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Product 4/114



Original Vintage Antique Circus Memorabilia Collectibles For Sale
Circa 1870s

H. R. Doane of Delavan, Wisconsin

Very rare and original, 1870’s CDV Photograph of a young, and beautiful Albino Woman / Sideshow Performer believed to be Nellie Walker who appeared for a time with the Barnum and Bailey Circus. This wonderful, period, Card Mount Photograph measures approx. 2 1/8” by 3 5/8” and is mounted on its original photographer’s Card Mount (overall size is 2 1/2” by 4 1/4”).

    The beautiful woman is dressed in a somewhat exotic dress that extends only to her knees and is pictured in profile seated in a photographer’s char with her right elbow on a side table. The only identification of the subject is a period, manuscript notation on the reverse that reads “One of Barnum’s Albino Family”. The mount carries the mark of the photographer – H. R. Doane of Delavan, Wisconsin.  

* See enlargeable mages above and below

    We could find little about the Helen “Nellie” Walker accept that she and her twin brother Henry (Henry had a typical African American complexion) was born in 1856 to a free mulatto woman. In 1860 the twins lived with their mother (who was listed in the 1860 Census as a “washerwoman”) in New York City. By 1864 Nellie and her brother were appearing at Brunell’s Museum in Pittsburgh billed as the “Black and White Twins”. John Burnell, a showman who had museums in St. Louis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and possibly other cities. His museums exhibited curiosities: bearded ladies, “The Mer-Man,” “The Armless Lady” and, as advertised in The Pittsburgh Gazette on Nov. 23, 1868, the “white and black twins.” No doubt, these are the Walker children.

    By the 1870’s, Helen (now going by the name of “Nellie Walker”) had begun a career appearing with various traveling circus sideshows (including Barnum and Bailey Circus). During her lifetime Nellie was married three times, first in 1872, when she was about 16 years old. Her first husband, Charles Price, also was albino. She is buried in Ohio.

    This rare and original, Circus Sideshow CDV Photograph is in very good condition. The Image exhibits sharp focus, strong contrast and rich tonality. The Photograph itself is clean and crisp with no damage or wear. The Card Mount is also well preserved with some very light soiling and light edge wear.

    A very rare and original, 1870’s CDV Photograph of a young, and beautiful Albino Woman / Sideshow Performer believed to be Nellie Walker and a fantastic addition to any collection!!!

NOTE:  We recently acquire SIX other antique SIDESHOW photos.  See the others below under , "Other Treasures You May Like". 

Note: Cvtreasures stamp Not on original photo

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