We created this website for everyone in the world who loves golliwogs, as we do! The much maligned golliwog was never meant to be a symbol of political incorrectness or racism. It has been a much loved childrens’ toy for over a century, and we hope that it can continue to bring fond memories to another generation of children. Enjoy!
The golly was created by Florence Kate Upton who was born in 1873 in Flushing, New York, the daughter of English parents who had emigrated to the United States three years previously. Following the death of her father she moved back to England with her mother and sisters when she was fourteen. There she spent several years drawing and developing her artistic skills In order to afford tuition to art school, she illustrated a children’s book entitled the The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg. The 1895 book included a character named the “Golliwogg”, who was first described as “a horrid sight, the blackest gnome”, but who quickly turned out to be a friendly character, and is later attributed with a “kind face”. The Golliwogg had jet black skin, bright red lips and wild, woolly hair. He wore red trousers, a shirt with a stiff collar, red bow-tie and a blue jacket with tails.
Upton’s book and its many sequels were extremely successful in England, largely because of the popularity of the Golliwogg. Upton did not trademark her character, and its name, spelt “golliwog”, became the generic name for dolls and images of a similar type. The Golliwogg doll became a popular children’s toy through most of the 20th Century, and was incorporated into many aspects of British commerce and culture. For instance, some of Enid Blyton’s books features them as often as a villain and sometimes as heroes. Upton’s Golliwogg was jovial, friendly and gallant.
Though the original Golliwog character was a kindly fellow always lending a hand to those in trouble, later authors portrayed him very differently. Over the years he became a rascal and even portrayed as a mean spirited character. He began to be considered “politically incorrect”. The “politically correct” reference is now Golly.