I apologise in advance for my overuse of exclamation marks in this post, but it seems that the internet really does work!
I wrote a page on this blog to ask anybody who had some information regarding the history of this exhibit if they would contact me… [link]
Well, a lady called Emily Kane got in touch. She works as a librarian at the Smith Regional Public Library, in New Orleans, USA. One of my blog posts jogged her memory about Blackwell’s travelling carnival so she delved into the public records and found that it was passing through New Orleans in the spring of 1922.
It was at this time that the carnival owner Adam Blackwell announced his engagement… to a girl called Rachel Palmer! It was customary to make a public notification of this at the town hall, but ever the showman, Adam went one step further and put a notification in one of the local newspapers alongside a photograph of the happy couple.
Amazingly, Emily managed to track down the original photo amidst decades of stored records at the old newspapers offices! Not only has she emailed me a scan of the photograph, but managed to get the newspaper to donate it to this collection!
So a massive thank you to Emily Kane for her extensive and diligent work. And a thank you too, to the Jackson Daily News for being kind enough to donate this photograph to me to use as part of the exhibition.
I understand the photo is already in transit, so with any luck it will be present for the exhibition in May!
It is with renewed enthusiasm I ask if anyone else has any interesting curiosities that may be linked to this story then please get in touch. It’s not just physical items I would like to hear about – do you have stories about the carnival or the people involved? Maybe you know where Rachel’s head was stored for all those years before it came up for auction a few years ago.
My email is chrisfairrie[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk and i would love to hear from you!