The Darktown Fancy Ball Puzzle
box: 1 1/4 x 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. ( 3.2 x 24.1 x 19 cm )
lithographed: on the box cover: "THE/ DARKTOWN/ FANCY/ BALL/ PICTURE/ PUZZLE/ Copyright 1894/ PARKER BROTHERS/ SALEM, MASS. U.S.A."
"The Darktown Fancy Ball Puzzle" twenty-four piece paper covered cardboard picture puzzle of a caricatured African-American dance hall with charaterizations of African-Americans dressed as clowns, bellhops, knights, military officers, etc. in a shoddy room; box cover chromolithographed with an image of a caricatured African-American couple in a carriage, the man with feathers in his hair and the woman with a nappy around her head; box cover lithographed with the inscription, "THE/ DARKTOWN/ FANCY/ BALL/ PICTURE/ PUZZLE/ Copyright 1894/ PARKER BROTHERS/ SALEM, MASS. U.S.A."
The theme of Darktown -- a fictitious segregated community -- was familiar to Americans of the Victorian era. Currier & Ives, the New York-based lithography firm, produced an extensive series of Darktown prints from the late 1870s through the mid-1890s, using caricatures and coarse stereotypes to lampoon blacks who moved north after the Civil War.
The Liman Collection
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.