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September 10, 2013

French’s Troupe (fl. 1880s/1890s), ice skaters, roller skaters and bicyclists
(cabinet photo: Elmer Chickering, 21 West Street, Boston, Massachusetts, circa 1890)

‘WANTED, a Good KNOCKABOUT SKATER, to join French’s Troupe of Skaters (late French, Harris, and Mdlle. Rose.)
‘Address, GEO. FRENCH, 10, Second Avenue, Queen’s-park, Harrow-road [London].’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 3 January 1885, p. 19c)

Berlin, 22 March, 1887
‘The feeling of Germans against Frenchmen is now so intense that a French [sic] troupe of skaters at the Concordia Music Hall were, and are, nightly severely hissed before they get a chance to even commence their performance.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 26 March 1887, p. 8e)

‘FRENCH’S TROUPE of Skaters and Bicyclists (Four in number – Two Ladies, Gent, and Youth). Two Distinct Specialities, just concluded Nine Weeks’ tremendously successful Engagement, Concordia Theatre, Berlin. At Liberty, May 9th [1887]. For particulars, address as above; or, permanent address, 14, Second-avenue, Queen’s-park, London.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 7 May 1887, p. 23d)

‘FRENCH’S TROUPE
‘The best scientific and most laughable COMIC SKATERS in the World. Also TRICK BICYCLISTS and MONOCYCLISTS. 4 in number. 2 Ladies. 2 Gents: 2 distinct specialities: now meeting with enormous success through South America and West Indies, with F.A. Gardner’s Grand Circus.
‘AT LIBERY, TO ACCEPT ENGAGEMENTS FROM JAN. 12, 1891. Address all communications to G. FRENCH, care of CLIPPER.
‘A FEW OPINIONS OF THE PRESS:
‘Gardner’s Circus. – The best treat of the evening was the grand roller skating by the French troupe. This act provoked roars of laughter, and frequent applause sounded from all parts of the house. – JAMAICA POST, Kingston. Aug. 7, 1890.
‘The Bicycle Act by the Family French created quite a sensation, and was loudly applauded. Mr. Harry French, on his unicycle, performs some prodigious feats, with must be seen to be believed. It is incomprehensible how he can girate [sic] at such lightning like rapidity on only one wheel of his bicycle. – GLEANER, Jamaica, Aug. 2, 1890.
‘The part played by the French Family was simply first class, and new, as it is to us, delighted the audience, and the comic business brought forth roars of laughter. – HERALD, Barbados, Aug. 28, 1890.
‘After the intermission, a grand roller skating entertainment, along with a new sort of pantomime, engaged the audience a while amid continuous bursts of laughter. – GLOBE, Barbados, Aug. 28, 1890.
‘The bicycling and roller skating by the French Family it would be difficult to eclipse. – DAILY CHRONICLE, Georgetown, Demerara, Sept. 10, 1890.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 3 January 1891, p. 687)

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