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|Born|| October 31, 1955
|Known for||Cabbage Patch Kids|
Xavier Roberts (born October 31, 1955, Cleveland, Georgia), manufacturer of Cabbage Patch Kids, is an American artist and businessman. During the American Folk art movement of the late 1970s,[ambiguous] Roberts observed techniques involving the making of dolls from various materials, including the dolls of Martha Nelson Thomas of Louisville, Kentucky. Influenced by the quilts that his mother made, he began experimenting with a quilted doll. After much experimentation, Roberts created a type of doll he called "Little People". Roberts and a small group of friends began to travel from state to state in the southeastern U.S. attending various folk art exhibitions. At these exhibitions, Roberts began selling these handcrafted dolls he called "babies". Going into business as Original Appalachian Artworks, Inc., Roberts started producing Little People in his hometown of Cleveland, at a converted medical clinic, which he rechristened "Babyland General Hospital".
Martha Nelson Thomas, the creator of the precursor to the Cabbage Patch Kids, filed suit against Roberts in January, 1980. Thomas met Roberts in 1976 at a fair where she was selling her dolls. He liked what he saw and asked her to supply him some for sale at a Georgia state park where he then worked. But after some of her dolls had been sold there, she said, she decided to stop supplying them because she was concerned he might take the idea away from her. When Roberts began producing his own dolls, Thomas noticed a resemblance in design. "The dolls are very similar," she said. The marketing technique also resembled hers, said her attorney, Jack Wheat, of Louisville. She also is unhappy with the fact that the dolls are now being mass-produced. "There are too many mass-produced things. You need something personal, something hand-made, with someone who will stand behind it," she said.
Roberts would later create a series of country-inspired toy bears called The Furskin Bears.
- Tong, Judy (December 8, 2002). "Update: Xavier Roberts; Bigger Kids In the Garden". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- Press, Robert (December 12, 1983). ""Custody" Fight over Cabbage Patch Dolls". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
- Hoffman, William, Fantasy: The Incredible Cabbage Patch Phenomenon. ISBN 0-87833-386-X
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