Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Toys During the Civil War?-- Part 1

From the Nov. 14th Bulletin "Even during the Civil War, toys had their place" by Kevin Begos, AP.

Even with the horrendous carnage on the battlefields, Santa Claus still had a place in America during he war. (Actually, cartoonist Thomas Nast came up with the prototype of Santa about this time.)

A photo of a toy soldier on a wooden horse (early GI Joe?) is in a storage area at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in Pittsburgh accompanies the article.

Michael Kraus was dressed in his Civil War soldier garb at the Carnegie Mellon University display of 1860s toys for the start of the annual Toys for Tots campaign. He says he has been drawn to this era's toys ever since he was a boy.

According to Kraus, "the 1860s saw the popularization of the Santa Claus tradition in America. Harper's Weekly in January 1863 published one of the first drawings of the rotund holiday figure, addressing a camp of soldiers, some of whom carry a banner reading: "Welcome Santa Claus.' A copy of the issue is part of the display."

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

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