Share your favorites on Show & Tell

Cabinet Card by Frank Wendt Sideshow Performer with Snake

In Photographs > Cabinet Card Photographs > Show & Tell and Folk Art > Show & Tell.
Folk Art2411 of 2435Free Speech Cow in Burlington VTTintype Studio Tintype (The Painted Backdrop)
Love it
Like it

ho2cultchaho2cultcha loves this.
bucketheadbuckethead loves this.
antiqueroseantiquerose loves this.
HalloweenGreeneHalloweenGreene loves this.
officialfuelofficialfuel loves this.
ttomtuckerttomtucker loves this.
scottvezscottvez loves this.
aghcollectaghcollect loves this.
vintagemadvintagemad loves this.
TexasPieHoleTexasPieHole loves this.
MsDowAntiquesMsDowAntiques loves this.
See 9 more
Add to collection

    Please create an account, or Log in here

    If you don't have an account, create one here.

    Create a Show & TellReport as inappropriate

    Posted 12 years ago

    (203 items)

    Frank Wendt has always been unfairly placed in the shadow of Sideshow Freak photographer Charles Eisenmann, his mentor. Wendt took over the Eisenmann studio on the Bowery in 1893 and ran it for five years before moving it to New Jersey. He continued making pictures there for a number of years, some quite extraordinary. In 1979, just as interest in collecting circus freak photos was rising (in part as interest in Diane Arbus was rising as well) a book on Eisenmann was published which dismissed Wendt's work as "perfunctory" and that the production of those years has all but been "obliterated." Au contraire! As we are just learning, MANY exceptional images remain. The photos here are certainly not obliterated.

    Wendt specialized in the unusual. He shot all manner of performers, not just the strange. In fact, some of his most beautiful work is normal looking actors and child performers, who would use his cabinet card photographs as trade cards, mementos and such. Often the performers autographed the cards on the reverse, personalizing them to fans and the freaked. In the case of the carnival performers, vital statistics were often provided though frequently exaggerated. In fact, Wendt would take his pictures to emphasize the particular trait or deformity being marketed. As traveling shows passed through New York and New Jersey, they would stop to replenish their stock. Sometimes Wendt would republish Eisenmann's work on his own cards, but frequently a new photo was taken, and the same performers often appear in later pictures, with different imprints or logos on the cards. More information on the photographer is available at the WONDROUS WORLD OF WENDT site which posts an image weekly.
    Group of Frank Wendt Photographs circa 1890 Collection Jim Linderman

    Cabinet Card Photographs
    See all
    100 CABINET CARD Cab Photo SLEEVES Pack/Lot ARCHIVAL SAFE Quality 1.5 Mil Poly
    100 CABINET CARD Cab Photo SLEEVES ...
    100 CDV+100 CABINET CARD Photo SLEEVE Pack/Lot ARCHIVAL SAFE Quality 1.5mil Poly
    100 CDV+100 CABINET CARD Photo SLEE...
    100 Cabinet Card Photo Sleeves Pack/Lot Clear Poly Archival Safe
    100 Cabinet Card Photo Sleeves Pack...
    1903 Russian Czar Nicholas II Romanov Opulent Winter Palace Ball Cabinet Photo
    1903 Russian Czar Nicholas II Roman...
    100 CABINET CARD Cab Photo SLEEVES Pack/Lot ARCHIVAL SAFE Quality 1.5 Mil Poly
    100 CABINET CARD Cab Photo SLEEVES ...
    See all


    1. MsDowAntiques MsDowAntiques, 12 years ago
      Great vintage photo. Really enjoying all your Show and tell entries - they are fascinating. Love your WENDT photo blog --

      Looks like this is MISS UNO -- here are some more pix of her on Sideshow World --

      According to a fan -- "Miss Uno was a snake charmer late 1885 to early 1900, was called also moss-haired girl." --

      She's mentioned in this interesting article about circus photos -

    Want to post a comment?

    Create an account or login in order to post a comment.