Guide to the Anthony W. Pendergast Collection

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0882
Creators:
Pendergast, Anthony W., 1879-
Music, Sports and Entertainment, Division of, NMAH, SI
Dates:
1920s-1970.
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
0.5 Cubic feet
2 boxes
Repository:
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
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
Arrangement
Collection is arranged into one series.

Biographical / Historical
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.

Administration
Processing Information
Collection processed by Jason Nargis (intern), supervised by Vanessa Broussard Simmons, archivist, March 2006.
Author
Jason Nargis
Immediate Source of Acquisiton
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
Collection is open for research and access on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
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.
Preferred Citation
Anthony W. Pendergast Collection, 1920s-1970, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

Ownership and Custodial History
Ownership and Custodial History
Transferred to the Archives Center in 2005 by the Division of Music, Sports, and Entertainment.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Correspondence -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Notes Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wood sculpture Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Folk art Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Figure sculpture -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cigar store Indians Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Music, Sports and Entertainment, Division of, NMAH, SI Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives