Sign In | Register


RECENT ARRIVALS


[Cabinet Card Photograph of Millie-Christine McCoy]

By Charles Eisenmann (photographer)

New York: Eisenmann, 1890. First Edition. Near fine. [ca. 1890]. Cabinet card (albumen photographic print mounted on card), approximately 6 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches. Edges scalloped and gilt, photographer's stamp on recto. Signed by the subjects, "Millie-Christine," on verso. Very light wear, faint fox mark in image background, else near fine. Signed cabinet card portrait of the famous conjoined twins Millie and Christine McCoy (1851-1912), by the great photographer of human marvels on the Bowery, Charles Eisenmann. The twins, often referred to collectively as “Millie-Christine” or “The Two-Headed Nightingale,” were among the most widely viewed, scrutinized, and applauded human anomalies of the 19th century. Billing them often as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” promoters touted the fact that the girls were joined at the lower spine, more intimately attached than Chang and Eng, the original Siamese Twins. Audiences drawn to see the twins’ remarkable anatomy found themselves marveling likewise at their musical performances, radiant personalities, and moving personal story. Millie and Christine were born into slavery in Columbus County, North Carolina in 1851 and immediately became a spectacle among curious residents of the surrounding region. By the age of ten months they were sold to a showman for the sum of $1000, and over the next five years they passed through the hands of both bidders and kidnappers, who exhibited them privately to prodding physicians at publicly at dime museums and county fairs. At the age of two, they disappeared in New Orleans, and their legal title was transferred to Joseph Pearson Smith, the guarantor of the manager who had lost them. Smith engaged the services of a private investigator, who discovered the twins in England, and in 1857 Smith and Millie and Christine’s mother, Monemia McCoy, traveled across the Atlantic and staged a dramatic rescue at the Birmingham theater where the girls were then performing. Upon their return to the U.S., Millie and Christine moved to the homestead of the Smith family in Wadesboro, North Carolina, where both of their parents and all of their siblings had also been transferred after purchase by the Smiths from their original slaveholders. Mrs. Smith taught the girls how to sing and dance and, against state law, how to read and write. In short time, the sisters developed famous acts that featured keyboard duets and vocal harmonies, with Millie singing alto and Christine soprano. Mr. Smith served as their manager, a role that his son, Joseph Pearson Smith, Jr., would assume upon the death of the former in 1862. While it was the Emancipation Proclamation and end of the Civil War – not the Smiths, themselves – that freed the McCoys, Joseph Jr. remained Millie and Christine’s manager for most of their career, and the two families, by all accounts, maintained a genuinely warm relationship. As the girls progressed through adolescence, they successfully took increasingly greater control of both their career and their collective body, refusing further anatomical inspections from curious doctors and scientists they felt would violate their privacy. As their stage shifted from theaters and salons to the circuses of the 1870s and 1880s, the sisters remained wildly popular and successful. They settled into retirement back in Columbus County, where they had long cared for family, friends, and neighbors, built a Methodist church and a school for African American children, and quietly and generously supported several black educational institutions across North Carolina. An exceptionally crisp and attractive example of this photograph.

$600.00

HOW TO ENTER VAUDEVILLE
seller photo

HOW TO ENTER VAUDEVILLE

By LaDelle, F. C. [i.e. Frederic La Delle, i.e. Frederick Clifford Kirkpatrick]

[S.l.: s.n.], 1910. First Edition. Good. [ca. 1910]. [2],20,[2] pp. Early 20th-century red cloth, manuscript paper label, original pink pictorial wrappers bound in. Author's notice pasted on front wrapper verso. Sticker label of Chanin's Studio of Magic on front pastedown. First publisher's advertising page inscribed, "No 42," in upper margin and, "Leo Keller," in lower margin in contemporary blue ink. Cloth worn, label chipped. Soft vertical fold in leaves, light abrasion to front wrapper in upper margin, small stains in final leaves. Good. A guide to aspiring vaudeville performers, containing various bits of practical advice, lists of booking agents and dealers in theatrical goods, a lexicon of stage terms, a brief history of vaudeville, and an autobiographical sketch of the author. Frederick LaDelle (stage name of Frederick C. Kirkpatrick, 1866-1941) began his career performing a trapeze act at an event in Newark, New Jersey provided for the benefit of striking Hatters' Union members. His success at the performance launched him into a professional circus career, working primarily as an aerialist, until he fell 35 feet during a show with the Adam Forepaugh circus, leaving him relatively unharmed but shaken. He then moved to the "less hazardous" work of a magician and vaudeville manager. In 1913, LaDelle would publish a longer work with "A Complete Illustrated Course of Instruction" appended to the title in Jackson, Michigan through the "Frederic LaDelle Co." The end of his memoir in the present edition mentions having performed an act with his family as the "LaDelle Troupe" since 1907. Those two dates suggest this pamphlet was published around 1910. Rare, with OCLC recording two copies, at Harvard and Brown.

