Tattooed and Tenacious: Inked Women in California’s History


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.

Exhibit open Sundays, March 15-September 27, 2020
Tours of the Camron-Stanford House occur hourly, 1:00-3:00pm every Sunday. Admission to museum exhibits included with house tour.

Cover of National Police Gazette, 1876
The cover of an 1876 issue of the National Police Gazette depicts a young woman being tattooed in her private parlor. While tattooing was popular for both men and women during the 19th century, women's bodies were still highly controlled and many viewed women being tattooed as improper.
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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