Nora Hildebrandt was America’s first professional tattooed lady. Her place in history is due mostly to the fact that her father, German born Martin Hildebrandt, was America’s first professional tattoo artist. Nora stood in as a canvas for her father when he was not tattooing sailors and soldiers from both sides of the Civil War.
Nora’s fabricated tale proved to entertain audiences but she eventually discounted it and regaled audiences instead with the details of the work done by her father while displaying her body for all to see.
She proved a very popular attraction among men. However her fame was rather short lived as another attractive tattooed lady debuted shortly after her. Irene Woodward quickly eclipsed Nora’s spotlight and Nora’s exact fate is still lost to history.
Image: 1942 reproduction of an Eisenmann cabinet card.