Museum logo
Museum logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 10098-33
Title Puppet; Wood & Plaster; Man; King; Marjorie Shanafelt
Object Name Marionette
Description Shanafelt Puppet. Character: a King. Type: rod puppet. How it works: There is a loop at the end of a wire to hang over a finger. A string to one hand is used as well. The "rods" are hooks attached to the heads. Construction: Main body under the clothing is made of wood. Head, forearms, hands, calves of legs, and feet are made of a variety of plasters, and were then painted. The construction of the head also includes a crown molded out of the same plaster. Painted features include black eyes, brown chin beard, and hair. Crown is gold/red. Hands are painted flesh-colored. The shoes are brown and the stockings are white. Clothing: Red-violet, satin two-piece suit with knee breeches and tunic top. White sleeves lace trim at neck and knees. Gold belt at waist, and gold necklace has a star. 12" rod not included.
Year Range from 1920
Year Range to 1960
Material wood, plaster, paint
Made Shanafelt, Marjorie
Place of Origin USA: Nebraska (Lancaster), Lincoln
Used USA: Nebraska (Lancaster), Lincoln
Height (in) 11.5
People Shanafelt, Marjorie
Other Name Puppet
History A heavy cardboard label measuring 6.25" x 6" is white with black print and reads, "These puppets are called Rod Puppets. They are meant to be used in a home theater. They have a loop at the end of the wire to hang over a finger. A string to one hand would be used, to... These "Little rods" are miniatures of the 100 pound Sicilian RODS. The Sicilians are worked by tall, strong men who sling them on their wrists. Even so, their wrists must be protected by leather thongs. The rods are only hooks where they join the heads, and the heads are too on a hook. A quick pressure will not only release the rod, but let the head roll across the stage. Since the plays these puppets enact are the stories of Orlando, many heads must roll and often 10, 15, or 20 bodies minus heads pile up on stage...There has never been but ONE Sicilian puppet company in this country....Papa Manteo's and they are even growing scarce in Sicily, giving way to movies that offer more thrills" (end of card)

Puppeteer Marjorie Shanafelt was a curator of visual education at the University of Nebraska. She also authored puppet plays and was an original member of the Puppeteers of America. In 1963, Marjorie estimated that she had made over a thousand puppets. She had a puppet theater in her home at 2525 South 19th Street in Lincoln. Party and club groups numbering up to 30 people frequently enjoyed shows there. She would also travel with her puppets to private parties. In 1949, she toured Europe and showed her puppets at the National Scala in Coppenhagen
Marjorie died in 1973 at the age of 84.
Credit line Elva L. McFie, Lincoln (Lancaster), Nebraska
Collection McFie, Elva L.