Toys and American Culture: An Encyclopedia

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More About This Textbook

Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"…this entertaining guide to American culture will find an interested audience in school, public and academic libraries."

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Lawrence Looks at Books

"An excellent purchase for most public libraries and academic libraries with an emphasis on contemporary culture."

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Booklist

"Scott, an author and journalist specializing in American popular culture, offers an encyclopedia of toys in American culture that addresses the relationship between the two and the invention and development of toys in terms of historical events, social movements, and international progress. Entries trace developments in toy making and marketing in the twentieth century, the history of influential toys, and important trends, individuals, designers, museums, events, organizations, companies, and publications, with discussion of the cultural, social, and historical significance of each toy. A sampling of entries: Barbie, action figures, Bratz, Cabbage Patch Kids, Chatty Cathy, Disney Company, Elmo, FAO Schwarz, Fisher-Price, gender stereotyping, guns, Lincoln Logs, PEZ, safety, Star Wars toys, Toy Industry Association, and Walmart. B&W photos and illustrations are included. Games are omitted. The bibliography incorporates events, organizations, and collections."

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Reference & Research Book News

"A must-have volume for toy collectors, writers, and researchers, and an outstanding resource for anyone who ever played with toys…"

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Midwest Book Review

"Toys and American Culture is a valuable source of information on an important aspect of American popular culture and would therefore be a worthy addition to both public and academic library collections."

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Reference & User Services Quarterly

"Toys and American Culture is an ambitious reference book that breaks new ground in taking the entire field of American toys as its purview. … a useful addition to the expanding toy reference bookshelf, reflecting the growing significance of toys, play, and children as topics worthy of attention within a broader historical and cultural context."

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American Journal of Play

"…this insightful book is a must for anyone involved in the care and well being of a new baby."

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drtoy.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313347986
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/31/2009
  • Pages: 418
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 24, 2010

    Invaluable Volume For Collectors, Writers and Researchers...Hours Of Fun For All

    Who knew that the iconic Radio Flyer wagon was the brain-child of an Italian immigrant, Antonio Pasin, whose 1917 prototype, the #4 Liberty Coaster, was so named in honor of the Statue of Liberty?

    Ever heard of the Barbie Liberation Organization (BLO) who orchestrated a most unusual media scandal in the name of gender stereotyping? Members purchased hundreds of Talking G.I. Joes and Talking Barbies, switched the voice mechanisms, then returned them to the stores where unsuspecting Christmas shoppers purchased them for Dick and Jane.

    On Christmas morning 1989, little girls were shocked to hear a testosterone-filled male voice blasting from their bikini clad fashion doll, Barbie, barking military orders instead of party plans. Boys were similarly traumatized by the soft, female voice emitting from their bullnecked, blood and guts hero as he giggled coquettish remarks about dating and fashion woes. Notes had been placed in all of the boxes instructing parents to notify the local media. The opening salvo of the BLO's gender wars was thus unleashed upon America.

    Do you know what iconic doll was brought to life by a cartoonist for the New York Herald after the 1915 death of his young daughter (whose demise was attributed to an accidently given a second dose of an experimental smallpox vaccine)?

    The answer, along with hundreds of other obscure, but tasty toy tidbits, can be found in Sharon M. Scott's quintessential new book, Toys and American Culture, An Encyclopedia. A must-have volume for toy collectors, writers, and researchers, and an outstanding read for anyone who ever played with toys, Toys and American Culture isn't your standard "toy showcase". It explores the relationship of trends and social changes as evidenced by America's toy appetite over the decades. Meticulously researched, the broad scope of this volume demonstrates Ms. Scott's tenacity in presenting a refreshing look at an old, but beloved subject. Where we've been, where we are, and where we're going are but a few of the subtle undercurrents unique to this volume. The role of art, the media, endorsement, overseas manufacturing, and toy safety are but a small sample of the subject palette.

    While this wonderful book has proved invaluable to me as an antique toy collector and writer, it has also become a sore subject between my 11-year-old-twin grandsons. The pair fights over who gets to peruse it first when they visit. Little wonder as it is presented in a well-organized format with many black and white photos. Toys And American Culture will stick with you long after you've scoured its pages to discover your own gems.

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  • Posted February 3, 2010

    Wonderful Book

    This book was so much fun to read. As a toy collector, I found so many new and interesting things about the toys that I have in my collection. There were 160 detailed entries on toys and the people who developed them plus a very comprehensive research guide and time line at the end of the book. I especially enjoyed looking at some of the unusual pictures of the toys and children playing with them. A great book to pass along to children and grandchildren.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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