Object: Doll

I-0503a (2)

Limberjack or Jig Doll
20th Century
Materials: Wood

This object is a limberjack doll, sometimes called a jig doll because it is designed to “dance a jig.” A limberjack doll is similar to a puppet. It is made of wood and is usually modeled after a human or animal figure. A limberjack doll features sectioned joints at the shoulder and elbows and at the hips and knees allowing the figure to move.

A limberjack doll is operated much like a rhythm instrument. First, you must sit with one end of a thin board under you, with the opposite end out in front or out to one side. While holding on to a wooden stick that is inserted in a small hole in the back of the doll, the doll is held above the board with its feet barely touching the board. Next, you lightly tap the board just behind the doll’s feet. The board will bounce gently causing the Limberjack Doll to move at the joints. These dolls provided hours of entertainment throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Pullman advertisement poster, 1894 via Wikipedia.

Pullman advertisement poster, 1894 via Wikipedia.

The limberjack doll featured here is modeled after a train porter. A porter is a person who assists passengers board trains. A porter is responsible for everything from loading a passenger’s luggage onto the train to making up the beds for passengers in the sleeper cars. In the United States the Pullman Company was responsible for creating the first sleeper cars in the 1860s. As the American Civil War came to an end, the company began hiring former slaves as porters. Since many middle class people had never had any type of assistance, the Pullman Company advertised trips in their sleeper cars as an upper class experience.

The Pullman Company became one of the largest employers of African-Americans. Although having a job as a porter was considered one of the best jobs African Americans could obtain, it was also a job where African Americans had to tolerate being stereotyped and many forms of abuse. The porters were paid incredibly low wages  and had to rely on tips. In addition to being paid low wages, porters were required to pay for their own uniforms, the shoe shine they used on their customers shoes, food, overnight stays on the trains, as well as having to pay for items that were stolen by passengers. Often these costs added up to almost half of the Porter’s wages. Porters worked about 400 hours a month and worked shifts were sometimes 20 consecutive hours.

Pullman Porter helping a woman via Wikipedia.

Pullman Porter helping a woman via Wikipedia.

Although the Porters were not involved, there was an employee strike against the Pullman Company in 1894 over reductions in pay. The strike began in Chicago where the factory was located, and affected railroads across the United States when the strike stopped all trains using Pullman cars from moving. The President of the United States, Grover Cleveland, had to step in to end the strike. He ordered the Army to stop the striking employees. The strike left an unfavorable outcome for the employees as well as the Pullman Company. The strike was also a defeat for the American Railway Union that lead to the downfall of industrial unions.

In 1918 the Order of the Sleeping Car Conductors was created however, African Americans were not allowed. As a result Asa Philip Randolph created an organization called the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. In which porters demanded better working conditions and decent wages. It wouldn’t be until 1925 that Pullman porters saw any improvements. Today many credit Pullman porters as a significant contribution to the creation of the African American middle class. In 1995 the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum was founded. One of their projects included forming a registry of African American Railroad Employees. In 2008 Amtrak became aware of this and partnered with museum to locate and honor surviving porters. [Kim Grosset edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Bates, Beth Tompkins. Pullman Porters and the Rise of Protest Politics in Black America, 1925-1945. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

Harris, W. H. Keeping the Faith: A. Philip Randolph, Milton P. Webster, and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters,1925-37. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1977.

McKissack, Pat, and Fredrick McKissack. 1989. A Long Hard Journey: The Story of the Pullman Porter. New York: Walker, 1989.

Pack, Linda Hager, and Pat Banks. Appalachian Toys and Games from A to Z. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2013.

Pickles, Rennie, and Pat Pickles. Jig Dolls: “The Brightest of Entertainers”. Pontefract, Yorkshire: P. Pickles, 1988.

Tye, Larry. Rising from the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class. New York: Henry Holt, 2004.

Museum views


Object: Draft Card


WWI Draft Registration Card
San Antonio, Texas
Materials: Paper, Ink

This object is a World War I draft registration card for Ernst Fritz Schuchard of San Antonio, Texas. Born in 1893, Schuchard was twenty-four years old when he registered for the draft.

The Selective Service Act, or Selective Draft Act, was passed in 1917 and allowed the President to temporarily increase the size of the military during times of war. After the Act became law, there were three registrations in 1917 and 1918. Schuchard registered on the first registration day which was held on June 5, 1917. This registration day was designated for all “men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one and those born between 6 June 1886 and 5 June 1896.” In Texas, 989,600 men registered for the draft in 1917. Schuchard was later drafted into the Army and served in World War I.

