A Book of Marionettes by Helen Haiman Joseph
published 1920 by R W Huersch, N.Y.
This book review will introduce the audience to one of the volumes in the library of over 1200 books amassed by Alan Cook over the years. Many of these volumes are first editions, many are autographed. There are a number of books written in foreign languages.
These books are available for those seriously interested in learning more about puppetry arts.
It is appropriate that Joseph’s book is the first to be reviewed. In 1920, her Book of Marionettes, the first definitive history on puppetry written in English, was published.
Revised 1929 with a few new photographs and a different biography list.
A Note in the second edition reveals that “When this book was first published, some ten years ago, there were but two or three marionette companies in America. Now, not a city or town in these United States – scarcely a college or club, museum or school –
which has not its group of eager puppeteers. “
Republished 2008 as a paperback $19.76 and now available at Amazon and Ebay
Also available as a Kindle Edition for $7.00
Helen Haiman Joseph (28 Aug. 1888-15 Aug. 1978) was acknowledged as the "grandmother of American puppetry" because of her practical and scholarly knowledge of marionettes.
An intelligent over-view on the history of puppets containing black and white photographs with examples of very early puppets. Although titled A Book of Marionettes, included are types from around the world; shadow puppets, Bunraku puppets, rod puppets, hand puppets and, of coarse, marionettes. The book is very readable. It is a good introduction to the history of puppetry.
In addition to A Book of Marionettes, Joseph wrote Ali Baba and Other Plays for Puppets (1927) and Little Mr. Clown (1932), a children’s book based on the marionette Joseph often used in her puppet plays. A series of marionettes sold with the Mr. Clown books were extremely successful in toy stores all over the country. She established a puppet theater in Cleveland, Ohio in 1924, the Pinocchio Players She was a charter member of the Puppeteer of America.