Tattooed Women of Yesteryear.

There was a time when seeing a girl with a tattoo was a shocking thing? It was a very rebellious thing to do but these bad ass tattooed women got inked as a way to “take control of their body”!

A tattoo is a form of body modification, made by inserting indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment, and it officially appeared in 18th century. At that time, the tattooed people were mostly men, until the late 19th to early 20th centuries it first started becoming popular with women.

Here, below are some of amazing vintage photos of tattooed ladies who were known as the most earliest tattooed women.






































See The First Victorian Tattoo Queen


The First Victorian Tattoo Queen Cloaked In Ink: The Story of Maud Wagner.

Maud Wagner

If you think tattoos are an art form well you can thank Maud Wagner for that.

For a certain period of time, it became very hip to think of classic tattoo artist Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins as the epitome of WWII era retro cool. His name has become a prominent brand, and a household name in tattooed households—or those that watch tattoo-themed reality shows. But I submit to you another name for your consideration to represent the height of vintage rebellion: Maud Wagner (1877-1961).

At the turn of the 20th century, traveling circuses wowed viewers from coast to coast. From highly trained animals to elaborate trapeze acts, there was no shortage of entertainment for a crowd to catch. But for many show-goers, it was the sideshow performances that kept them coming back for more.

One such sideshow performer was a woman named Maud Wagner, who would go on to become the first recorded female tattoo artist in U.S. history.

Born Maud Stevens in 1877, the Lyon County, this Kansas native began her career in the arts as a performer, working as an aerialist, acrobat, and contortionist along the carnival and world fair circuit.

While stationed in St. Louis, where she worked at the 1904 World’s Fair, young Maud Stevens met a tattooist named Gus Wagner, otherwise known as “The Tattooed Globetrotter”.

As the story goes, Wagner allegedly offered to teach Stevens the art of tattooing in exchange for a single date with the circus star. He schooled her in the “hand-poked,” or “stick and poke” method of body modification, which requires little more than a sharp needle, some ink, and a fine attention to patience and detail.

In addition to inking lessons, Wagner also decorated Stevens’ body with his own works of art — so frequently, in fact, that before long she was covered up to her neck in blackwork designs, which only added to the spectacle created by her sideshow performances.

1904 World's Fair in St. Louis

“Maud’s tattoos were typical of the period,” writes Margo DeMello in her book Inked: Tattoos and Body Art Around the World. “She wore patriotic tattoos, tattoos of monkeys, butterflies, lions, horses, snakes, trees, women, and had her own name tattooed on her left arm.”

When not attracting crowds of her own, Stevens began tattooing her circus coworkers, eventually picking up public clients, always opting to stay true to her hand poked roots despite the fact that electric tattoo machines were widely used by other artists in the industry.

The pair were later married and Maud Stevens became Maud Wagner, as she is still remembered today, more than a half century after her death in 1961. Together, Gus and Maud Wagner had a daughter named Lovetta who would go on to make a name for herself in the world of tattooing as she grew. Despite working as an artist like her parents, Lovetta was denied ever becoming inked by her father — at Maud’s insistence.

A loyal apprentice if there ever was one, Lovetta refused the talents of her fellow artists, permanently renouncing her candidacy as a client with the passing of her beloved dad. If he couldn’t tattoo her, no one would.

Lovetta’s final work of art can still be seen on the skin of legendary California artist Don Ed Hardy, whom she adorned with a rose shortly before her death in 1983.

Rose Tattoo Maud Wagner

Of course, tattooed skin on North American women didn’t start with Maud Wagner. Native cultures, including Inuit tribes living in what is now Alaska and Canada, have been tattooing female members since at least 1576 according to an instance recorded by Sir Martin Frobisher, an English privateer exploring the Arctic in search of the Northwest Passage.

A tattooed and mummified Princess found buried in Siberia pushes the date of the first known tattooed woman back even further to the fifth century BC.

Although Maud Wagner certainly didn’t invent the practice of tattooing women — nor did she claim to — her achievements helped pave the way for countless women, whatever side of the needle they may find themselves on, to assert control over their bodies.

Can You Read These Tattoo History Facts Without Wanting to Get Inked?

Cristian Petru Panaite was always intrigued by his grandfather’s tattoo.It was a fairly small depiction of a woman and – although his grandfather didn’t like to discuss it – Panaite knew it must have been hard to get in 1950s communist Romania.

With this as his only window into the tattooing world, the New York Historical Society’s assistant curator grew up with little understanding of the traditions and culture surrounding the art of getting inked.

Now, after a year of careful preparation for the museum’s “Tattooed New York” exhibit, which opened at the beginning of February, Panaite has an entirely new appreciation for what is perhaps the world’s most personal art genre.

