Major Rooster Marionette

Major Rooster Marionette

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Description (Brief)
Major Rooster is a character from a traditional Latin American folk tale "Perez and Martina: A Portotican Folktale" written by Pura Belpre and published in the United States in 1932. Belpre was the first Puerto Rican librarian at the New York Public Library and a puppeteer. The story she wrote was told to her by her grandmother when growing up in Puerto Rico.
The traditional folk tale tells of a cockroach, named Martina, who finds a coin on a walkway and decides to buy with it a tin of face powder. She primps and then waits on her veranda above her garden for suitors to call. She settles on marrying a rat, Perez, who, unfortunately, becomes carried away by his own curiosity, falling, the next morning, into a vat of soup Martina is cooking. In some versions, he succumbs and in others, he is rescued.
In this version of the story, produced by Elizabeth and her husband, Frank Haines, (Martina is a cricket and Perez is a mouse) Major Rooster competes for Martina's favors along with Perez and Monsieur Frog. Martina ultimately marries Perez with the blessings of the aging Duenna and her faces turns into a woman, and she lives "as happy as a cricket" with Perez ever after
Major Rooster is hand carved with a hinged orange beak and jointed limbs.. His black head is crowned with a large red velvet comb and red bow tie.. He has black neck feathers and a large back tail feather. He has been padded out around the chest giving him a puffed out appearance and he wears a blue velvet coat with tails. He is operated with a five piece wooden airplane with 13 strings.
Throughout the 1940s the Haines performed this version of the play, ( with Martina a cricket and Perez a mouse), before school groups in the Philadelphia area. The marionettes and stage props were created by Frank and Elizabeth made the costumes and the backdrops.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
date made
Haines, Elizabeth L.
Haines, Frank D.
Haines, Elizabeth L.
Haines, Frank D.
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Physical Description
velvet (overall material)
felt (overall material)
fiber, synthetic, rayon (overall material)
feathers (overall material)
wood (overall material)
paint (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 20 in x 7 in x 7 in; 50.8 cm x 17.78 cm x 17.78 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Elizabeth and Frank D. Haines
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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