United States Child Labor: Work Area--Performance

Figure 1.--We are not sure, but we assume this American boy is some sort of performer. The portrait is undated, but we would guess came from the 1880s.

We note a range of portraits in the 19th century of children, mostly boys in fanciful outfits. These appear to be boys involved in performamce arts, mostly acrobatics. They would have performed in circuses or on the stage such as Vaudeville. I believe these would have been mostly family routeins, but do not know much about it. I'm also not etirely sure about the purpose of the portraits. Some may have been family keepsakes, but they also may have been a form of publicity as well. Theu also may have been sold to the public as people at the time often added portraits of famous people and actotrs to albums and scrapbooks. Vaudeville was a popular entertainment before the movies began to dominate local stages after World War I. The costumes varied greatly, but almost always included tights. The outfit here with a kind of vest and skirt is a little different than many I have noted.


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Created: 6:27 AM 4/5/2005
Last updated: 6:27 AM 4/5/2005