With a centuries-old plot featuring sailors, Native American kidnapping, presidents, sideshow acts, and possibly some Hepatitis B –- the history of tattoos is a story that even people who already have tattoos probably don’t know the half of.

It’s such an inspiring tale, in fact, that after only one month of tracing it, Panaite was in a studio getting a tattoo of his own — a tribute to his mother. Then, with a few more months of tattoo education, the previously skeptical curator added a second. He says he’s already got ideas for his third, and maybe fourth.

So, here we’ve compiled the ten most interesting tidbits from 300 years of tattooing in New York. Fair warning, this content has been proven to inspire tattoo addiction.



Tattoos were once used as a form of identification.

Native Americans who couldn’t read English would sometimes draw pictures of their tattoos in lieu of signing their names.

Drunken sailors would also rely on tattoos to prove their identity, since they often failed to keep track of physical documents.

Then, with the 1936 invention of social security numbers, all kinds of people were going to parlors to get the eight digits permanently painted into their skin.

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You’ve definitely heard of the person whose breakthroughs allowed for the invention of the tattoo gun.

The electric pen – which revolutionized the art of tattooing by making it quicker, cheaper, and accessible to everyone – was actually invented by Thomas Edison.

Though the famous mind behind the lightbulb had intended the creation to reproduce handwritten manuscripts, he accidentally ended up giving himself a few tattoo dots as he was testing it out.

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They used to be a symbol of “high class” in America.

After the Prince of Wales got tatted up on an 1862 visit to Jerusalem, many other royals around Europe quickly followed suit.

By the 1890s, members of American high society were desperate to get in on the trend.

New York locals offered the artist behind some of the royal ink $12,000 to open a shop in the city.

By 1900, 75 percent of the Big Apple’s most fashionable women sported designs ranging from birds to butterflies to calligraphy.

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some tattoos needed wardrobe upgrades.

During wartime, soldiers keenly missed the company of women. But with tattoos of naked or scantily clad ladies, they never had to feel so alone again.

Eventually, the Navy banned the ever-present porn. So soldiers hoping to make it into that prestigious class needed their tattoos to clean up their act. A booming “cover-up” business began with soldiers paying tattoo artists to put some clothes on their lady friends.

When one artist was charged with spreading disease due to unclean needles, he argued that he was doing “essential war work.” His fine was reduced and he was told to carry on.

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Not all of the early tattoos were fashionable.

Olive Oatman never wanted the face tattoo that made her famous. But when she was captured by Native Americans in 1851, her chin was permanently marked with a blue tribal design.

After killing most of her family, the tribe enslaved Olive and her younger sister.

Though Oatman later claimed that the tattoo was meant to mark her as a slave, scholars suspect it was actually intended as a symbol of belonging, meant to help Olive enter the after-life.

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Having tattoos was once a full-time job.

Sailors were the first to realize that their heavily inked bodies were so intriguing to the general public that people would pay to get a closer look.

Eventually, sideshow acts began popping up all over the city.

Nora Hildebrandt (pictured) holds a legacy as “the first professional tattooed lady.”

Trying to cash in on the fame of Olive Oatman, she spread rumors that she had been kidnapped, tied to a tree, and forcibly tattooed once every day for a year.

In reality, she was mostly inked by her own father – America’s first tattoo artist.

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Tattoos were banned in New York from 1961 until 1997.

Though the ban was reportedly a response to outbreaks of Hepatitis B, undercover shops persisted and were rarely shut down by police.

Pictured: Tattoo designs were drawn on this window shade in the 1960s so they could be easily hidden in case of a raid.

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Women and tattoos go way back.

The idea that ink is a sign of promiscuity, which is still commonly held today, began in the mid 1900s.

There were even several instances when New York courts ruled against a woman plaintiff seeking harassment charges solely because of her body art.

Eventually though, women reclaimed the use of ink as a sign of power and independence – with many of the gallery’s portraits featuring survivors of breast cancer who have tattooed over their scars.

Tattooing Animals: Abusive or Artistic?

