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29 August 2020

Peggy Yule (1860-1965) circus performer


Minette tells us:
“When I was in the carnival, all the queens were mad for Peggy Yule. She was magic and they always talked about her. She left home in 1875 when she was 15 and ran away with the carnival. She traveled in a covered wagon. Peggy lived in drag and became a real woman as much as she could, not so easy then. She probably used the depilatory wax. And she had long hair, so long she could sit on it, dyed red. Oh, it was gorgeous from what the queens said, and she worked right up to the end. She lived to be 106, and she could hardly walk at the end. But she had a boa constrictor this big around, and she would pull herself up on the boa constrictor and she could cooch up a storm. She could hardly move her feet but she could cooch up a storm, and she was 96 or 98 then. The last few years she couldn’t pull up and cooch anymore, so she worked on a chaise lounge and did fortunes.
“Peggy always had a place in the show because she was very well loved. Peggy was always willing to stake people and she was very faithful, so there were people she knew in her old age that were ride boys when she met them and now owned the show. When she finally retired they couldn’t get Peggy into the house — I suppose the central heating would get to her — so she lived out back in a truck. She was a legend among the queens, Peggy Yule.”

  • Minette, edited by Steven Watson. Recollections of a part-time Lady. New York: Flower-Beneath-the-Foot Press 1979: 48

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