March 20 – December 31, 2016
McKay Gallery at the Pasetta House, History Park
Today, more women than men have tattoos. But what about the first California women to get tattooed? Who were they, and why did they get inked? Discover the fascinating and largely unknown history of the the foremothers of modern tattooing prior to WWII.
Curator Amy Cohen originally created this exhibit at the Hayward Area Historical Society, exploring not only Native American women’s tattoos as an important rite of passage, but upper-class women who started the tattooing trend, working-class Tattooed Ladies who graced the stages of circus sideshows, and some of the first female tattoo artists in California. History San Jose is pleased to present Cohen’s original vision, with additional material featuring artwork and stories from local Santa Clara Valley contemporary tattoo artists and clients.
(All images in the gallery below are either provided courtesy of Exhibit Envoy, the tattoo artists who provided them, or History San Jose, and cannot be used without permission)
- The Untold Story of How California Women Broke Body Art Boundaries, metroactive — April 6, 2016
- Inked Women of California Flex Their Muscles in San Jose, KQED — March 28, 2016
- Different by Design: Tattooed ladies have a long history in California, Willow Glen Resident — March 18, 2016
- Tattooed ladies and female artists take over San Jose’s History Park, San Jose Mercury News — March 16, 2016