom and Sister found another at a garage sale in Nevada. I was so excited to have another Amosandra. But, the years again took their toll and she, too, dry rotted. I loved my Amosandra so much and wrapped her in blankets and changed her hundred and hundreds of time. She is a treasured memory!

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