Florence Kate Upton (1873 – 1922)
was an American-born English cartoonist
and author most famous for her Golliwogg
series of children's books.
The Golliwog (originally spelled Golliwogg)
began life as a story book character created
by Florence Kate Upton. Upton was born in 1873
in Flushing, New York, to English parents who
had emigrated to the United States in 1870.
She was the second of four children.
When Upton was fourteen, her father died and,
shortly thereafter, the family returned to England.
For several years she honed her skills as an artist.
Unable to afford art school,
Upton illustrated her own children's book
in the hope of raising tuition money.
In 1895, her book, entitled
"The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg",
was published in London.
Upton drew the illustrations, and her mother,
Bertha Upton, wrote the accompanying verse.
The book's main characters were two Dutch dolls,
Peg and Sarah Jane, and the Golliwogg.
The story begins with Peg and Sara Jane,
on the loose in a toy shop, encountering
"a horrid sight, the blackest gnome."
The little black "gnome" wore bright red trousers,
a red bow tie on a high collared white shirt, and
a blue swallow-tailed coat.
He was a caricature of American black faced
minstrels - in effect, the caricature of a caricature.
She named him Golliwogg.
"The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg"
was immensely popular in England, and
Golliwogg became a national star.
For the next fourteen years, Bertha and
Florence Upton created a total of thirteen books
featuring Golliwogg and his adventures,
travelling to such "exotic" places as Africa and
the North Pole, accompanied by his friends,
the Dutch Dolls. In those books the Uptons put
the Golliwogg first in every title.