The Tattooed Lady
Author: Amelia Klem Osterud
Publisher: Speck Press
Date Published: December 2009
The Tattooed Lady delves in to the world of travelling circus sideshows in the US during the 20th century.
The book is filled with rare images of these young women with full body suits who made a living from being a literal human canvas. Tattoos weren’t as socially accepted back then, however the paying customers enjoyed seeing people so different to themselves.
These tattooed women would often concocted stories of their lives, building a character to portray in front of their audiences. Their private lives remained so, as to not ruin the illusion.
When most people think about the history of tattoos in Western culture it often revolves around sailors and criminals, mainly males, sporting ink on their bodies. The Tattooed Lady gives insight to the lives of some of the first heavily tattooed women, a topic rarely touched on. If it weren’t for this book, the fascinating stories of these women would be lost forever.