Gloria Brame, Ph.D.

Mademoiselle Beeson: Slack-Wire Dancer

Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | February 28, 2011 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: circus history, crossdressing performers, gender studies, queer history, transgender history, transgender studies

The poster:

Sells Floto Circus presents M'lle Beeson, a marvelous high wire Venus, performance poster, 1921

The back-story:

Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, ND), July 18, 1929, p. 6. "Chicago.--(AP)--Dainty, skirted Herberta Beeson, hailed as "the world's greatest slack-wire dancer," is a man! The story of his rise from grocery clerk to featured performer of the "big tops" is one of the romances that give circus life its spangled glamour."

via trials and errors

An historic photo of Herbert/Herberta Beeson on the wire:

Berta Beeson

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I love how easy it used to be to just call yourself "world's greatest."