May 27, 2015 to September 30, 2015
The Life & Times of Charlie Wagner
Prof. Charlie Wagner lived through what is often thought of as the golden age of tattooing (1900-1940s). During the early part of the 20th century, Wagner was one of the great names in American tattooing as an attraction, tattooist, supplier, black eye specialist and inventor.
Residing in New York City, Wagner started tattooing by hand around the time of the Spanish American War (1898). The story goes that Wagner was inspired to become a tattoo attraction and tattooist after seeing the tattooed Capt. Costentenus at Barnum’s American Museum in New York City. While working as a night watchman at a tailor shop, Wagner learned the art of tattooing and got a body suit of tattoos from the established artists of that time. In the late 1800s tattooed people were a novelty and Wagner was able to make a living by exhibiting himself at dime museums.
This exhibit will feature, photographs, business cards, patents and other items relating to Charlie Wagner.