Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo


It looks like The New Yorker got a hold of Margot Mifflin’s upcoming book, “Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo” and put together a nice little photo gallery of some of the most classic photos of Tattooed women along with the authors comments.

Fans of the show “Hell on Wheels” might notice the woman above was portrayed as “Eva” in the series. Her real name was Olive Oatman and she was the first tattooed white woman in the U.S. in 1858. After her family was killed by Yavapais Indians, on a trip West in the eighteen-fifties, she was adopted and raised by Mohave Indians, who gave her a traditional tribal tattoo. When she was ransomed back, at age nineteen, she became a celebrity.
Photograph courtesy of the Arizona Historical Society, Tucson, 1927.


Nora Hildebrandt, the first American tattooed circus attraction, in the late eighteen-eighties. Like many early attractions, Hildebrandt claimed to have been forcibly tattooed by western Indians, following Olive Oatman’s example. She was tattooed in New York, by her common-law husband, Martin Hildebrandt, one of the first shop tattooists in the U.S.
Photograph courtesy of the Tattoo Archive.

There are 9 photos and stories shared on the New Yorker site, we encourage you to check them out and learn a little history. VIEW THE PHOTO SLIDESHOW HERE


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