Students protest the Vietnam War and draft

Students protest the Vietnam War and draft. Image by uwdigitalcollections via Wikimedia Commons

The Selective Service Act was cancelled after the end of World War I, but a new version was passed by Congress in 1940 in preparation for the United States’ involvement in World War II. The Selective Service Act was due to expire in 1947, but President Truman and Congress renewed it. During the Vietnam War, the selective service act was met with public resistance and there were nationwide demonstrations against it. Many of the demonstrations were due to the fact that Americans felt the system was unfair. This was due to deferments based on family status and whether or not the person was in college. In order to help with these issues a new act called the Military Selective Service Act of 1967 was passed, but did little to stop anti-draft protests. The Military Selective Service Act expired in 1973, but President Carter reenacted it in 1980 and it is still in effect today. Today, the Selective Service requires all males to register when they reach the age of eighteen, but there has not been an induction through the Selective Service System since 1973.

Registration with the Selective Service has been restricted to males only. Females serving in the military have traditionally been banned from serving in combat roles. In 2015, the department of defense declared that these restrictions would be lifted in 2016. Congress however, is now faced with the decision of whether to change the Selective Service Act to include all females who are eighteen years old. This past June the Senate passed a bill that would require women to register for the draft as well. This bill has yet to be signed into law and further debate is expected as it makes its way through the House.

As for Ernst Schuchard, after his service he returned to San Antonio to work as an engineer at the Pioneer Flour Mill which was founded by is grandfather, Carl Guenther. The Guenther Family immigrated to Texas from Germany. After advancing to the position of Secretary and eventually to President at the flour mill, Schuchard began making detailed drawings and paintings of the Missions in San Antonio. Schuchard was involved in the research and reconstruction of the grist mill at Mission San Jose. Ernst Schuchard became a well-known artist in Texas. He died in San Antonio in 1972 and was buried at Mission Burial Park South. [Kim Grossett, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Baker, Henderson. Women in Combat: A Cultural Issue? Carlisle Barracks, Pa: U.S. Army War College, 2006.

Coffman, Edward M. The War to End All Wars: The American Military Experience in World War I. Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky, 1998.

Flynn, George Q. Conscription and Democracy: The Draft in France, Great Britain, and the United States. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Schulzinger, Robert D. A Time for War: The United States and Vietnam, 1941-1975. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Museum views


Object: Antimen

I-0529e (2)

United States
20th Century
Materials: Cloth and Thread

This object is an Antimen or Antimension which translates to “instead of the table” and is used in Orthodox Christian churches. It is an authorizing document printed on cloth that allows the priest to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. Antimens could be issued by a bishop directly to a priest, or to the church itself. If the priest was issued the antimen he would travel with it wherever he went to serve; while an antimen issued to the church would stay with on altar of the church. This particular antimension belonged to Rev. Nicholas Nahas who ministered for 47 years with it throughout North and Central America.

Photo via: Rev. Nickolas Albert Nahas, Identifier 097-0115, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply

Photo via: Rev. Nickolas Albert Nahas, Identifier 097-0115, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply

The altar table is the center of the church and its ceremonies. Because of this, the antimension plays an important role as it covers the altar. The antimension is typically made of either linen or silk. Typically antimensions are decorated with images of the entombment of Christ, the four Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and scriptural passages related to the Eucharist. The antimension usually has a relic sewn inside of it as well. Relics are items connected to important religious figures, events, or objects. In this antimension there originally was a bone fragment from a saint. Now there is a shard of gravel from the original St. Michael Church located in Beaumont, Texas.

Although the antimension plays a role in every service, it is especially important when celebrating the Eucharist. In fact, the Eucharist cannot be celebrated without the antimension. The Eucharist is a religious rite that began with the Passover meal which is a holiday in Judaism. Connections are also made to Jesus Christ and his disciples who shared a Passover meal before his death. Christian tradition states that during the meal, Christ symbolically gave his disciples his body and blood in the form of bread and wine. Today, many Christian denominations participate in the ritual of the Eucharist, or the Holy Communion, in which parishioners take a sip of wine and piece of wafer as Christ’s body and blood on Sundays.

Eucharist depiction

Eucharist depiction. Image via Wikipedia.org

The Orthodox Church traces its history back to the disciples of Jesus who appointed bishops to stay and manage the growing number of churches. Eventually this turned into a hierarchy, as bishops soon needed help to manage the churches in their area and they designated deacons and priests. At this point, Christianity was a single entity expanding across Europe and into the East. By around 750 A.D. the Church was facing problems as it grew and the East and West began to differ in the language used as well as customs. It wasn’t until 1058 though that the Western Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church officially split. As of 2010, 260 million people, or 11.9% of the Christian population worldwide, practices Orthodox Christianity. [Briana Miano edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Readings:

Chadwick, Henry. East and West: The Making of a Rift in the Church: From Apostolic Times until the Council of Florence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. 

