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Catalog Data

Creator:
Pendergast, Anthony W., 1879-  Search this
Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Music, Sports and Entertainment  Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Music, Sports and Entertainment  Search this
Extent:
0.5 Cubic feet (2 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Correspondence
Clippings
Photographs
Notes
Scrapbooks
Date:
1920s-1970.
Summary:
A Fairbury, Illinois, optometrist, Dr. Anthony W. Pendergast, (1879 -?) was a collector, author, antiquarian, dealer, and authority on the subject of cigar store figures. The collection includes correspondence; newspaper clippings on Pendergast and his various folk art collections; a scrapbook of photographs and miscellaneous materials relating to cigar store figures; and a large number of black and white photographs of figures from his personal collection, mostly for use in selling the figures.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents Dr. Pendergast's interest in and work with cigar store figures as well as some of his other folk art collections. Included among the materials are correspondence, photographs of cigar store figures, and books on the subject. There are also articles and clippings about Dr. Pendergast and his collections and about cigar store figures in general, a scrapbook of photographs of figures, miscellaneous clippings, advertisements, business cards, postcards, and an inventory list.
Arrangement:
Collection is arranged into one series.
Biographical / Historical:
A Fairbury, Illinois, optometrist, Dr. Anthony W. Pendergast, (1879-?) was a collector, author, antiquarian, dealer, and authority on the subject of cigar store figures. As a newsboy in his youth, Pendergast was fascinated by the cigar store "Indians" he saw all around the streets of his home town. In their book on the cigar store figure, Dr. Pendergast and co-author W. Porter Ware state that the earliest evidence of cigar store figures dates them to as early as 1600 in the city of Amsterdam, where a tobacconist's shop had a figure of an American black slave as his sign, because of the association between slaves and tobacco. The tradition was continued in England and the figures began to look more like American Indians, usually with feathered headdresses, often holding a pipe or a roll of tobacco leaves. Not all the figures were of Indians or of slaves. As their popularity spread, "Turks," "Moors," Scotsmen, jockeys, Roman figures, mythological figures, and others were used. Antiquarian John L. Morrison, cited by Mr. Pendergast in his 1953 book Cigar Store Figures, states that the first appearance of a cigar store "Indian" in America was in 1770 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. By the latter half of the nineteenth century the cigar store figure (usually an Indian) was as much a symbol of the tobacco trade as the barber pole was of barber shops. Mr. Pendergast owned at least two hundred figures during his lifetime and was a noted expert on the genre. He sold many figures to other collectors and had a workshop where he repaired and reconditioned the figures.
Provenance:
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research and access on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Wood sculpture  Search this
Folk art  Search this
Figure sculpture -- United States  Search this
Cigar store Indians  Search this
Genre/Form:
Correspondence -- 20th century
Clippings -- 20th century
Photographs -- 20th century
Notes
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Citation:
Anthony W. Pendergast Collection, 1920s-1970, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0882
See more items in:
Anthony W. Pendergast Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0882