Children's colouring book, 'Shirley Temple My Book to Color' Authorized Edition No.1768, paper / cardboard, made by The Saalfield Publishing Company, Akron, Ohio and New York, United States of America, 1937, used by Daphne Kingston, Mackay, Queensland, Australia, 1937-1940
This children's colouring book "Shirley Temple My Book to Color" was published in 1937 by The Saalfield Publishing Company of Akron, Ohio, USA. It was one of the many items of merchandising produced during the 1930s about the popular and timeless child film star, Shirley Temple. In 1937 "The Australian Women's Weekly" noted that Shirley Temple earnt 50,000 Australian pounds from her four films over a year and a further 100,000 pounds from associating her name with commercial products.
This colouring book provides inside information about Shirley Temple's private life. It includes drawings of her home, pets, toys, and the film studio where she worked as well as her school. It illustrates the enormous interest in the private lives of film stars in the 1930s not only in American but in Australia.
The colouring book was used by Daphne Watt (nee Kingston), of Mackay, Queensland, in the late 1930s. Daphne was desperate to own a Shirley Temple doll but was not allowed. Instead she received this Shirley Temple colouring book which she obviously looked after all her life until donating it to the Museum in 2011. As a child Daphne carefully coloured between the lines and in adult life became an artist, illustrator and author.
Colouring books or painting books go back to the 1880s though they did not begin to become popular until the 1930s reaching their peak in the 1960s. They encouraged manual dexterity in endeavouring to obtain even colour distribution and staying between the lines. They also promoted discipline to finish a work, were portable and the colouring could be undertaken individually or with a small group encouraging social interaction.
Curator, Transport & Toys
"Shirley Temple is Big Business" in "The Australian Women's Weekly", 18 December 1937, p.36.
Information provided by Daphne Kingston 2011.
The Shirley Temple colouring book was published by the Saalfield Publishing Co. founded by Arthur J. Saalfield at Akron, Ohio, USA, in 1900. This firm specialised in producing inexpensive children's fiction and non-fiction books and paper products including paper dolls, colouring books, activity books and puzzles from 1900 until their close in 1977. The company's author list is a "Who's Who" of American children's literature including Herman Melville, Dr Seuss, Louisa May Alcott, Daniel Defoe and Mark Twain.
This colouring book belonged to Daphne Watt (nee Kingston). Born in Sydney in 1928, Daphne moved to Mackay, Queensland, in 1935 and lived there until 1950. She returned to Sydney for a family holiday in 1937 or 1938 and saw Shirley Temple dolls at a David JonesĀ? department store. She desperately wanted one but her mother declined and instead Daphne was given this Shirley Temple colouring book which she loved and carefully coloured between the lines. Daphne developed her artistic ability and as an adult graduated from the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney. She became an art teacher and artist and spent much of her life recording the old colonial buildings on Sydney's outskirts through photography and illustrations which were published in a number of books.
Daphne's childhood idol, Shirley Temple, was born in the same year as Daphne and began her film career at the age of 4 in 1932 rocketing to fame in a few brief years. Her "feel good" films produced in the depth of the Great Depression attempted to bring hope and optimism to the cinema viewing public to help them forget their worries for a short while. Shirley continued to make films until the age of 12 then only a few more in her teens until retiring from the industry in 1950 at the age of 22. Despite this relatively short film career her name is still commonly known 70 years later (in 2011) and her films continued to be shown on Australian television well into the 1970s.