What are you afraid of?
“Subways!” Mabel Stark, renowned Bengal tiger trainer, told the New-York Tribune in 1922. “Trains roaring through the tunnel terrify me more than any beast I’ve ever met,” she said.
Following a nervous breakdown, the former nurse sought a “simpler & easier” profession: training wild jungle cats for the big top. Circus goers got the “thrill of their lives” watching the fearless Ms. Stark tame a cage full of snarling jungle prowlers. See: Capital Journal.
The lithe, cat-like Stark proved she too had nine lives when a loyal lion companion saved her from a crazed young cub named Brutus. See: South Bend News-Times.
Despite enduring countless maulings from her ferocious cats, Mabel’s love for them kept her coming back to the ring. See: El Paso Herald.
- Check out a blog post about circus posters.
- Learn about P.T. Barnum.
- Read an interview with retired circus performer E. “Doc” Van Alstine.
- For more coverage of bold women in the press, check out Chronicling America Topic Pages: 1) demon sheriff Constance Kopp, 2) vain but daring spy Belle Boyd, and 3) ribald vaudevillian performer Eva Tanguay, and many more.