The Ogre Marionette

The Ogre Marionette

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Description (Brief)
The ogre is one of five marionettes in the cast of The Three Wishes produced by puppeteer Donald Cordry in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930-1934. Elaborately hand carved and painted, the ogre has a green and brown painted face with a distorted head. One eye is disfigured and the other eye is a coiled snake where the missing eye should be. He wears a full-length green satin robe with a snake embroidered on the chest and white painted shoes. He is operated with an airplane holder and six strings.
Donald Cordry (1907-1978) was a well known and highly respected American artist, craftsman, and puppeteer of the 1920s and '30s. He was gifted with a great decorative sense and his craftsmanship was extraordinary. Born in Minnesota, Cordry attended the Minneapolis School of Art from 1924-1929 and after graduation he went to work for the Board of Education. While his main job was to lecture and teach classes, Cordry used the opportunity to create and perform his own puppet show with both hand puppets and marionettes. From late 1930 to early 1931 Cordry joined the Rufus Rose Company, owned by Rupert and Margo Rose that played the school and college circuit on the East coast.
In the summer of 1931 he traveled to Mexico where he developed a lifelong interest and dedication to the arts and landscape of Mexico. An avid collector of ethnographic material for over 40 years, Cordry amassed a large collection of indigenous Mexican arts and crafts which he meticulously documented and researched. His passion also included Native American cultures, and in the mid 1930s he worked at the Heye Museum of Indian Art in New York City where he cataloged and researched objects for the museum.
After returning to Minneapolis in late 1931, Cordry started creating his own puppets. He formed his own company and performed shows until 1934. The Dolly Sisters and The Three Wishes were popular with young and old audiences alike.
In June of 1934, Cordry moved to New York and worked with Tony Sarg, a well known and established puppeteer in his own right, and taught classes at Sarg's Summer School. Cordry made a number of puppets for Sarg and toured with his company from 1934-1936.
By 1937, poor health forced him to give up puppetry and he moved to Mexico. He did, however, continue his field research on indigenous peoples and later published two books: Mexican Indian Costumes (1968) and Mexican Masks (c 1980). The Three Wishes was Cordry's final production before he moved to Mexico with his wife.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
1930 - 1934
Cordry, Donald
Cordry, Donald
Associated Place
United States: New York, New York
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
overall: 22 in x 7 in; 55.88 cm x 17.78 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Dorothy Mann Cordry in memory of Donald Cordry
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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