28 août 2007
Zalumma Agra, one of Barnum's Circassian Beauties, was exhibited in Barnum's museum in 1875. Circassians were women who had supposedly been slaves to the Turks during the Circassian War. Part of the intrigue surrounding the exotic Circassian Beauties was their "not-quite-but-almost slave status." (Linda Frost, "The Circassian Beauty and the Circassian Slave: Gender, Imperialism, and American Popular Entertainment." Freakery ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson (New York: New York UP, 1996) p. 250) The primary requirement for women who played Circassians was that they be attractive. The women who performed as Circassian Beauties obtained their trademark frizzy afro by soaking their hair in beer.