Punch and Judy in 19th Century America

A History and Biographical Dictionary


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About the Book

The hand-puppet play starring the characters Punch and Judy was introduced from England and became extremely popular in the United States in the 1800s. This book details information on nearly 350 American Punch players. It explores the significance of the 19th–century American show as a reflection of the attitudes and conditions of its time and place. The century was a time of changing feelings about what it means to be human. There was an intensified awareness of the racial, cultural, social and economical diversity of the human species, and a corresponding concern for the experience of human oneness. The American Punch and Judy show was one of the manifestations of these conditions.

About the Author(s)

Ryan Howard, professor of art emeritus at Morehead State University, is an art historian. He is the author of numerous articles and reviews on the puppet theater and lives in Morehead, Kentucky.

Bibliographic Details

Ryan Howard
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 284
Bibliographic Info: 31 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7270-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0154-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Part One. History
I. Punch’s History 9
II. The Punch and Judy Play 15
III. Piccini, Mathews, and Henry 27
IV. The American Punch and Judy Show 33
V. Childhood 68
VI. Punch and Judy in Outdoor Public Spaces 84
VII. Punch and Judy in the Museum and at the Circus 91
VIII. The American Punch and Judy and the World of Puppets 107
Part Two. Biographical Dictionary
Nineteenth-Century American Punch and Judy Players and Figure Makers 119
A. New York Times, Interview with Mr. Buttercups 231
B. “Punch and Judy Shows: How the Lively Puppets Are Made to Do Their Work: Various Versions of the Miniature Tragedy in French, German, and English—Local Figures and Gags—The Cost of an Outfit,” New York Sun Interview with Harry Allen 234
C. Punch and Judy Performance Script by Thomas A.M. Ward 236
D. The Tragical Acts, or Comical Tragedies of Punch and Judy by W.J. Judd 240
Chapter Notes 255
Bibliography 261
Index 269

Book Reviews & Awards

“Recommended”—Choice; “engaging…Howard does an excellent job of conjuring the sordid, freakish environments in which Punch often found refuge in his adopted country”—The Puppetry Journal.