Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lady Elephant Trainer

I bought this pair of lady elephant trainer photographs at a flea market in Elkhorn a few years ago and after a half-assed internet search of local circuses for a lady that matched the description I gave up, mostly because it seemed pretty impossible.  Yesterday, I had a studio visit with a trio of ladies from Madison and one of them recognized a photograph belonging to an archive from Evanston, IL.  It was true and today she sent me the link.  I am very pleased to find out that my lady elephant trainer is the infamous Mable Hall, elephant trainer extraordinaire.  Born to circus owner George W. Hall in 1878, she specialized in training horses and elephants.  She was the first woman to ever handle a male elephant and went on to handle "Columbus"- the biggest elephant in the world at the time and then "Charlie"- who ended up taking the title of largest elephant from "Columbus".  She lived an amazing life that you can read about here.  And one more photograph for you to feast your eyes on..

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