Eva Clark – Circus Aerialist
Eva Clark was a headlining aerialist with Cole Bros. World-Famed Triple Railroad United Shows at the time of her shooting in Staunton, Virginia on September 6, 1906. Her death remains one of the most mysterious and contested tales in the southern city’s history, a story that has been shaped, curated, and reconstructed by an incomplete collective memory.
My research, in collaboration with Dawn Tucker, seeks to make sure that Clark is not only remembered for her tragic end, but as the vibrant, brave, and bewitching “queen of the air.” In researching Clark since 2003, I have been able to construct a nearly-complete timeline for Clark’s life, including her marriage to Lum Clark and the rise of her career before her untimely death in Staunton in 1906.
Resources and Press Coverage
- “Lore No More: Uncovering Eva Clark’s Rightful Legacy” (2020) Bandwagon: The Journal of the Circus Historical Society, Vol. 64, No. 3. (Print only until out of embargo; order a back issue or contact author)
- Eva Clark on Wikipedia
- “VCU alum publishes research about a famous female aerialist” VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, Mar. 2, 2021.
- “Researchers uncover details about a famous aerialist who was shot and later died in Staunton nearly a century ago” WHSV TV-3, Feb. 11, 2021.
- “A very cold case: Circus performer’s mysterious death in 1906 has ties to Cincinnati” Cincinnati Enquirer, Dec. 31, 2020.
- “Past the lore: Norris, Tucker discuss their research about the life and career of Eva Clark” The News Virginian, Nov. 14, 2020.