# 40444

BURMAN, Arthur W.

American acrobat Hadj Hamo, “The Arab Wonder”, and his protege, the contortionist Cassim, “The Boneless Wonder”. Melbourne, 1878.

$650.00 AUD

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Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 101 x 65 mm, recto and verso of mount with imprint of ‘A. W. Burman, Artist Photographer, 209 Bourke Street East, opposite Polytechnic Hall’; both the albumen print and mount are in fine condition.

A rare souvenir carte de visite of the visit to Melbourne of circus performers Hadj Hamo, tumbler, and Master Willie Cassim, contortionist, in 1878. Hadj Hamo (real name Edwin Fritz) was American; Cassim (real name James Cassim) was of Indian-Scottish heritage. The pair arrived in Australia from San Francisco with the Cooper, Bailey & Co. Circus in November 1877. Both apparently remained in Australia for some time, performing with various circuses. After returning to America, Cassim was killed by a train in Pennsylvania May 1879.

Burman’s studio was known for its souvenir carte de visite portraits of touring circus and sideshow identities, including, for example, Chang Wu Gow, the Chinese Giant, and Dominick Sonsee, “The Smallest Man in the World”.

We have not been able to trace another example of this carte in Australian institutional collections.