Christy, Vladimir. The Antimension: Its History, Practice and Theology. PhD Diss., M. Div. St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, 1979. 

Kallistos, Bishop of Diokleia. The Orthodox Church. London, England: Penguin Books, 1993. 

Object: Malakoff Head Reproductions

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I-0009 a-c
Malakoff Head (reproductions)
Materials: Plaster

These objects are three cast plaster replicas of stone carvings found in Malakoff, Texas in the Depression Era. Each object was found in a deep gravel pit by quarry workers and had human-like features carved into them. After the first head was found, geologist Elias H. Sellards was called in to take a look and he determined it to not only be authentic, but also dated it at 50,000-100,000 years old. This made the find extremely important as the oldest known Native American artifacts at the time only went back 12,000 years. The find, if authentic, would push Native American history in the Americas back thousands of years.

Image via: USHistory Research Blog

Image via: USHistory Research Blog

Further investigation of the site produced a second “head” in 1935 at which time archaeologist Glenn Evans was called in to do an excavation. He found a third head by 1939 but failed to discover anymore artifacts. More recent study of the heads has called their authenticity into question. The first head is believed to have been carved by modern, metal tools which means it is likely a hoax. The second head wasn’t studied further, though it too is believed to have been made like the first one. The final head is believed to be a naturally eroded rock and could have no connection to the other two at all. Further research on the on the site itself also revealed it to not be as old as Sellards had said; instead it was dated to the Pleistocene era which is when Paleo-Indians were known to have been in the Americas. No other artifacts were found at the site, though other “heads” have been reported throughout Texas and northern Mexico.

Examples of Clovis points Image by Billwhittaker at English Wikipedia

The Paleo-Indians were various native groups living in North America roughly between 15,000-9,000 years ago, which is known as the Pleistocene period. The dates are difficult to say with certainty, but evidence of Native American peoples living across the Americas have been found and verified during this time period. They are thought to be the earliest humans in the Americas and arrived here by crossing the once exposed land bridge under the Bering Strait. The earliest inhabitants of Texas are collectively called Clovis. The Clovis culture and people are connected by their use of a stone tool called the Clovis Point. In Texas, Clovis Points have been found that date back 13,500 years. The Clovis culture was made up of many Native American groups, many who are still around today and are related to these very early Paleo-Indians that lived across North and South America.

Cardiff Giant exhumed in 1869.

Cardiff Giant exhumed in 1869. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Many people still argue whether the Malakoff heads are authentic or an archaeological hoax. Archaeological and historical hoaxes are not new, in fact a few years before the Malakoff heads were discovered a similar mystery was brewing in the state of New York. In 1869 a large stone man was discovered while men were digging a well on the farm of William Newell. The stone man was believed to be the petrified remains of a giant, like those mentioned in the Bible, but others believed it was either a statue built by missionaries to impress Native Americans or an ancient Native American sculpture.  The stone man, nicknamed the Cardiff Giant, ended up being a hoax made up by a man named George Hull. Hull thought of the idea after he got into an argument with a priest. To spite the priest and make some money along the way, Hull came up with the idea and brought several people, including Newell into the plot. Once the giant was discovered, Hull’s plan to make money went into effect as people flocked to see the giant. Even when charging 50 cents per person the crowds could not be turned away and kept going to see the giant. Even when the stone giant was declared a hoax people still traveled and paid to see it. Today the giant can be seen in Cooperstown, New York at the Farmer’s Museum.  Although we have new technology to help accurately date artifacts, as well as identify how they were made, many hoaxes and myths still live on. [Briana Miano edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Sources: 

Brune, Gunnar. Springs of Texas. Vol. 1. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 1981.

Feder, Kenneth L. Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology. Mountain View, Calif: Mayfield Pub. Co, 1990.

Guderjan, Thomas H. Archaeological Investigations in the Forest Grove/Big Rock Areas, North-central Texas. Dallas: Archaeology Research Program, Southern Methodist University, 1981.

Meltzer, David J. First Peoples in a New World: Colonizing Ice Age America. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2009.

The Indian Texans. San Antonio, TX: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1970.

Object: Lamp

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Bicycle Lamp
The Badger Brass MFG Company
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Materials: Glass, Metal

This object is a bicycle or possibly a carriage lamp from 1900. It was manufactured by the Badger Brass MFG Company from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Known as a carbide lamp, or acetylene gas lamp, it was used to for buildings, lighthouses, early car and bicycle headlights, and as lamps for miners.  This lamp was an early chemical lamp that relied on burning acetylene, a gas substance, for light.

