Photo Friday: Fortune Tellers & Student Performers

22 Mar
While assisting a patron with a research request yesterday, I came across a fascinating historical tidbit in an ephemera file (Places—Arizona– Tucson—history—1880s–general). According to an article published in the Arizona Daily Star (January 15, 1979) by Betty Beard, the most expensive business license fees in 1880s Tucson were charged not to proprietors of saloons, trolley car drivers or dry goods merchants, but rather to astrologers, seers, fortune tellers and clairvoyants, who were charged a total of $50 every three months! While it’s hard to say just how many fortune tellers called Tucson home in the 1880s, I did find this wonderful photo of a group of students dressed up as such for a circa 1895 production of “Gypsy” at Safford School.  (AHS #40587 from photo file Portrait—Ronstadt, Frederick). The students are identified as top row: Sofía Levin and José M. Ronstadt. Middle row: Lupe Dalton Ronstadt, Hortensia Dalton Ronstadt and Louisa Baffert. Bottom row: Frecia Montoya Lippincott and Lilly Goodwin. This photo is the first installment of our new blog series “Photo Friday” where we will be periodically sharing a sampling of interesting images from our collection of nearly one million historic photographs. While we can’t predict the future, we hope you will find these photos as intriguing and enchanting as we do!
AHS #40587 from photo file Portrait—Ronstadt, Frederick

AHS #40587 from photo file Portrait—Ronstadt, Frederick

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