The Cliffords L’Avaleuse De Sabres. In the Latest and Most Sensational Act of the Twentieth Century. Donaldson Lith. Co.
The Cliffords L’Avaleuse De Sabres. In the Latest and Most Sensational Act of the Twentieth Century.
The Cliffords L’Avaleuse De Sabres. In the Latest and Most Sensational Act of the Twentieth Century.
The Cliffords L’Avaleuse De Sabres. In the Latest and Most Sensational Act of the Twentieth Century.
The Cliffords L’Avaleuse De Sabres. In the Latest and Most Sensational Act of the Twentieth Century.

The Cliffords L’Avaleuse De Sabres. In the Latest and Most Sensational Act of the Twentieth Century.

Newport, Kentucky: The Donaldson Lith. Co., [ca. 1915]. Chromolithograph, 26.25” x 40”, plus margins; recently mounted on linen.

A rare and wonderfully vivid poster depicting Edith Clifford’s remarkable sword-swallowing act.

In his Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women, Ricky Jay offers perhaps the best and most extensive account of Clifford’s act, making reference to this poster, which is illustrated in color:

Houdini states that Mlle. Clifford was born in England in 1884 and began swallowing swords at the age of fifteen. He did not, nor will I, question her motivation. She joined the Barnum & Bailey Circus in Vienna in 1901 and worked with the show for many years. Mlle. Clifford tackled blades of eighteen to twenty inches with “no trouble whatever” and on occasion swallowed a twenty-six-inch sword. Houdini states that of women sword-swallowers she was “perhaps the most generously endowed.” When the magician witnessed her in 1919 she had added some original conceptions to her act. She devoured an elongated (to five times normal length) razor blade, a pair of giant scissors, and a two-and-a-half-inch-wide saw “with ugly-looking teeth.” Her piéce de résistance was to place the tip of a twenty-three-and-a-half-inch-long bayonet in her mouth. This was affixed to the breech of a cannon, which fired a ten-gauge shell, the recoil from which drove the bayonet down her throat. (She is pictured in the color photo section. Her husband, whose sole function appears to be handing his wife the objects she will devour, is generously given equal billing.)

The poster is a composite image showing Mrs. Clifford engaged in the various acts that Houdini described.

No copies recorded in WorldCat, nor does a google search yield any image results other than our copy.

REFERENCES: Jay, Ricky. Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women (London: Robert Hale Ltd., 1986), pp. 290-91.

CONDITION: Light wear and a few horizontal creases along margins, a few small repaired losses to the image at center along an old vertical crease, light wear and abrasion to a few other areas.

Item #5594

Price: $5,500.00

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