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And the fifth child’s essential? A wooden bike. This is Galt’s 1960s and my goodness how generations of children have loved it.

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The fourth absolutely essential toy for a new baby is building blocks, this is the present of choice in our household. These are nineteenth-century but plain modern ones are usually pretty nice.

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Who could resist, then or nowadays, this 1940s Noah’s ArK?

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My goodness, it’s hard to choose the five best toys ever. Does one take fashion/up-to-dateness into account? Or just choose five favourites? Well, we have gone for an imaginary Persephone window – if we focused the shop window on classic toys, what would be in it. So the second favourite has to be the Sasha doll, a huge part of our lives in the ’70s and now given to a grandchild. (Available on e-bay for the nostalgic.)

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The Post this week continues the theme of toys – the classics. This is the Steiff teddy we gave Lydia’s Samuel.

 

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These bricks are attributed to Alma Buscher. The set consists of 48 rectangular blocks. It would have been lovely to give Lydia’s baby something by Alma. But instead Persephone gave him another European design, a Steiff teddy bear. Finally, do take a look at this excellent blog about the women of the Bauhaus. And do reread Manja to get an idea of what Alma endured between 1924 and 1933, and in two months read The Oppermanns to understand 1932-3 in more detail. (Manja will be discussed at an event at Jewish Book Week on March 1st when Eva Ibbotson, and of course her mother Anna Gmeyner, will be celebrated.)

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In 1923 Alma Buscher switched to the wood sculpture workshop under the direction of Muche and Josef Hartwig. She designed the furnishings of the children’s room in the prototype Am Horn house.

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The original box! There is something especially entrancing about seeing the toy and its box!

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Before we have more of Alma Buscher’s incredible designs, here she is aged 24, the year she designed yesterday’s ship. Four years later she was ‘a full time wife and mother’. (And twenty years later, at a time when some women return to their careers after their children are grown up, she was killed in an Allied bombing raid in the war. Sobering.)

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Happy New Year to all readers of the Persephone Post! And we hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and Chanukah.  The bad news was that our broken hearts ached even more (is that an impossibly mixed metaphor?) as January approached and rupture from the EU gets closer; and Trump’s actions fill us all with despair. The good news was that Lydia had her baby (a little boy called Samuel, all well); and we went to the film of Little Women (trailer here) and it is superb. It is actually great art. Anyway, Christmas is for children and toys, a time when the taste police  tries to compose its expression as the pink and the plastic reveals itself. So, in honour of the new baby and rather left-field great art (who would ever have anticipated Little Women being that?) and as an antidote to the pink – the Bauhaus designer Alma Buscher. She was the great influence on Paul and Marjorie Abbott and Galt (in the early days) during the 1960s but then her ideals were vanquished by the plastic. But ‘after 1927, she became a full-time wife and mother and never commercially produced any further toys or furniture, although she made furniture for the family home’. Which is probably why most of us had never heard of her until the recent celebrations of Bauhaus 100. This is Small Ship-Building Game, designed in 1923 when Alma Buscher was 24.

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