Male Ventriloquist Dummy

Male Ventriloquist Dummy

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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 realistically carved hands and feet. His body is made of a soft stuffing material and is manipulated through a hole in his back. He is dressed in a child's red jacket with a bow tie and cotton pants and is wearing a pair of children's leather lace up shoes and a kepie style cap. It is unclear if Lamb actually made the figure or adapted it for his own use.
Lamb, born in 1883 in Nashville, Tennessee 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, including performing for Queen Victoria.
Lamb's talents included ventriloquism, magic, a Punch and Judy show, and a repertoire of black face comedy skits. Lamb was exceptionally talented in that he was a double ventriloquist; he operated his dummies simultaneously and it appeared they were talking to each other and 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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
dummy, ventriloquist
date made
ca 1875
Lamb, Frederick
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
cloth (overall material)
leather (shoes material)
glass (eyes material)
overall: 37 in x 11 in x 4 1/4 in; 93.98 cm x 27.94 cm x 10.795 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Charles S. (Charlie) Lamb
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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