Tumblr, I have found wonderful unique historic Tumblers!
The Hanlon Brothers, or the Hanlon-Lees, were some of the most influential circus and variety performers ever. Performing first as children in the 1840s and continuing into the early 20th century, they became known for their acrobatics and death defying stunts such as the “Perilous Ladder.” They were also jugglers, acrobats, human projectiles, did pantomime, did early bicycle tricks, and eventually became comedy performers with trick scenery and slapstick gags, dance, illusions and stage magic - basically any kind of extreme public performance. They were some of the first to adopt the trapeze (which they called zampillaërostation) into their act, and patented the aerial safety net - sadly after the loss of their eldest brother. [source] Their influence cannot be underestimated, particularly in vaudeville and silent movie actors.
I present to you a truly unique item from U.Iowa Special Collections. This is a velvet bound scrapbook of watercolor paintings of their various stunts and acrobatics, wax sealed testimonials from European royalty, and press clippings. The watercolor paintings appear to be from their earlier years - 1860s?. Special Collections x-Collection FOLIO PN2598.H25 A5
This scrapbook is not fully digitized but you can take a look at several images which appear in the Iowa Digital Library.
And see this particular [Non GIF] image in the Iowa Digital Library.
For further reading, I recommend Hanlon Brothers : From Daredevil Acrobatics to Spectacle Pantomime, 1833-1931 by Mark Cosdon, which, if you are affiliated with the University of Iowa, you can read right now as an ebook and which features the watercolor illustrations from this scrapbook throughout.
I will bring you more GIFs from this book in the future. The Hanlon Brothers should fly again!
See all of our posts with GIFs.