Frank Kidd, 83, is the proprietor of Kidd's Toy Museum, a private collection of 20,000 antique toys, from cars and trucks to figurines to, Kidd's favorite genre, mechanical banks like the one above. Some of the toys reveal a lot about the era they're from.
Some of the banks, as well as dolls and collectible plates, are coolly emblazoned with grotesque faces: racist caricatures of an array of ethnic groups, including Jewish men with horns coming out of their heads and stereotypes of black men and boys with bulging eyes and red lips. Kidd didn’t add these more upsetting toys to his collection on purpose, his daughter says. He merely collects antique banks, trains, cars, plates and dolls, whatever they happen to look like, and obsesses over their technical specs—things like whether they’re made of cast iron, pressed steel or lead...
“But unfortunately,” Julie Kidd says, “the racist stuff runs all the way through.” In other words, anyone who sets out to become a purveyor of antique American toys is going to end up with a set of offensive ones, whether they like it or not.
“I think that it’s very important that people see that sort of thing,” the younger Kidd adds, “that they know that’s what people grew up with, that’s what children grew up seeing and thinking was the norm—and to see how awful it looks from modern eyes.”
"One Man's Obsession With Antique Toys Resulted in a Museum" (Smithsonian)
Kidd's Toy Museum
Someone beat Hemingway's challenge by a single word. pic.twitter.com/qtgzYo2zkK — mugrimm (@mugrimm) April 29, 2020 Top image: JD Hancock / Flickr (CC 2.0)
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