The museum is open Fridays through Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free timed-entry passes are required. Review our latest visitor safety guidelines.

Little Black Sambo II Marionette

Little Black Sambo II Marionette

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Downloads
Description (Brief)
The childhood story of Little Black Sambo was originally written by Helen Bannerman, a Scot living in India, and published in London in 1899. In the tale, an Indian boy attempts to save himself from four hungry tigers by offering items of his brand-new clothing just purchased for him by his father. The prideful tigers strut circling one another, arguing over who looks the finest, and in a mad chase of each other's tails, turn themselves into ghee (Indian butter). Sambo's father happens upon the butter in the woods and brings it home for his family to have with mountains of pancakes for breakfast.
Illustrations for later American versions of the story depicted a stereotypical African American boy. modeled on the iconography of Florence Kate Upton's late 19th century rag doll-like children's character, "Gollywogg," the American Sambo had black skin, wildly curly hair, wide googly eyes, and bright red lips.The soft floppy body of Sambo is stuffed and covered in black velvet. He has glued on google eyes,.a red felt mouth and some type of weights have been added to balance the puppet. He operates using a 5 piece wooden airplane control and nine strings., The placement of the strings greatly extends and enhances the tiger's range of movement and persona..
In the 1930s puppet play version produced by husband-and-wife puppet makers, Elizabeth L. and Frank D. Haines, there was a substantial difference displayed between the sophisticated craftsmanship of the animal marionette figures with finely carved heads and the rag-doll-like human marionette figures in Black Sambo's family. The play was presented to area schoolchildren in the Philadelphia area until the 1950s.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
puppet
Object Type
puppets
marionettes
date made
1930-1940
user
Haines, Elizabeth L.
Haines, Frank D.
maker
Haines, Elizabeth L.
Haines, Frank D.
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Physical Description
velvet (overall material)
cotton (overall material)
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
adhesive (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 13 1/2 in x 4 in x 2 in; 34.29 cm x 10.16 cm x 5.08 cm
ID Number
2007.0137.002.04
accession number
2007.0137
catalog number
2007.0137.002.04
subject
Puppetry
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Comments

Add a comment about this object