$125.00

[Cabinet Card Photograph of One-Legged Acrobat Georg Fabig]
seller photo

[Cabinet Card Photograph of One-Legged Acrobat Georg Fabig]

By Fabig, Georg; Schaller, W. A. (photographer)

Berlin: W. A. Schaller, Theater-Agentur, 1875. First Edition. Photograph. Near fine. [ca. 1870s]. Cabinet card (albumen photographic print mounted on card), approximately 6 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches. Printed caption, "Georg Fabig, einbeiniger Handacrobat," pasted in lower margin. Subject's autograph signature and rubber stamp of W. A. Schaller theater agency on verso. Mild wear and fading. Near fine. Cabinet card portrait of the one-legged circus acrobat, Georg Fabig, evidently issued by his Berlin talent agent, W. A. Schaller, whose rubber stamp appears on the verso. The item was part of the collection of the late Johnny Fox (1953-2017), the celebrated sword swallower, sleight-of-hand artist, and proprietor of the Freakatorium / El Museo Loco, the first dime museum to appear in New York since the closing of Hubert's Museum in 1969. Located in a Lower East Side storefront from 1999 to 2005, the Freakatorium housed a collection of oddities, relics, photographs, and ephemera largely relating to human anomalies and sideshow performers.

$200.00

[Cabinet Card Photograph of Charles Tripp, "The Armless Wonder"]
seller photo

[Cabinet Card Photograph of Charles Tripp, "The Armless Wonder"]

By [Tripp, Charles B.; Bransby Cooper Pentz (photographer)]

York, Pa.: Pentz, [1887]. First Edition. Photograph. Near fine. Cabinet card (albumen photographic print mounted on card), approximately 6 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches. Stamp of photographer and inscription and signature of subject on verso, in his foot. Light wear, near fine. Cabinet card portrait of Charles Tripp, "The Armless Wonder," inscribed and signed by him, evidently during a tour in York, Pennsylvania, where the photograph was taken. Charles Broton Tripp (1855-1930) was one of the great human marvels of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born without arms, Tripp taught himself at a young age how to dress, eat, shave, write, and perform a variety of other tasks with his feet. He had become particularly noted for his calligraphy and woodworking skills when he left home for New York City at the age of 17 to seek employment with P. T. Barnum. Barnum immediately hired him, and Tripp would perform for the circuses of Barnum, Bailey, and the Ringling Brothers for the next 35 years and later for smaller carnivals. Throughout his career, Tripp inscribed and sold cabinet cards and postcards printed with his portrait, which typically shows him dressed in a fine suit and surrounded by instruments and products of his trade. The present photograph is a fine example, showing Tripp carving a piece of wood and exhibiting examples of his calligraphy and a paper doll he had created, presumably with the pair of shears lying in front of it. The portrait was made at the Pentz studio of York, Pennsylvania, and bears the following inscription in Tripp's foot: "Charles B. Tripp. Woodstock, Ontario Age 32 y's. William Kennedy July 30th 87." The cabinet card comes from the collection of the Johnny Fox (1953-2017), the celebrated American sword swallower, sleight-of-hand artist, and proprietor of the Freakatorium / El Museo Loco, the first dime museum to appear in New York since the closing of Hubert's Museum in 1969. Located in a Lower East Side storefront from 1999 to 2005, the Freakatorium housed a collection of oddities, relics, photographs, and ephemera largely relating to human anomalies and sideshow performers. During his performances, Fox often described his first childhood encounters with sideshow performers and adoption of them as his personal heroes. Charles Tripp was one of his favorite historical examples, and it is clear that Tripp's contemporaries had held him in similar esteem. A newspaper in Salisbury, North Carolina, where Tripp spent his winters, published a tribute upon his death that read in part, "He never let the words 'I can't' enter his vocabulary and the fine accomplishments and achievements despite handicaps should be a challenge to those of us who possess all our faculties. He was a real hero in every sense of the word and overcame odds in life that would have submerged many a man with less determination and spirit."

$600.00

AN EVENING'S ENTERTAINMENT BY MR. SELDEN CROSBY : SUBJECT-PHRENOLOGY .... THE WORKING POWER OF ELECTRICITY .... ALSO A MAGIC LANTERN EXHIBITION ... [caption title]
seller photo

AN EVENING'S ENTERTAINMENT BY MR. SELDEN CROSBY : SUBJECT-PHRENOLOGY .... THE WORKING POWER OF ELECTRICITY .... ALSO A MAGIC LANTERN EXHIBITION ... [caption title]

By Crosby, Selden

[S.l.: s.n., 1880. Broadside. Very good. [ca. 1880]. Broadside, 19¼ x 8 inches. Early horizontal fold, minor chipping, two closed tears (1-inch and 1¼-inch) in lower margin, small marginal stains, very light occasional foxing. Very good. An unrecorded broadside advertising a lecture by Selden Crosby on phrenology and electricity, with public phrenological examinations offered, skulls shown, an electric battery demonstrated, and a magic lantern show given. The magic lantern exhibition includes life-size pictures of two famous late-18th/early-19th-century human oddities: Daniel Lambert (1770-1809), who weighed over 700 pounds, and Calvin Edson (1788-1832), the "living skeleton," who weighed only 45. Spaces for venue, dates, and ticket price remain uncompleted. No records of or relating to this broadside have been located on OCLC or elsewhere.

$350.00