Baba-Yaga Puppet

Description (Brief)
This carved and painted wooden puppet, known as 'Baba Yaga' the Wicked Witch, is one of four characters created by Basil Milovsoroff. for one of his puppet sho based on Russian fairy tales. Baba Yaga, who is sitting on a bucket and holding her broom is accompanied by 'Leyshi 'the magical villain and Jokester, and 'Koschei' the Deathless, and a background panel called 'The Hut on Chicken Legs'. These puppets are moved using strings and/or rods.
Milovsoroff was known for his strange but whimsical puppets which were based on characters from Russian folklore and fairy tales Milovsoroff called these puppets folklorettes otherwise known as ; sprites, elves, goblins or fairies who lived in an imaginary, forest like kingdom.
Born in Siberia, Basil Milovsoroff (1906–1992) emigrated to the US in 1927 and went on to receive a bachelors degree from Oberlin College in 1932, and completed his masters in 1934. From 1934-1957 he toured the United States producing puppets shows in Museums and children's theaters featuring Russian folk tales
Milovsoroff was a member of The Federal Theatre Project , which was one of many programs created by President Roosevelt for the New Deal in 1935. The project was developed during the Depression to employ jobless theater professionals and make the performing arts available to the vast number of citizens who had little money for entertainment. Puppets were an integral part of this project and marionette units presented an average of 1200 shows a week in 22 states. Between 1934-1937, the Federal Theater Project units produced over 2700 plays seen by about 30 million people, most of whom had ever seen a play.
In 1954 Milovsoroff taught Russian at Cornell University and was named the Chairman of the National Festival of the Puppeteers of America.
Currently not on view
associated person
Milovsoroff, Basil
Milovsoroff, Basil
associated place
United States: Vermont
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
paint (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
overall: 16 in x 5 in x 14 in; 40.64 cm x 12.7 cm x 35.56 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History


Add a comment about this object