[Ads-l] antedating flea circus

Bill Mullins amcombill at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 11 16:35:08 EST 2021

OED has 1928.

1859 _Daily Milwaukee News_ 23 Jan 2/1 newspapers.com

"We will take occasion, en passant, to ask of the many abolitionists who have doubtless attended Bartoletti's flea circus, whether they think that if these tamed fleas were left to run at large they would retain their education, keep to their sword exercise, their music and their dancing, and also instruct wild fleas in the civilized arts which they have acquired?"
Bartoletti was exhibiting his "Industrious Fleas" as early as 1832 in London.

The Milwaukee paper says this is reprinted from New Orleans _Louisiana Courier_.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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