Reference number
  • RF
  • Collection
  • Creation: 1960-70s
Extent and medium
  • 6 ceramic figurines and 1 plastic figurine
  • ┆6 ceramic musician figurines (clarinet, trumpet, saxophone, accordion, double bass, and guitar) 1 plastic footballer figurine with No. 9 on his shirt.
Content warning
  • We acknowledge that using the term "Golliwog" in the description and in the title is problematic. Rather than 'whitewashing' the history or denying the use of racist language we have used the historical name with reference to its creator(s) and in quotation marks to indicate previous usage rather than condoning the continuing use of offensive terms.
Administrative history
  • ┆The Golliwog character was created by Florence Kate Upton for her children's book _The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg_ which was published in 1895. Inspired by minstrelsy entertainment which began in the US around the 1830s with troupes of white performers wearing blackface to perform songs and sketches that reinforced white supremacy and dehumanised and degraded African American people, Upton's character is unmistakably and inherently racist. While "Golly" products are still sometimes defended today as 'innocent and lovable collectables', the character has undoubtedly contributed to the trajectory of systemic racism. Robertson's was a UK-based marmalade and fruit preserves manufacturing company, founded by James Robertson in 1864, who adopted the image of the Golliwog or "Golly" for its mascot. Appearing on product labels and featuring in marketing campaigns from 1910, this soon followed with the development of Golliwog merchandise, including pin badges, toys, and figurines etc. that could be obtained through the exchange of coupons found on Robertson's products. It wasn't until 2001 that Robertson's finally dropped the figure as its official trademark following more widespread understanding of the Golliwog as a racist caricature. The figurines were obtained by the grandparents of the donor who collected the coupons from Robertson's jams in the 1960s and 1970s that were then redeemed with Robertson's in exchange for the collectable figurines. These were then found in 2019 by relatives during their house clearance. Rather than disposing, the depositor wishes them to be used as an educational tool exposing the insidious and oppressive nature of cultural racism. This description has been written with reference to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia []( and 'History of Minstrelsy from _Jump Jim Crow_ to _The Jazz Singer'_ an online exhibition hosted by Digital and Special Collections at USF Libraries [](
Access status
  • Open
Conditions governing access
  • Available for educational purposes only.
Conditions governing reproduction
  • Copyright in the figurines rests with a third-party.
Archivist's note
  • Catalogued by Dr Natalie Hayton, archivist.
Date(s) of descriptions
  • June 2019