Tattooed and Tenacious: Inked Women in California’s History

Exhibit Opening Spring 2021!

From upper-class women who started the tattoo craze to the working-class Tattooed Ladies who performed in circus sideshows, this exhibit puts the foremothers of modern tattooing in the spotlight. Through photographs and personal histories, this exhibit uncovers the fascinating and largely unknown stories of women and tattoos before WWII. A Show stopping mannequin, hand drawn by current Bay Area female tattoo artists and specifically commissioned for this show, highlights how far women and tattooing have come.

Olive Oatman
At the age of 13, Olive Oatman was kidnapped and held prisoner by members of a Yavapai tribe. After witnessing the cruel treatment of Olive and her sister, a Mojave tribe bargained a trade deal that included the two girls. Olive lived with the Mojave group for four years, eventually coming to see them as family. During her time with them, she was given the ceremonial chin tattoo.
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“Tattooed and Tenacious: Inked Women in California’s History” was originated by curator Amy Cohen at the Hayward Area Historical Society in Hayward, CA, and is traveled by Exhibit Envoy.

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Photographs of Camron-Stanford House by Reenie Raschke Photography