Northwest Puppet Center is home to many great collections in both our puppet library and our puppet museum. Our non-profit organization has gradually become one of the world’s greatest resources for artists and scholars interested in puppetry. We are grateful to all the supporters who have contributed but a few of the noteworthy collections include:
The Chris and Stephen Carter Collection
Chris and Stephen co-founded Northwest Puppet Center and their collection lead to all the rest. They toured the world with their own shows while picking up some puppets and puppetry books along the way. Recognizing that most libraries lacked any substantive materials on this esoteric art form, they soon built up a sizable library for their own artistic development and to make accessible for their colleagues.
The Lettie Connell Schubert Collection
Lettie was an important figure in the American puppeteer community. She was a pioneer in early television puppetry working on “Brother Buzz” with Ralph Chessé. Lettie was also one of the directors of the puppet theater at Children’s Fairyland in Oakland. One of her claims to fame is that she gave Frank Oz his first job, although it should be mentioned that he already had experience performing with his parents. Lettie was an early supporter of Northwest Puppet Center and donated several puppets during her lifetime. Thanks to Lettie’s family, her large collection of books and several more puppets were later donated to Northwest Puppet Center
The Cook/Marks Collection
This is the largest collection of puppets, puppetry books and puppetry ephemera on the continent. The collection is named in celebration of Alan Cook and Jacqueline Marks. Special thanks to both of them for this phenomenal contribution. Alan Cook has spent his entire life collecting artifacts and preserving the history of the puppetry arts. Jacqueline Marks worked alongside Alan in California for over a decade and now continues to help the on-going preservations efforts with generous financial contributions to Northwest Puppet Center. The Cook/Marks Collection includes over 5,000 puppets from around the world. Publications include many rare titles, out-of-print, foreign and special editions. Ephemera includes photographs, original drawings, posters, playbills, letters, scripts and much more. Important works include puppets from Tony Sarg, Frank Paris, The Tatterman Marionettes, Jewell Manikins, Donald Cordry, Sue Hastings, Mantell Manikins, William Wood, Lola Cueto, Roberto Lago, Maria Signorelli, Vittorio Podrecca, Roger Hayward, Joe Fischer, George “Pinxy” Larsen, Walton & O’Rourke, George Latshaw, Lea Wallace, Paul McPharlin, Marjorie Batchelder and many more. When it comes to the traditional puppets, the artist’s name often remains unknown but there are fine examples from opera dei pupi, ningyo joruri, wayang and much more.
The Josie Robbins Collection
Josie Robbins was already actively involved with puppetry when Northwest Puppet Center’s founders, Chris and Stephen Carter, first began performing in Seattle. It is thanks to her that our work was introduced to Alan Cook over thirty years ago and we were subsequently invited to perform at a puppet festival in California. That introduction opened the door to a whole community of colleagues working in the field of puppetry. Josie performed some of her shows at Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) where she was also a volunteer. Josie passed away before Northwest Puppet Center was established and left her personal library to MOHAI. With thanks to the staff and leadership at MOHAI, her collection of puppetry books was donated to Northwest Puppet Center before they moved to their current location.
The Ann and Monroe Morgan Collection
Ann and Monroe Morgan were lifelong collectors of folk art, including many fine puppets from around the world. They picked up puppets when they traveled and they purchased antiques from some of the most prestigious auction houses. With thanks to their family, many of these works were donated to Northwest Puppet Center. In addition to puppets now in Seattle, more of their collection can be found at UCLA’s Fowler Museum.
The Ruth Asawa Collection
Ruth Asawa is primarily known as a sculptor but she also worked with puppets. Using antique Taiwanese hand puppets, she performed in collaboration with the Wong siblings (Victor, Shirley and Betty). Ruth also lead many puppetry workshops for her local community in California’s Bay Area. With thanks to her family, Northwest Puppet Center received a donation of the antique Taiwanese puppets plus many photographs relating to her work in puppetry.