Sunday, February 3, 2013

FAT LADIES Postcards 1900-1950s

Continuing to sort through my postcard archives I have devoted the previous two posts to freaks, sideshow attractions and circus performers. I segregated out the fat ladies for their own post which they deserve, enormously! French, German, Italian and American postcards circa 1900 to the 1950s. 

(above) The earliest fat lady promotional postcard I've seen, published in Germany in the "gruss aus" style circa 1900. Jenny Letto 19 years old, 424.5 pounds.

Olga, the colossal lady, Germany circa 1910

Circa 1905, also in the "gruss aus" style and published for sale at German carnivals/fairs, the location of which would be written or rubber-stamped after "Gruss..." Many of these small town "volkfestes" featured menageries with human anomalies: fat ladies, giants, strongmen, etc. Still fairly easy to find at postcard shows in Germany, especially in comparison with the rare promotional card for Jenny Letto.

The woman of the future replacing man. A German "amazonia" fantasy, popular at the turn-of-the-century. Lithographed circa 1905.

Diamond Kitty 715 pounds, real photo postcard, American 1930s

Fetishizing a fat lady. Rubber chin strap and corset. Real photo postcard, Albert Wyndham Studio, Paris circa 1925.

The remaining are humoristic, all meant to be unflattering, in a way that was internationally acceptable decades before political correctness.

At the mineral springs taking the cure. "Effects of the Water", Italian 1930s

France circa 1930s prostitutes and their soldier clients.

American classic "linen" 1940s

French 1950s. Artwork below by Jean Chaperon

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