Shirley Temple is someone I met many years ago, when she was first a U.S. Ambassador under then President Gerald Ford, later a U.S. Ambassador during the Reagan Administration. My collection of photos from Ms. Temple-Black I treasure as much as her films from 20TH Century Fox, where we both had a past relationship. Personally I believe Shirley Temple is the only child star along with Beverly Washburn who were unscathed by the industry. Shirley’s wonderful mom, as did Beverly’s made sure their little girls were children first, actors second.
Now, the Legendary Actress’s Childhood collection of movie costumes, dolls and memorabilia embarks on nationwide museum tour, “Love Shirley Temple,” Opens in Santa Monica next month on June 4 through June 10, and is sponsored by Theriault’s World’s Auction Leader for important Childhood objects.
Fans of all ages will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get an up close and personal look at approximately 100 pieces of Hollywood star Shirley Temple’s childhood costumes, dolls and memorabilia when the “Love, Shirley Temple” exhibition arrives at the Santa Monica History Museum (1350 7th St. Santa Monica 90401) June 4, 2015 for one week only.
While Shirley Temple, the famously dimpled child star danced, sang and smiled her way into hearts throughout the Great Depression years of the 1930s, her mother, Gertrude Temple, was busy preserving the memorabilia that attended her daughter’s more than 40 films of the decade. Film costumes, props, celebrity gifts, dolls, toys, playthings, all were cherished and carefully saved by Shirley and her family for some 80 years…until today.
Theriault’s, the world’s auction leader for important childhood objects, will sponsor an extraordinary series of events highlighting items from Shirley Temple’s famed childhood years, 1928-1940. The company will also publish a catalog that will include 500 pieces in this extensive legendary collection. Gertrude Temple’s painstaking work in preserving her daughter’s historic collection will provide fans worldwide with an intimate look into the life and work of “America’s Little Darling.” Entitled “Love, Shirley Temple”, the travelling museum exhibition will visit select cities from New York to California beginning April 30th and culminate with a spectacular auction event being held at the historic Little Theatre in Kansas City, MO on July 14th.
The collection includes: a child-sized racing car given to Shirley by her close friend and co-star Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, a Steinway baby-grand piano inscribed to her by Theodore Steinway on behalf of his family, her extraordinary autograph books, and a myriad of Shirley’s own cherished dolls, playthings and signed letters and photos from such luminaries as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Irving Berlin, Noel Coward, Marlene Dietrich and Orson Welles. In addition, Shirley Temple’s most recognizable movie costumes will be viewed for the first time including the iconic red polka dot dress from her breakout film “Stand Up and Cheer” and the complete Scottish-kilt outfit from director John Ford’s classic “Wee Willie Winkie.” The exhibition will also include many paintings and illustrations done for her by famed artists, animators and cartoonists of the period.
The family of Shirley Temple states “The legacy of our mother’s unique and legendary contribution to screen entertainment is embodied in these lovingly preserved artifacts of a childhood like few others in history. We believe that, just as the celluloid magic of her youth continues to captivate and enrich successive generations, these artifacts should now be shared across the world with collectors, fans and museums as tangible reminders of this child-star’s irrepressibly joyful and optimistic persona.”
Says Stuart Holbrook, President of Theriault’s, “As the leader in the preservation and auction of historic childhood objects, we are pleased to be offering such a personal collection from easily the most iconic youth of the 20th century. As well, to be able to sponsor and share many of the pieces at prominent museums nationwide prior to the auction event is truly a privilege and an honor.”
During the 1930’s and early 1940’s, Shirley Temple’s childhood rise to enduring stardom was unprecedented in Hollywood. From 1935 through 1938, in fact, Shirley Temple was indisputably the box office champion – a feat that has never been matched. Her smile, charm, and fifty-six curls are considered by many to have played an important role in lifting America from the Great Depression. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt was oft quoted saying, “As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right.”
The exhibits will begin with the first from April 30th to May 3rd at The Strong Museum in Rochester, NY and continue from May 7th to10th at The Wenham Museum north of Boston; May 21st to 24th at The Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ, near Manhattan; June 4th to 10th at the Santa Monica History Museum in California; June 12th-14th at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto in northern California and June 20th-27th at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The July 14th auction in Kansas City, MO will encourage and welcome worldwide participation.
A commemorative hardbound book will feature over 500 items and will serve both as an historical keepsake of the collection and as a presentation for the auction. The variety of items will appeal to every level of collector. The book can be pre-ordered now at www.theriaults.com.
Founded in 1970, Theriault’s is the largest auction house in the world dealing exclusively in antique childhood objects. Conducting over 40 live auctions annually across the U.S. they cater to an international clientele of collectors for what is considered to be one of the top 5 most popular collectibles categories.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Black and white photo of Shirley Temple “The Family of Shirley Temple Black from Family Archives”; Color photo of Shirley Temple memorabilia “Courtesy Theriault’s”
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