Tracing developments in toy making and marketing across the evolving landscape of the 20th century, this encyclopedia is a comprehensive reference guide to America’s most popular playthings and the culture to which they belong.
John Lloyd Wright invented Lincoln Logs in 1916 while assisting his architect father, Frank Lloyd Wright, on the construction of the Imperial Hotel in Japan. Barbie is based on a German doll named Bild Lilli marketed to bachelors in German cigar stores and sex shops. She has been the best selling American doll since her introduction in 1959. What does the background of these toys mean? How does it relate to their significance in popular culture?
From the origins of favorite playthings to their associations with events and activities, the study of a nation’s toys reveals the hopes, goals, values, and priorities of its people. Toys have influenced the science, art, and religion of the United States, and have contributed to the development of business, politics, and medicine. Toys and American Culture: An Encyclopedia documents America’s shifting cultural values as they are embedded within and transmitted by the nation’s favorite playthings.
Alphabetically arranged entries trace developments in toy making and toy marketing across the evolving landscape of 20th-century America. In addition to discussing the history of America’s most influential toys, the book contains specific entries on the individuals, organizations, companies, and publications that gave shape to America's culture of play from 1900 to 2000. Toys from the two decades that frame the 20th century are also included, as bridges to the fascinating past—and the inspiring future—of American toys.
• Nearly 200 alphabetically arranged entries document the historical and cultural significance of toys
• Cross-references and a listing of additional resources accompany each entry and encourage further investigation
• Photographs and illustrations gathered from public and private collections across the country depict the entire century of America at play
• A guide to related topics identifies the entries according to broader categories such as toys, designers, companies, museums, events, and organizations
• A resource guide provides information for contacting American toy companies, accessing national toy museums, and attending annual toy festivals, and offers many avenues for pursuing further information about toys and American culture including books, scholarly journals, audio recordings, films, and websites
• The first encyclopedia to explore the relationship between toys and the development of the nation, both culturally and politically, providing a history of the invention and distribution of American toys from 1900 to the present
• Documents the culture and controversies of American toys alongside the history of their development
• Introduces the audience to the designers, manufactures, organizations, and publications that have shaped American toys
• Tackles complex social issues such as childhood branding and gender stereotyping that are associated with many American toys