Ann E. Leak [“Armless Wonder”, USA]
Ann E. Leak [“Armless Wonder”, USA]
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Ann E. Leak [“Armless Wonder”, USA]

1877. Albumen paper photograph, carte-de-visite format, captioned, annotated, dated “Feb. 3, 1877” and autographed in ink on backing verso, 9.5 x 5.7cm. Slight scuffing and foxing, laid down on original backing.

Annotation reads “Born without arms. Zebulon, Pike [County], Georgia, USA. Age 34 years.” Ann Eliza Leak Thomson (1839–1899), was known for the “skill and ability” of her feet and toes in crocheting and hair-braiding. As means of livelihood Ann Leak decided to exhibit her abilities, commencing with Barnum’s Museum in New York, and then with Barnum and Bailey Circus where she married the circus manager, William R. Thompson. A detailed account of what to expect during her show was published in Georgia’s Southern Herald: “she crochets, braids hair, embroiders, writes, sews, and uses scissors, knife, fork, tumbler, etc., with as much ease and comfort as though blessed with hands.” Souvenirs such as carte-de-visites were “common at her shows. Ann was well known for signing the backs of them with foot-written messages.” Ref: Center for Knit and Crochet; Digital Library of Georgia; findagrave.com (no. 30385482).

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Item #CL199-37

Price (AUD): $990.00  other currencies

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