Ella Harper, “The Camel Girl” b1870- d1921~

Persons of Interest: Ella Harper, “The Camel Girl” b1870- d1921~




from the Wiki:

Ella Harper (born in Tennessee in 1873), known as the “Camel Girl”, was born with an orthopedic condition that caused her knees to bend backwards, called congenital genu recurvatum. This deformity is very rare. Her preference to walk on all fours resulted in her nickname “Camel Girl”. In 1886 she was featured as the star in W. H. Harris’s Nickel Plate Circus, appearing in newspapers wherever the circus visited. The back of her pitch card reads: ‘I am called the camel girl because my knees turn backward. I can walk bdfgest on my hands and feet as you see me in the picture. I have traveled considerably in the show business for the past four years and now, this is 1886 and I intend to quit the show business and go to school and fit myself for another occupation.’ Ella received a $200 a week salary*… After 1886 no references can be found relating to Ella the “Camel Girl”.

*that’s about $5,000 in contemporary cash



There is now an amazing blog that has tracked the life of Ella Harper: https://ellaharper.wordpress.com/


The Finding Ella Blog: https://ellaharper.wordpress.com/

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