This children's colouring book "Shirley Temple My Book to Color" was published in 1937 by The Saalfield Publishing Company of Akron, Ohio, USA. It was one of the many items of merchandising produced during the 1930s about the popular and timeless child film star, Shirley Temple. In 1937 "The Australian Women's Weekly" noted that Shirley Temple earnt 50,000 Australian pounds from her four films over a year and a further 100,000 pounds from associating her name with commercial products.
This colouring book provides inside information about Shirley Temple's private life. It includes drawings of her home, pets, toys, and the film studio where she worked as well as her school. It illustrates the enormous interest in the private lives of film stars in the 1930s not only in American but in Australia.
The colouring book was used by Daphne Watt (nee Kingston), of Mackay, Queensland, in the late 1930s. Daphne was desperate to own a Shirley Temple doll but was not allowed. Instead she received this Shirley Temple colouring book which she obviously looked after all her life until donating it to the Museum in 2011. As a child Daphne carefully coloured between the lines and in adult life became an artist, illustrator and author.
Colouring books or painting books go back to the 1880s though they did not begin to become popular until the 1930s reaching their peak in the 1960s. They encouraged manual dexterity in endeavouring to obtain even colour distribution and staying between the lines. They also promoted discipline to finish a work, were portable and the colouring could be undertaken individually or with a small group encouraging social interaction.
Curator, Transport & Toys
"Shirley Temple is Big Business" in "The Australian Women's Weekly", 18 December 1937, p.36.
Information provided by Daphne Kingston 2011.