Monday, April 26, 2010

Meet Mrs Wagner, the tattooed lady

This is Maud Stevens Wagner. She was the first female tattoo artist to gain fame in the United States, having learned the art from her husband. Maud was also a circus performer, which I guess explains why she was able to carry off such an unusual look in the early 20th century!

Why am I writing about Maud? Well, amongst the paperweights that I stock in the shop, I had one with this image, called "Mrs Wagner". I bought it just because I thought she looked pretty cool - I had no idea that Mrs Wagner was her real name. But just before Christmas a young girl came in with her mother, and when she spotted the paperweight she exclaimed excitedly and announced that this was Mrs Wagner, and she had all these tattoos because her husband was the first tattooist to use an electric tattooing machine. Turns out this girl loves circus lore and is a big fan of Mrs Wagner. She asked her mother to buy the paperweight for her for Christmas, saying that it was sure to become a family heirloom.

Oddly enough, I had another young girl in last week who, on spotting the Tattooed Man paperweight, asked if I had one with a woman. Circus lore seems to be popular amongst girls at the moment! Who would've thought?


sandy said...

I just got the Mrs Wagner paperweight as a birthday gift from a dear friend. She is stunning! I can see why you decided to carry it in your store. Thanks for providing the info.

Sarah said...

You're welcome!

Anonymous said...

Actually her husband was not the first to use a coil machine. Her and her husband hand poked tattoos and were some of the last artists to do so as the coil machine became more dominantly used in the tattooing industry.