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Puppetry Resources

Guide to UM Libraries' resources on puppet craft and history.

Jim Henson at the University of Maryland

In 1954, Jim Henson entered the University of Maryland as a major in studio art. The multitude of artwork that survives from this point in Jim’s career indicates that he had a colorful visual imagination, a sharp eye for detail, and a creative knack for design. As a freshman at the University of Maryland, Jim was given the opportunity hone his puppetry skills during a course in the Home Economics Department, as well as through practical experience. His earliest endeavors into television took place immediately before and during his time as an undergraduate at UMD.  While a student in a puppetry class, he met fellow University of Maryland student Jane Nebel, who was an early partner in his television shows and would later become his wife.

Following a short-lived morning puppet segment on a local Washington station, Jim was hired by WRC-TV in 1955 to create a five-minute puppet show that would air twice nightly.  Entitled Sam and Friends, this program earned Henson his first Emmy in 1958 – two years before his graduation from the University of Maryland. For Sam and Friends, Henson introduced many of the elements that would become mainstays of his Muppet Show aesthetic – music, zany humor, and an early Kermit as a lizard-like creature. During his time at Maryland and WRC-TV, Jim Henson began to develop innovative puppetry skills that made his Muppets life-like and expressive, and that would have a profound effect on the way puppetry would be performed for television and films.

The Jim Henson video collection - A UM Libraries Exclusive!

Special Collections at the University of Maryland

Books & Videos on Jim Henson

Jim Henson and the Muppets on the Web