Born in Lyon County Kansas February 1877,
Maud Wagner was the United States'
first female tattoo artist.
Maud was an aerialist and contortionist, working in numerous traveling circuses. She met Gus Wagner, a tattoo artist who described himself as "the most artistically marked up man in America" while traveling with circuses and sideshows.
She exchanged a romantic date with him for a lesson in tattooing, and several years later they were married.
Together they had a daughter, Lotteva, who started tattooing at the age of nine and went on to become a tattoo artist herself.
As an apprentice of her husband, Maud learned how to give traditional "hand-poked" tattoos, despite the invention of the tattoo machine,
and became a tattooist herself. Together, the Wagners were two of the last tattoo artists to work by hand, without the aid of modern tattoo machines.
After leaving the circus, Maud and Gus traveled around the United States, working both as tattoo artists and "tattooed attractions" in vaudeville houses, county fairs, and amusement arcades. They are credited with bringing tattoo artistry inland, away from the coastal cities and towns where the practice had started.
Maud died on January 30, 1961
in Lawton, Oklahoma.
Today Maud is an inspiration to many artists.
Respectfully, we honor her.
720 Commercial St