Female Ventriloquist Dummy

Description (Brief):

This is one of three ventriloquist dummies that belonged to Frederick Lamb. This figure, made of wood and painted black, has a hand carved head, a hinged jaw, glass eyes, and carved hands and feet. Her body is made of a soft cotton stuffing material, and she has a hole in her back in order to operate the pole that manipulates the body. She is wearing a white cotton petticoat under a red cotton dress made of bandana material and dons a pair of child's lace up leather shoes. Only remnants of soft wool fibers remain on her head to simulate hair. It is unclear if Lamb actually made the figure or adapted it for his own use.

Description (Brief)

Born in 1883, in Nashville Tennessee, Lamb began his career at 12 years old when he ran away from home and joined a carnival. He traveled with carnivals, side shows and circuses for almost 75 years. He toured with a number of small traveling circuses and performed in Paris and England, where he performed for Queen Victoria.

Description (Brief)

Lamb's talents included ventriloquism, magic, puppetry, and a repertoire of black face comedy skits. Lamb was exceptionally talented in that he was a double ventriloquist; he had both dummies talking to each other and to him at the same time. Later in life he traveled through Appalachia and coal mining communities in Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina to provide entertainment for children and adults living in remote areas.

Date Made: ca 1875

Maker: Lamb, Frederick

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Puppetry, Entertainment

See more items in: Culture and the Arts: Entertainment, Puppets


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Charles S. (Charlie) Lamb

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1992.0225.01Catalog Number: 1992.0225.01Accession Number: 1992.0225

Object Name: dummy, ventriloquist

Physical Description: wood (overall material)cloth (overall material)metal (overall material)leather (shoes material)glass (eyes material)Measurements: overall: 40 1/2 in x 10 in x 5 in; 102.87 cm x 25.4 cm x 12.7 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a9-a521-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1121316

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