The McLaughlin doll was really a trade card produced for W.F. McLaughlin’s XXXX Coffee. It has the copyright 1894. Is it a basketball she’s holding? – probably not, but we really don’t know for sure. Basketball was first introduced at Chicago YMCAs in 1893. Amos Alonzo Stagg introduced basketball to the University of Chicago in 1894, and the first girls high school game ever is said to have occurred in Chicago in 1896. Historically, Chicago played an important role in basketball history and this doll/trade card could be a part of that. We’ll include it in the basketball collection. W.F. McLaughlin and Co., founded in 1842 by William Francis McLaughlin, was primarily based out of Chicago with plantations located in Rio de Janeiro and Santos. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the company built a new factory at State and South Water Streets. Trade cards from this era show the address 82, 84, 86, and 88 South Water Street, Chicago, expanding to 82-96 South Water Street. McLaughlin frequently used the slogan “Importers, Jobbers, and Roasters of Coffee” and was eventually bought out by Kraft in 1968.
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