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Bingham Ventriloquist with Genl. Tom Thumb's Museum

  • Object:

    Trade card

  • Place of origin:

    New York (Printed)

  • Date:

    1882 (Printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ballin & Liebler (Printed and published)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printing ink on card

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is one of a set of chromolithograph cards produced by Ballin & Liebler in 1882 advertising a tour managed by H.R. Jacobs of a Variety company starring 'General' Tom Thumb, or Charles Stratton (1838-1883) and his wife Lavinia (1842-1919). The New York lithographic company Ballin & Liebler issued two other sets of advertising cards related to General Tom Thumb and his wife, one illustrated with images of their wedding in 1863, and another with images of their appearances on their 1864 European tour.

This card is shaped like an artist's palette as a novelty, and illustrated with an image of James W. Bingham and four of his vent dolls on chairs. Bingham the ventriloquist seems to have had a career that lasted about twenty years on the Variety circuit. He appeared in 1879 at Harry Miner's New Theatre, Bowery, New York in 1879, and went until 1899 when he was at Hurtig and Seanom's Music Hall in New York. He managed the Lyceum Theatre in Boston in 1894 and was on this 1882 tour along with Tom Thumb and his wife, 'Major' Edward Newell, the skater on 'parlor skates', Zoe Meleke and her performing canaries, and J.H. Whiston the 'humourist and facial artist.

Physical description

Advertising trade card in the shape of an artist's palette illustrated with an image of James W. Bingham and four of his vent dolls on chairs (recto) and printed in blue ink (verso) with details of General Tom Thumb, his wife and Company's appearance at the City Hall.

Place of Origin

New York (Printed)


1882 (Printed)


Ballin & Liebler (Printed and published)

Materials and Techniques

Printing ink on card


Height: 10.5 cm, Width: 7.8 cm

Object history note

This is one of a series of trade cards printed by Ballin & Liebler to advertise the tour of Tom Thumb, his wife Lavinia and their Variety troupe in the autumn of 1882, including the skater Edward Newell, Zoe Meleke and her performing canaries, the impressionist J. H. Whiston, and the ventriloquist James W. Bingham. Six cards were printed in this set, illustrating the different acts on the tour.

Descriptive line

Trade card illustrated with an image of James Bingham and his vent dolls. Advertising Tom Thumb and his troupe appearing at the City Hall, on the 9th, 10th and 11th November 1882. Colour lithograph printed by Ballin & Liebler, New York


Printing ink; Card




Entertainment & Leisure; Advertising; Variety; Ventriloquism


Theatre and Performance Collection

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