The earliest Golliwog (or Golliwogg as he was originally
called) is the hero in books of verse written by Bertha Upton in the 1890s, and
illustrated by her daughter Florence. The mother and daughter worked together
on twelve illustrated books, all featuring the gallant little character and his
adventures travelling to such exotic destinations as Africa and the North Pole,
accompanied by his friends, the Dutch Dolls.
Though the original Golliwog character was a kindly
fellow always lending a hand to those in trouble, later authors portrayed him
very differently. Over the years he became a rascal, was often up to no good,
and even portrayed as a mean spirited character. Consequently his reputation
slid and because of his poor reputation and dark colour, he began to be
considered "politically incorrect". The "politically correct" reference is now
During the past few years, possibly because of the
centennial of the creation of the Golliwog, he has again become popular, this
time not with children so much as adult collectors and Golly artists.