The Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library is a place of discovery. All are welcome to visit and explore our unique holdings, whether as a researcher or an observer. The breadth and depth of our collections are vast, and it is nearly impossible to investigate every nook and cranny. We invite you this year, through our blog, to tour some of those places you didn’t know existed, and get acquainted with collections you might not have previously explored. Check back in with us weekly over the course of 2013 as we offer you a delightful look into some of the favorite, but perhaps lesser-known, corners of our collections. These pieces are visually interesting, come attached with fascinating stories, and are often 3D objects you might not have realized are part of what makes up The Extraordinary World of MARBL.
Suspended amongst the rows of bound volumes and manuscripts in MARBL’s stacks, Pearl Cleage‘s pair of puppets is a colorful and unexpected sight. The larger of the two, coming in at seven feet, was used in the production of Cleage’s puppetplay, performed by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1983. The play, for which Cleage first gained recognition as a playwright, documents the failed relationship between a wife, played by two actresses each representing one part of the woman’s divided consciousness, and a husband, represented by the tall and long-limbed puppet. Both puppets were designed and constructed for the play by artist and filmmaker Janie Geiser, the smaller of the two as a prototype.