ANNAPOLIS, Md. — 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 now.
Theriault’s, a world auction leader for important childhood objects, is sponsoring an extraordinary series of events highlighting items from Shirley Temple’s famed childhood years, 1928-1940. Gertrude Temple’s painstaking work in preserving her daughter’s historic collection is providing 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 and culminate with a spectacular auction event being held at the historic Little Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 14.
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 Deitrich 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 “Wee Willie Winkie.” The exhibition also includes 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.”
Enjoy this clip from Temple’s famous 1934 film, “Stand Up and Cheer”:
The exhibit tour includes a stay at The Morris Museum in Morristown, N.J., near Manhattan May 21-24 and a visit to the Santa Monica History Museum in California June 4-10. Additional exhibitions are anticipated for early summer in the Midwest, Texas and other locations, finishing just before the July 14 auction.
Available for preorder at www.theriaults.com, a commemorative hardbound book features more than 500 items and serves both as a historical keepsake of the collection and as a presentation for the auction.