Today is the birthday of Betty Broadbent (1909-1983). Born in Philadelphia, she was working as a nanny in Atlantic City as a a teenager when she met a number of tattoo artists and performers who inspired her to become illustrated herself. Eventually she was to become covered in 565 images. Over the course of her 40 year career she was to work in the side shows of Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey, Cole Brothers and Sells-Floto circuses, in John Hix “Strange as it Seems” Side Show at the 1939 World’s Fair, and at Tom Mix’s Circus and Harry Carey’s Wild West Show, where she rode bulls and horses. She retired to Florida in 1967 and was the very first person inducted into the tattooing hall of fame in 1981.
To learn out more about show business history consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.