Welcome to ShowHistory.com!

Step right up and check out the new Showhistory.com website, where members will be able to view thousands of rare and beautiful souvenirs of carnivals, sideshow and circus history. At this point we are open to suggestions for improvements and would love to hear from you!


Hello. I just joined the site today. It is most fascinating and I have already been able to locate one performer I was searching for. However, there is one performer I have been looking for information on that has alluded me after years of off and on research. His name was Lewie, the Original Tattooed Boy. He was said to be 15 years old in 1890. Another website had a picture of him with a label at the bottom reading that it was in the collection of Charles Bernard, Savannah, GA from Circus History Specialties. A link to his photo may be found here: http://www.sanjose.com/underbelly/unbelly/Sanjose/Burbank/tatoos.html This site has never responded back to me when I questioned additional information about Lewie. Does anyone here have any information on this allusive Lewie? Thank you. Also, I am most interested in the picture of Harry Karsey, another tattooed boy that was tattooed by Wagner in New York. I tried to download the picture according to your terms of not reproducing it or distributing it, but it does not download. That is fine, but if there is any way I can have it in my private sideshow collection of photos I would like to do so, even if that means I need to acquire special permission from the picture's owner. I am working on a musical based on the sideshow of over a hundred years ago, and two of my main characters are based loosely on actual performers of the age. The girl is based on the many Egyptian girl dancers like Little Miss Egypt, and the boy gets into the sideshow industry by becoming a tattooed attraction such as Karsey, my allusive Lewie, and others like Sidonia and Andrew Steurtz (Stuertz). Thank you for your help.

Hi-- Thank you for your comments and especially for your support of showhistory.com! I had not heard of Lewie previously. I took a look at the link, and he looks like an interesting character. I can check with a few tattoo people I know, but typically, these kind of performers are short-lived. D.B.