26 août 2007


CIRCASSIAN QUEEN. Carte de visite. 4 ¼" x 2 ½". "Mlle Shretta . Frank A. Robbins Circus" period pen id on verso. Charles Eisenmann, NYhotographer's imprint. Ca. 1880’s ,VG+ cond. (see scan). Domestic post will be $2.50 plus insurance

"Circassian" women were regularly exhibited during the decades following the Civil War. Exhibitors frequently spun tales of "white slavery," harems, and rescue around the "Circassian" women to enthrall audiences. As the "purest" type of white person, Circassian women were said to be the most beautiful on earth, prized by Turkish sultans for their harems. Though almost all were surprisingly proficient in English, and mysteriously deficient in their knowledge of "Circassia," "Circassian Beauties" became a mainstay of dime museums and side shows until the end of the nineteenth century, attracting white audiences fascinated by the "exotic East" and preoccupied by issues of race. .

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