Ancient oil lamps. Image by Hanay, via Wikimedia Commons.

According to archaeological finds, the first known personal lamp is dated at 70,000 years old and was simply a bowl-shaped rock that would have been filled with a combustible material like animal fat or plant oil. Later lamps were made using pottery and wicks, which led to more control over how long the light could last. The Ancient Greeks used this type of lamp and the word lamp actually comes from the Greek word lampas which meant torch. It wasn’t until the 1800s that lamps were radically changed from burning fuel to using electricity.

Ad for Edison Mazda Lamps, via Wikimedia Commons.

For small items, like the bike lamp, electricity was first used in 1801 by chemist Sir Humphrey Davy who created the Carbon-Arc Lamp. It wasn’t until Sir Joseph Swan of England and Thomas Edison of America separately developed the incandescent light bulb in the late 1800s that electric lights became widely available. By 1880, Edison had patented his invention and the product boomed.

Using electricity for large-scale operations, like lighting cities and manufacturing, began in 1895 when the water power of Niagara Falls was used to generate electricity for a nearby manufacturer and the city of Buffalo, New York. With much more innovation needed for electricity to become more widespread, many earlier forms of lighting were still in use by 1900. By 1930 most large cities had electricity with only small, rural towns still relying on older forms for lighting and cooking. Today we use electricity everywhere we go and can carry light around with us because of batteries which we use in objects like flashlights. [Briana Miano, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Readings:

Elmer, Louis Smith and Melvin Horst. Early Lighting: From Tallow to Oil in Early America. Lebanon, PA: Applied Art Publishers, 1975.

“Mining Lights and Hats.” The National Museum of American History.

Edison, Thomas A., and Reese Jenkins. The Papers of Thomas A. Edison. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.

Object: Bowling Ball


Bowling Ball
Bexar County
Materials: Wood

This object is a wooden bowling ball originally used in 1889 by the Bexar Bowlers of the Bexar Bowling Society. Bowling is one of the most popular sports in the world and the history of bowling is believed to go back to 3200 BCE. This early date was based on a find by British anthropologist Sir Flinders Petrie. He found some objects in a child’s grave that looked like they could be used as for bowling. Others, like the German historian William Pehle, believe bowling originated in Germany around 300 AD. Bowling was also popular in England during the reign of King Edward, so popular that it was outlawed because soldiers were neglecting archery practice in order to spend more time bowling. Bowling was brought back by King Henry VII and has remained popular ever since.

At this time there were different variations of games with pins being played. These games were eventually brought to America. Bowling was first mentioned in America in the book Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving. In his book, Rip hears the sound of “crashing ninepins.” The sport of bowling had many ups and downs when it reached America. In 1841 Connecticut law made it illegal to have ninepin lanes. Making bowling illegal was in large part because the game attracted gambling and drinking. Nine pin bowling was the most popular form of bowling in the United States and Texas was no exception.

Gymnastics room in Turner Hall, Milwaukee, ca. 1900 via Wikipedia

Gymnastics room in Turner Hall, Milwaukee, ca. 1900 via Wikipedia

In Texas, 9 pin bowling was popularized by the turnverein movement. This movement was brought over by the forty-eighters, political refugees from Germany. People associated with the turnverein movements were strong supporters of gymnastics and athletic clubs, but they were also involved with a variety of different causes. Turnvereins didn’t appear in Texas until 1851 and they were located in places like Houston, New Braunfels, Galveston, San Antonio, and Comfort. In Houston “Turners,” as they were called were involved with the needy and sick. The Turners also established schools and entertained the public. Turners in Fredericksburg were responsible for organizing volunteer fire departments. Even though new Turner clubs were established, gymnastics was never that popular in Texas, and as founding Turners grew older the gynastic equipment was typically replaced with bowling lanes. As the Turners began to disband and merge with other clubs, 9 pin bowling gained momentum.

Today 9 pin has all but disappeared, except in some Texas towns where 9 pin bowling is still incredibly popular. Different from the conventional bowling most people are used to, 9 pin bowling involves bowlers rolling a wooden bowling ball at pins that are set up in a diamond formation. In the center of the seven pins is one pin called the number 5 pin or “kingpin.” Bowlers must knock down the 8 pins surrounding the one in the center. As the team knocks down the pins points are accumulated. If you are curious about this game you can visit a 9 pin bowling club in one of the small Texas towns where this game is still popular. [Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Sources: 

LeCompte, Mary Lou. “The Texas Turnvereins”. Austin [Tex.]: [publisher not identified], 1985.

Wittke, Carl Frederick. Refugees of Revolution; The German Forty-Eighters in America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1952.

Woellert, Dann. Cincinnati Turner Societies: The Cradle of an American Movement. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2012.

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