Mary Morrison's German Snow Babies
Cover Design by John DeBonis
What can a collector learn from my book about German snow babies? When I began collecting them, nothing based on fact had yet been published about them. There was some pretty good speculation, but also some completely inaccurate information in print. I must say that even today there is quite a bit of incorrect information online, in newsletters, and books about German snow babies. I have tried to tell readers when I know something to be true -- that is, I can prove it -- and when I am making an assumption. I've travelled to the snow baby manufacturing area in Germany, I've talked to some of the people involved, I've read everything I can get my hands on about snow babies. And I have personally handled thousands of old German snow babies and many reproductions. You can learn what I have learned.
My book is divided in thoroughly two sections. The first part of the book shows and talks about pieces made after about 1905 and before WWI. The second half covers the later period, from the early 1920s to WWII. There are also displays of snow babies, catalog pictures, chapters on baby care, and lots of pictures! Here are a few of those.
An entire chapter is dedicated to the pieces by Galluba and Hofmann. These pictures show three of the finishes used on snow figure pieces made by this factory. And there are variations on these! Only the first girl, the one dressed in blue-gray clothing, is truly a "blue snow."
Two children from the pink snow chapter. Not all of the pieces have pink snow, but they are so similar that they are grouped together. Not a lot is known about who made these pieces.
This piece is in a chapter devoted to early snow babies, as we think of snow babies today. Some types had snow that covered their feet and sometimes their hands entirely! This one at least has bare hands.
Caught him in mid-air. Snow babies and related pieces that are 4" and over are in a chapter of their own. Here is an example piece.
Chapter 9 is the last chapter in my book dealing with pre-WWI pieces. The pieces in this chapter are all roughly 3" tall if standing. The baby in the green flocked suit has a slit in his back that serves as a placecard holder.
Snow babies made after WWI were often more playful, and were also done with less time-consuming and expensive handwork. Usually the paint was not permanent. The producers may have planned that they would be used on cakes and tossed out, resulting in new purchases the following season's cake.
Chapter 12 shows adult snow babies engaged in winter sports. These three young women are part of a set of eight young women sledders and skiiers, all dressed in art deco style clothing.
Four Santas from more than one manufacturers featured in (and on) various types of automobile. Just looking, I feel the urge to collect! All of these are from the mid or late 1920s to the mid 1930s. Perhaps it was hilarious to think of Santa going anywhere in an automobile then. Small pieces like these were used at Christmas time by florists in displays and candy shops fastened them to the tops of beautifully wrapped candy boxes.
Chapter 14 shows and discusses bearded gnomes. In Scandinavia it is a gnome, not Santa, who brings gifts to children on Christmas.
Unbearded and usually younger looking gnomes are in Chapter 15. They are often shown enjoying themselves. Here it seems they have stopped work in Santa's workshop to try out some of the toys they have been making. Oops! That's only an American version of the story.
All types of snow baby animals are featured in Chapter 16. Some are snowed, as are these four, but not all are. Both real animals and cartoon ones are fashioned. All four of these pieces were found in the home of a woman who was a hoarder. For years, she bought things on sale, but once home she never bothered to open the packages. All four of these have their original Meier & Frank, Portland, Oregon, price tags.
Book's back cover, designed to help you quickly find the chapter you are looking for.