Zalumma Agra Portrait


Zalumma Agra Portrait

Barnum put his first Circassian Beauty, Zalumma Agra (Star of the East) on display in 1865 and promoted her as an example of racial purity. As in many of his exhibits, Barnum publicized Zalumma Agra's story and mixed scientific theories of the origins of the Caucasian race with titillating suggestions of harem life and a heroic rescue from certain slavery. More likely Barnum hired a local actress to play the part of a Circassian woman and Zalumma Agra was followed a series of such performers.

Source: Kunhardt Collection