JUGGLING_0003A young boy, looking quite unhappy, poses for his portrait at the William Meyer studio in Chicago, Illinois. His arms are folded across his chest but it looks as if they won’t stay there long because standing in front of him are a pair of Indian Juggling Clubs. It is as if the boy is preparing to give a juggling exhibition or to exercise. Juggling these pins was a good workout as they were quite heavy.  some exercise. Clubs like these were very popular during the health mania of the late Victorian period. A picture of a pair of Indian clubs from the late nineteenth century can be seen below (Source: Wikipedia). William Meyer is listed in a number of the Chicago business directories including 1880,1885, and 1892. His address in 1892 was Clybourn Avenue which indicates that this image was produced before that date.




Published in: on May 19, 2014 at 10:33 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. The boy’s shoes look more like theatrical slippers. I think he might be a member of a vaudeville gymnast act. In the 1880s-90s there were a few theaters on Halsted St. out of maybe only 25 in all of Chicago. Sometime around 1910 the Chicago city directory added a new sub-section to the theater listings called “5 and 10 cent” theaters which had hundreds of establishments, many on Halsted. And curiously in 1915-16 the photographer’s address at 3446 S. Halsted St. matched that of the Marion Theater, which was one of these early cinema theaters.

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