Monday, July 20, 2009

Vintage Circus Photographs

Every now and then a vintage photograph comes along that begs further investigation. Such was the case of the one shown above. At first glance, it seemed like just a random photo of a happy couple. But closer examination shed some light on the couple.

The image was taken by a photographer probably during the 1890s-1910 era. The cabinet photo measures approx. 4" x 6". It pictures a super view of a young man and woman, but both of a very large size! The back of the photo read "Chauncey Morlan, Age 25, Wt 602, Wife age 22, Wt 526". A quick "google" search revealed that they were a circus side show attraction of some type. The photographer turned out to be famous circus / sideshow / freak photographer Wendt of Boonton NJ. He was famous for his rare images of midgets, giants, fatmen, sword swollowers, jugglers and bearded ladies!

Chauncy Royse Morlan and Annie Bell were married in 1892 at Huber's Museum in New York. Afterward the couple toured with the Barnum & Bailey Circus in Europe. Upon returning to the US, they continued to travel as the fattest married couple in the world "with a combined weight of 912 pounds". During the off season the Morlans returned to their home in Indianapolis, Indiana - Chauncy's home state. Annie would die at age 31, and Chauncey at age 43.

I'm happy to offer this neat piece up for bid now on eBay. A neat old piece of photographic Circus history!