The Little Esquimaux Lady, Miss Olof Krarer: Age, 34 year; Height, 40 inches; Weight, 120 lbs. W. E. Bowman, photographer.

The Little Esquimaux Lady, Miss Olof Krarer: Age, 34 year; Height, 40 inches; Weight, 120 lbs.

Ottawa, Illinois: W.E Bowman, 1889. Cabinet card photograph, albumen print 6.5” x 4.25”, on paperboard mount, light gilt edge.

A striking cabinet card photo of Eskimo impersonator Miss Olof Krarer in a polar bear fur outfit, complete with conical hat, posing with a stuffed white fox against a faux ice background. Olof Krarer (1858–1935), an achondroplastic dwarf, was born in northern Iceland, emigrated to Manitoba, Canada with her father in 1876, and worked as a maid in Winnipeg until she joined an American traveling circus. Olof invented her tale of being an Eskimo from Greenland after encountering misunderstandings of her origin: confusing Iceland and Greenland, many people assumed that she was an Eskimo. Olof took advantage of the public fascination with Robert E Peary’s race to the North Pole through Greenland, claiming that not only was she an Eskimo but that all Eskimos were shaped like her, with short arms etc. Her storytelling grew into a very popular lecture tour, and in 1887 inspired the book Olof Krarer: The Esquimax Lady: A Story of Her Native Home by Albert Post, which in turn became a source of misinformation about the Eskimo culture. The hoax was quietly exposed after her death.

CONDITION: Very good.

Item #4262

Price: $250.00

See all items in Photographs
See all items by ,