America’s First Tattooed Lady


Norah Hildebrandt (1857-1893) was the daughter of America’s first tattoo artist, German-born Martin Hildebrandt. When he didn’t have soldiers and sailors to work on, he would decorate his daughter. By 1882, she was almost filled in, with a reported 365 tats covering her body, and she began to exhibit herself at Bunnell’s Museum. During the 1890s she toured with the Barnum and Bailey sideshow. She died sadly young in 1893, but by then there was competition from the second tattooed lady Irene Woodward (stayed tuned…)

To find out more about the variety arts past and presentconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famousavailable at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.