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Birth Certificate for Joseph Scott Fritz

Possibly 1827
Origin: America, Pennsylvania, Lycoming County
Primary support: 9 15/16 x 7 7/8in. (25.2 x 20cm) and Framed: 12 x 10 1/4in.
Watercolor and ink on wove paper
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1976.305.1
A birth record showing a horse in full gallop, with a woman wielding a sword and standing on his back. She is dressed in a robe with yellow trim and wears a blue turban on her head. Short green rectangles of green beneath the horse's front and rear feet suggest the ground. Inscriptions appear above and below the image.
The 1 1/4-inch molded wood frame, painted red, is original.
Label:The date of this example is based on a combination of criteria---specifically the area of residence of the subject or recipient of the certificate and the motifs used by the artist. Young's birth certificate for Joseph Scott Fritz is the only one known by the artist that features a circus woman on horseback. The inscription below the figure reads: "Mrs. Yeaman vaulting." Mrs. Yeaman was the wife of George Yeaman, who was known as the Flying Horseman. George Yeaman worked with various circus companies in America from 1816 until his death in 1827. His wife first exhibited her talents in horsemanship in New York City in December 1825 [note 1]. She worked with a number of the same companies that had employed her husband, George, and in 1828, she married the circus owner Asa T. Smith. His enterprise eventually became known as the Yeaman Circus, and records show that it toured the country and gave various performances until 1833 [note 2]. This rare and unusual birth record shows the horse in full gallop, with Mrs. Yeaman wielding a sword and standing on his back.
Provenance:Ownership prior to Lawrence E. King is undocumented.
Mark(s):A watermark in the center of the primary support reads: "C & S", presumably for Clark & Sharpless, a two-vat paper mill in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, according to the 1820 federal census. See Gravell and Miller ("Bibliography").
Inscription(s):Inscribed above the image is "Joseph Scott Frits a son of Henry Frits and his wife Mary/born a Scott, was born the 20th day of August A. D. 1821." Below the image is "Mrs. Yeaman vaulting./In Fearfield Township Lycoming Caunty State of Pennsylvania."