Note: This object includes includes a derogatory slur and depiction of a particular cultural group. Such depictions are not condoned by Museums Victoria which considers them to be racist. Historical distance and context does not excuse or erase this fact.

Lithographed tin tambourine which depicts the story of the ten little nigger boys. It was used circa 1900.

The rhyme 'Ten Little Nigger Boys' was adapted in the late 1800s from '10 Little Injuns', written by Septimus Winner in 1868. It was a standard of the blackface minstrel shows and became widely known in Europe. It was used by Agatha Christie in her novel 'Ten Little Niggers' (1939) which was later re-titled 'And Then There Were None'. The version of the rhyme used in Christie's book does not end as happily as the version used on these lantern slides. 'Ten Little Niggers' was also used as the title for a 1940s book of children's nursery rhymes.

Physical Description

Lithographed tin tambourine with 3 sets of jingles (one of which has piece of red ribbon attached) protruding from rectangular-shaped holes spaced around the tambourine. The top is decorated with a lithograph divided into quarters. Each quarter depicts the story of the "Ten Little Nigger Boys". At the base of each quarter picture is painted (in black on gold background) the related story Ten, Nine, Eight and Six Nigger Boys. Dividing line between each quarter bears the words "Ten, Little, Nigger, Boys". Colours in each of the 4 pictures are red, black, yellow, cream, green, blue. On one side, a name is scratched in: "ANNIE CROLL..."

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