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Mlle. Zittella, English circus performer, strongwoman, singer and burlesque entertainer, San Francisco, circa 1880

January 17, 2013

cabinet photograph of Mlle. Zittella (Zittella Jane Green, 1852-1938),
English circus performer, strongwoman, singer and burlesque entertainer
(photo: Houseworth, San Francisco, circa 1880)

Zittella Jane Green, daughter of Edward Green, an artist (later described as an actor and gymnastic artist) of 18 Back Road, Tower Hamlets, London, and his wife, Lucy Sarah, was born on 17 May 1852 and baptised at the church of St. George in the East on 6 June following.

The Canterbury music hall, London, Christmas, 1869
‘… The return of Mr F. Jonghmans to the scene of his former triumphs was certain to be attended with a rapturous welcome. Whether such was expected or not, the reception accorded him was one of which any artiste might justly be proud. ”The Queen of serio-comics,” too, as Miss Annie Adams is called, met with vociferous plaudits; and this was the case, also, with the great patter singer, Mr J.G. Forde. The manner in which Miss Russell (who, alike here and at the National Standard Theatre, where she also performed on Boxing Night, is decidedly a favourite.) Miss Louie Rosalie, and the other artistes executed their several tasks, especially Zitella’s troupe of male and female acrobats, who introduce a variety of movements both novel and daring, was such as to secure in many cases a repetition of their performances …’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 2 January 1870, p. 13d)

‘Skiff & Gaylord’s Entertainment [Masonic Hall, Nashville, Tennessee, 19 April 1872].
‘The patronage last night of Skiff & Gaylor’s combination exhibition, in Masonic Hall, was large. An evidence that it is a pleasure to some gentlemen to accommodate the ladies all they can, was manifested in the alacrity with which the bachelors all gallantly took side seats when requested to do so. An elderly spectator weighing not less than three hundred pounds was the recipient of great applause on entering. The first part of the programme, consisting of vocal and instrumental music and jokes, could in some respects have been very considerably improved. The contortions of Willie Gaylord were not alone wonderful but were gracefully executed. M’lle Zittella’s songs were all rendered in a Lydia Thompson costume consisting of blue satin and white, fringed with gold. The gentle breathings of ”the culled person” who essayed to speak on a variety of topics could have been omitted and no one would have been displeased. He ought to have remembered that this is a State capital and the inhabitants are in the habit of listening to tedious speeches in the winter time. The performances of the Morrell Brothers, assisted by Mlle. Zittella, were lively and worth seeing, embracing as they did an exhibition of a woman literally supporting two strong men. The exhibition will be repeated to-night with a change of programme. They give also a matinee performance commencing at 2 o’clock this afternoon.’
(Nashville Union and American, Saturday, 20 April 1872, p. 4f)

‘MRS. ZITTELLA FLYNN
‘Retired Circus Strong Woman Dies in Englewood at 87
‘Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
ENGLEWOOD, N.J., May 16. – Mrs. Zittella Flynn, an old-time circus and vaudeville strong woman, died in the Englewood Hospital today at the age of 87.
She was born in London and came to this country in 1887 [sic] to perform with an act in which she carried six men.
A niece, Mrs. Edith Bloodgood of New York, survives.’
(The New York Times
, Tuesday, 17 May 1938, p. 23)

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