This is a cabinet card photograph of a circus or carnival performer holding a very large snake over her neck and shoulders. The card is rather faded, but intriguing, nonetheless. The name “Susie Miett” appears on the back of the card in pencil.
Obermuller and Son were known for their photographs of freaks, carnival and circus performers. Both father and son came to gruesome ends. Frederick, the son, committed suicide in 1900 by drinking carbolic acid several months after his two sons died due to illness. August, the father, reportedly killed himself as well, by drowning in a tank of chemical developer.
We have read the NY Times’ account of Frederick’s death (May 13, 1900). We have not, however, found any authoritative source describing August’s death.
We will be interested in learning more about the Obermullers, about “freak” photography, and the reputed rivalry between the Obermulers and their competitors in the trade, and will welcome your comments