Now in paperback—the biography of a pioneering woman artist and the characters she created

Look Inside

Torchy Brown in "Dixie to Harlem"
June 12, 1937
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June 30, 1945
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Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger
July 12, 1947
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Torchy in Heartbeats
May 8, 1954
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Torchy Togs - example of a paper doll panel
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Copyright © 2008, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.


At a time of few opportunities for women in general and even fewer for African American women, Jackie Ormes (1911–85) blazed a trail as a popular cartoonist with the major black newspapers of the day. Her cartoon characters (including Torchy Brown, Candy, Patty-Jo, and Ginger) delighted readers and spawned other products, including an elegant doll with a stylish wardrobe and “Torchy Togs” paper dolls. Ormes was a member of Chicago’s black elite, with a social circle that included the leading political figures and entertainers of the day. Her cartoons and comic strips provide an invaluable glimpse into American culture and history, with topics that include racial segregation, U.S. foreign policy, educational equality, the atom bomb, and environmental pollution, among other pressing issues of the times—and of today’s world as well. This celebrated biography features a large sampling of Ormes’s cartoons and comic strips, and a new preface.

Nancy Goldstein became fascinated with the story of Jackie Ormes while doing research on the Patty-Jo doll. She has published a number of articles on the history of dolls in the classical world and the United States.

Visit the author's website at:

Jackie Ormes inducted to Eisner Hall of Fame Announcement | 1/16/2018

"Jackie Ormes & the Patty-Jo Doll" A History of Pittsburgh in 17 Objects | 6/9/14

Interview NPR's Marketplace | 3/11/2014

Interview Super I.T.C.H. |  3/10/2010

Review | 12/10/2009

Article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | 8/19/2008

Story NPR's All Things Considered | 7/31/2008
Review Seeing Indigo | 4/24/2008

Article Publishers Weekly | 2/4/2008

Review The New York Times Book Review | 3/30/2008

Review Joy Hog! | 3/28/2008

Review | 3/14/2008 

Interview University of Michigan Press

Interview Q&A with Nancy Goldstein