Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs


Louis de Manche and Alf, c. 1920s

A collection of twenty-one photographs relating to a juggler and contortionist named Louis de Manche. Nineteen of the photographs are small snapshots. Two are larger glossy silver gelatin prints (not shown here). Louis appears in a variety of poses, balanced atop chairs and bottles, juggling, and performing feats of contortion. In some photographs he is balancing his son Alf on his head or on his outstretched arm.

Many of the photographs carry a pencilled inscription verso. Most of these read simply ‘Louis.’ The ones of him with the small boy in a sailor suit read ‘Louis and Alf.’ The one of him with two children reads: ‘Louis, Alf and friend.’ One carries an inscription written in ink which reads ‘Louse De Manche / Alfred.’ The inscription on the back of one of the larger photographs reads: ‘Alfred / with Father / Louis de Manche.’ The inscription on the other large photograph reads, in ink, ‘Louis J. de Manche / 252 Sackville St.’

Born on 24 March 1892 in Acton Vale, Quebec, Canada, Louis Joseph de Manche of Gardner, Massachusetts applied to become a US citizen. The form states he is single, and gives his profession as ‘Road Worker – Soldier.’ The date on the form is illegible. He does not appear to have to completed the naturalization process.

His military record states that his date of birth was 23 May 1893, that he was discharged from the army on 13 June 1919 in Toronto and that he died on 21 June 1942.

In 1920 he married Marie Laura Trinque in Gardner, Massachusetts.

According to his death certificate, he died at 252 Sackville Street in Toronto on 21 June 1942 at the age of 49. His date of birth was given as 24 May 1893. The informant was his son, Alfred de Manche, also of 252 Sackville Street.

Photographer(s) unidentified.

Condition: apart from the occasional missing corner, all the photographs are in very good condition. The largest of the prints, which shows Alf standing on Louis’s head, has lost all of its upper left-hand corner but this is still present and not lost altogether. 

Dimensions: the fifteen photographs shown here, plus four others (not shown), measure 3.3” by 2.4” (8.6 cm by 6.1 cm) or the reverse. The two larger photographs (not shown) measure 7.3” by 4.9” (18.9 cm by 12.5 cm) and 10" by 6.6" (25.4 cm by 16.6 cm).

price:  £200
code: cat021
acrobat, acrobats, juggler, jugglers, contortionist, contortionist, Louis de Manche, Canada, Canadian, Canadians