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Playbill. Tuesday, June 2nd, 1857. Equestrian performances, under the direction of Miss Ella.
R.S. Francis, printer. 1857 Folio playbill, large woodcut illus.; old folds, a few small tears along folds, small tear to lower margin repaired on verso with archival tape. 50 x 25cm.An evening of 16 circus acts performed by the Grand Equestrian American Circus of which 'Miss Ella' was its star. Ella was in fact a boy, born Omar Kingsley in 1840. Having run away from his St. Louis home to join a travelling circus he was allowed to join only if he swore to live the rest of his life as Ella Zoyara. Her performances in front of a rapturous crowds were described later by Edward Stirling. Ella would perform 'her marvellous evolutions on two, three, and four horses running at full speed around the ring. The leaps that fair equestrian took, clearing four horses at a time, astonished large audiences'. On July 1st 1857 Lewis Carroll 'notes having gone with his brother Skeffington to the circus at Drury Lane specifically "to see the little Ella again"' and described her as 'no longer little but as graceful as ever' (Lindsay Smith. Lewis Carroll; photography on the move). Although rumours about Ella's true identity emerged later - he later gave up performing as Ella to become a circus manager - she was accepted by audiences as a woman and even revered for her beauty. She is portrayed in the woodcut as a beautiful and very feminine young woman. The advertised programme begins with a performance by 'Miss Wells --- Clown, Swann', and includes repertoires by the Manchester Boy, Madame Newsome and Madame Schaplin amongst others. Miss Ella, the main act printed in bold, was to perform her 'Steeple Chase Act' and 'Balloon Act'. PLEASE NOTE: For customers within the UK and the EU, this item is subject to VAT.
      [Bookseller: Jarndyce Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2017-11-22           Check availability:      Direct From Seller    

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