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The Life and Adventures of James F. O'Connell, the Tattooed Man

Date: 1845
Overall: 220 x 140 x 10 mm, 0.03 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00019544
Place Manufactured:New York

User Terms

    HistoryDublin born seaman James F. O'Connell, according to his narrative, came to New South Wales as a cabin boy on the female convict transport PHOENIX and remained at Port Jackson for three years. According to his account he accompanied John Oxley on one of his exploring expeditions and became acquainted with the conditions of the colony, the discipline of the convicts and the character and nature of the Aboriginal people. He was later wrecked in the Caroline Islands in the Pacific and he provides the first ethnographic account of the Island of Ponape in the Caroline Group.

    Although parts of his account are based on historical fact the book appears to be an 1845 fabrication released to coincide with the public display of O'Connell's numerous tattoos at the American Museum - later the Barnum Circus. See FREAK SHOW: PRESENTING HUMAN ODDITIES FOR AMUSEMENT AND PROFIT, University of Chicago Press, 1990 Robert Bogdan
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