DAISY BELMONT : CIRCUS PERFORMER, TALENTED BARE BACK RIDER, SINGER, AND DANCER

daisy belmont 1 2020-05-11_225230

Daisy Belmont (1871-1896) was a circus equestrian and performer. She made her theater debut at three years of age and her career took off. Her repertoire included singing, and dancing and in time, bare back riding. She sometimes preformed with her siblings, Lottie and Charles. Her performing career took her to Asia, Australia, and South America.  In 1889, at age 18, she married William Showles (1857-1924), a “dashing” young equestrian who rode with Sells Brothers circus.   She became the most famous bareback rider in the country.  Tragically, after returning to America after performing “on the road” in Austalia, she died from Bright’s disease at age twenty-five.  Miss Belmont’s obituary indicates that she was a “successful with Barnum’s circus” (P T Barnum) as a bare back rider. Daisy Belmont has been described as “the embodiment of grace and feminine loveliness”. She died and was buried in Chicago, Illinois. This cabinet card features Miss Belmont. She appears to be in her mid teenage years at the time of this photograph. She is displaying a sweet smile. She is posed as if she is jumping rope. Most images that I have seen of Daisy, capture her at a significantly younger or older age than this image. The photo studio that produced this cabinet card portrait is C. C. C. Co. of Chicago.  (SOLD)             

 

JAPANESE ACROBATS : TUCK’S : TATTOOS : OILETTE SERIES

This vintage postcard was published by Raphael Tuck & Sons and is titled “Japanese Acrobats” (no. 6465). The performer in the middle has tattoos on his back, as well as on the back of his left leg. Note the acrobats are holding paper fans and that the center acrobat is wearing his fan on his head. The card is part of a sub-series named “Japanese at Home”. The postcard is also a member of the “Oilette ” series, which was introduced in 1903. The 1930 Tuck catalog states that the oilettes are “veritable miniature oil paintings;” with six designs in a packet. These postcards were printed with the “finest modern colour methods direct from original paintings”. Raphael Tuck and his wife started their photography business in 1866 in London. Their store sold pictures, greeting cards, and in time, postcards. Their success came from the sale of postcards during the late 1890’s and early 1900’s. In the early 1900’s the firm conducted postcard competitions for collectors of Tuck postcards. These competitions offered cash prizes and they were very popular. The winner of one of these competitions had a collection consisting of over twenty-five thousand cards. Three of Tuck’s four sons participated in the business. The company was devastated by German bombing during World War II. In 1959 the company merged with two other printing companies.  (SOLD)

MADAM NAOMI: SIDE SHOW FAT LADY (562 POUNDS) OFFERS ESPECIALLY LARGE DOWRY TO PROCURE A HUSBAND

This cabinet card features Madam Naomi, who appears to have been a side show “fat lady”. The term “fat lady” is a despicable and derogatory way of describing someone overweight; yet the term found common use at circuses and fairs of the era of this photograph. Pencilled on the reverse of this image  is the information that Madame Naomi was born in Michigan and at the time of the photograph, she was 30 years old. A further “fact” provided is that her arms had a circumference of 27 inches.  Madam Naomi is not looking too comfortable in this portrait. She is wearing an interesting hat and one would guess that it would take her a long time to button all those buttons on the front of her dress. The newspaper The Weekly Statement (1890) has an article about a Madam Naomi appearance in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The article states that Naomi was advertised to appear in a museum and to “bestow her hand, heart, oleaginous sweetness, and a deed to a $5,000 farm to any young man who would marry her”. The offer was accepted by an insurance man from New York, Thomas J. Crowley; who came to Fort Bend and joined her on the museum stage to accept her hand in marriage. The photographer of this image is Baker, whose studio was located in Columbus, Ohio. There were many photographers named Baker operating out of Columbus when this photograph was taken. Many of the Bakers were relatives who operated the Baker Art Gallery. It is not clear which Baker or which studio is the source of this image. However, the initials below the photograph appear to be “LMB” which would indicate that the photographer was Lorenzo Marvin Baker (1834-1924).L. M. Baker was  part of the Baker Art Gallery family. To view other photographs by the Baker Art Gallery, click on the category “Photographer: Baker Art Gallery”.