Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Rufus C. Somerby

Rufus C. Somerby (c. 1833 - 1903) was an entertainer, showman, and panoramist in the mid-nineteenth century. He operated several moving panoramas under the management of Boston's George K. Goodwin, including a panorama of "Dr. Kane's Arctic Voyages," and also was involved in mechanical theatres. He worked as an agent for P.T. Barnum, bringing one such mechanical theatre, "Thiodon's Theatre of Arts," from Britain to the US for an exhibition at Barnum's American Museum. He toured with Civil War panoramas, trained dogs and horses, and an entire "Japanese Village" (see below), becoming ons the of the best-known showmen of his day. My thanks to his grandson, Richard Somerby, for sharing this photo from his own family scrapbook, and to the Wikipedia, for the use of text from the entry I wrote for Mr. Somerby.

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