Featured Object

In each issue, the bimonthly DAR magazine, American Spirit, highlights an object from the DAR Museum collection in its "National Treasures" feature. These objects, often recent accessions or important pieces in the current exhibit, always have a story to tell about American history.

National Treasures

Greatest Toy on Earth

The Schoenhut Humpty-Dumpty Circus was an American-made toy popular from its introduction in 1903 until the 1930s. Schoenhut’s Circus grew to include more than 60 animals and performers, three rings with canvas tents, and parade wagons. Consumers could choose individual pieces to create whatever combination of animals and characters they desired. The people and animals were made with elastic and ball joints that could be arranged in realistic poses. The acrobats and other performers could even be positioned on the trapeze or high-wire.

Unlike many other toys of the time, the circus was intended for use by both boys and girls, and it was marketed as such. This was an innovation in the toy industry, which even today markets most toys to one gender or the other.

The DAR Museum’s circus is part of the Merritt Collection of toys donated by Jacqueline Ernest Merritt in 2006.

Volume 144, Number 3, May/June 2010, Page 25
Photography by Mark Gulezian/Quicksilver

More National Treasures

Sitting Pretty

To the Rescue

Strange Brew

Tayloe Family Ties

Ornamental Trio

Reviving the Stone

A Record to Remember

Strong Set

Fashion Flashback

Let's Go Ride a Bike

Rock-a-Bye

Isn't It Romantic

A Rockin' Good Toy

The Mystery of Mother and Child

Keep Cool

Dress for the Ages

Historical Register

Banjo Time

Getting Warmer

Virginia Map Quest

Serve It Up

Dress for the Day

Boston Uncommon

A Teapot to Revere

Seats of Honor

Birthday Threads

Clockwork

Play On

Top Drawer

Burning Bright

Seated in Revolution

Something to Crow About

Sister Stitch

Tea Time

Capturing Cherubs

A Link to the Past

Brushes with Fame

Something Borrowed

Supper Is Served

Stately Seats

Heirloom High Chest

Making Beautiful Music

Forged From Fire

For Madame's Trousseau

Let It Out

Heavenly Harmonies

Priceless Pooch

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