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Wonder of the nineteenth century : Unzie, the Aboriginal beauty of Australia / Nich. Forster, Manager
Bib ID 7756174
Format BookBook [text, volume]
Forster, Nich., author
Printer S.F. : C.W. Nevin & Co., Printers and Engravers
Description [San Francisco, California] : Nich. Forster, [approximately 1890] 
12 pages : illustrations ; 18 cm 
Full contents
  • Introduction
  • Biography of Unzie : the Australian Aboriginal beauty (pages 5-8)
  • Opinions of the press (from three Australian, one New Zealand and one Californian newspaper)
  • Home, sweet home (lyrics of the song by John Howard Payne, 1791-1852)
  • Music (lyrics by Thomas Moore, 1779-1852).

According to this biography, apparently published shortly after his arrival in the United States in 1890, Unzie was an Aborigine born in 1868 in Tarrabandra (near Gundagai), New South Wales. When he was born he had “snow white hair, skin like alabaster, and a few front teeth,” and was supposedly worshipped by his people as a “special dispensation from heaven,” until twelve years later when he was kidnapped by an Englishman and taken to Melbourne where he was educated. Forster states that Unzie was first exhibited in public in 1886. In American sideshow: an encyclopedia of history's most wondrous and curiously strange performers (2005), Marc Hartzman describes Unzie as “the most famous of the sideshow albinos” and considers it “unlikely that Unzie was an Aborigine.” He cites an 1895 explanation for his billing as “a respectable ambassador for his supposed people” from the Fort Wayne, Indiana, Gazette: “It has hitherto been believed that the lower specimen of the human race was the Australian Aborigine. A curious contradiction of this theory is found in the presence of an intelligent, well-educated Australian native in this country. Except in the contour of his features he resembles his race in nothing.” Unzie also had hypertrichosis and was considered remarkable for his “great mass of snow white hair which stands out all around his head like an open umbrella, measures six feet in circumfrence, it is elastic, crispy, and electric, it is full of life and grows profusely...” (page 7). In an October 1887 New Zealand appearance, Unzie is reported to have sung several songs and played “Home, sweet home,” with variations, on the violin, which may explain the presence of song lyrics in this pamphlet.

Nicholas Forster, the author of this pamphlet, also managed the Russian sideshow performer Fedor Jeftichew (1868-1904), better known as Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy. Forster writes that he met Unzie while exhibiting Jo-Jo in Melbourne, and then brought them both to the United States in April 1890.


Probable date of publication based on latest date in the work: April 1890, page 8.

Back cover illustration: Unzie's tribe : Australian Aborigines. Woodcut signed Hull S.F. [San Francisco].

Issued in tan printed illustrated wrapper.

Subjects Unzie, 1868-  |  Aboriginal Australians.  |  Freak shows -- United States.  |  Songs, English -- Texts.  |  Australian
Other authors/contributors Hull, William C. (William Charles), 1862 or 1863-1917, illustrator  |  C.W. Nevin & Co., printer
Also Titled

History and life of Unzie : the Australian Aboriginal beauty

Unzie's tribe : Australian Aborigines


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