Animals and tattoos are two very wonderful things. What do you think about tattooing animals?
Incredible tattoo professionals like Lithuanian artist Domantas Parvainas- crafter of some stellar animal portraits, would agree. So would the well-known Mike DeVries, who’s responsible for putting together stunningly realistic animal portraits. What about when these two elements don’t mix? What about animals who have tattoos of their own? Sure, a Poodle with a portrait makes for an entertaining image, but taking that idea beyond Photoshop art seems to be crossing lines. Believe it or not, some pet owners-who are also tattoo artists-blur the boundary between artistic and abusive.
North Carolina man, Ernesto Rodriguez who is a veteran and tattoo artist, took the liberty of injecting ink into his own to Pit Bull puppies. At first Rodriguez claimed the dog was asleep and didn’t feel a thing, then came the later add-on that the dog was actually sedated. The statements he’s made in articles are inconsistent. Whether the dog was asleep or sedated, does that make it okay for him to tattoo something that doesn’t have a voice of its own?
Another artist did the same thing to his dog. Mistah Metro who works at Red Legged Devil tattoo parlor (owned by tattoo artist Chris Torres who was featured on both Miami and New York Ink) did the same thing as Rodriguez. He decided to tattoo his pet that was under sedation after a surgical procedure. Metro didn’t tattoo his dog in the shop so they’re in the clear, but what veterinarian would allow somebody to tattoo an animal in their office?
Although it is not illegal to tattoo a dog, the ASPCA condemns the practice for anything other than identification purposes. ‘Tattooing an animal for the vain sake of joy and entertainment of the owner without any regard for the well-being of the animal… is not something the ASPCA supports, a spokesman for the group told the New York Post.”
The practice was banned in New York with the exception of medical and identification purposes. Consequences for tattooing and/or piercing an animal in the state of New York range from up to 15 days in jail and $250 in fines.
Ernesto Rodriguez took it upon himself to tattoo the thin skin of his own dog’s belly.
What’s more bothersome; the absent-minded idea to tattoo a being that can’t give consent or that the tattoo itself is just horrible?
Mistah Metro proudly posted this picture of him tattooing his dog on Instagram.
Just because the pup won’t feel any of the tattooing process doesn’t mean it won’t have to endure the irritating itch that comes with healing. Not to mention the fur that will eventually grow back and cover the design.
A close up of the traditional artwork.
AIMS-Animal Tattoo Identification Systems
Identification tattoos are legal, AIMS claims to tattoo their animals in a safe non-toxic manner.
Ear tags like this one are another common way to mark and keep track of livestock.
Tattooing a number inside a dog’s ear is helpful for tracking purposes.

The above photo strikes a personal chord. Service Dogs commonly have identity tattoos, I’ve had two Service Dogs in my life, both had identification numbers tattooed on their inner right ear. Every dog is tattooed because not every owner chooses the microchip option.


Tattooed hairless cat
No, this is not Lil Jon’s cat, the tattoos on this feline aren’t that horrible. Apparently tattooing cats is a legal although questionable trend happening in Moscow, Russia. ‘Cattooing’ is a process that takes around three hours. Putting an animal under anesthesia is a risk in itself, is it worth it just to make the owner happy?
Tattoo artist Kat Von D with one of her beloved hairless cats.
Cattooing or having tattoos while holding cats?

Scarification Is The New Tattooing Technique

Scarification is the new extreme form of tattooing and it is not for people who have a low pain threshold. However, the results can be stunning and these customers have been very happy with the outcome. They are a little scarred from the experience though.


1. Skull imprints.



2. Brand-on flowers. (Get it? He is the lead singer from The Killers)



3. A scar to show her dedication to being a fruitarian.


4. A completely healed intricate design.



5. An African model poses with her tribal scarification.



6. An old skull logo eight years after it was cut into this man’s flesh.


7. Scarred sternum.



8. Scar tissue.



9. Scar by numbers.


10. A perfectly healed design.


11. This octopus has left its mark.


12. Hand prints on her heart and ribs.


13. Scarface. (Had to be said)


14. Wishing on a dandelion.


15. “The story of your life, your scars are.”


16. Finding peace within.


10 Crazy Tattoo Laws From Around The World!

 39244Countries create certain rules and regulations to oversee the tattoo industry.Here are 10 of the craziest tattoo laws from around the world!


1) Denmark 
Since 1966 it has been illegal to tattoo someones hands, head and neck on Danish soil!!


Those hands weren’t tattooed in Denmark!


2) Ireland

While Ireland has no specific tattoo legislation, most tattoo shops won’t tattoo under 18, but some tattoo shops have been know to tattoo people as young as 14 with parents consent.

 Tattooed children


3) Dubai

Tattooing in Dubai is completely illegal and ink usually has to be covered in public… at least your awesome back piece won’t get sun damage…


Dubai Tattoo Law


4) Georgia, U.S

If you live in Georgia and want some permanent make up then there is bad news for you –  the state has ruled that it is unlawful to tattoo within an inch of the eye socket. You can kiss that permanent eyeliner goodbye!


Georgia Tattoo Law


5) Iowa, U.S

The age limit for getting a tattoo in Iowa is 18, but if you’re truly desperate for some ink there is a way around it; marriage. Yep, married under 18 year-olds are free to get their tattoo game on.


These kids clearly just want some awesome ink!!


6) Finland 

Much like Iowa, Finland has a loop hole to get tattooed under 18, all you need is a permit! How you get such a permit you will have to find out for yourselves.

Finland Tattoo Law 18+


7) Hawaii 

If you live in Hawaii and want a behind ear or eyelid tattoo, you are more than welcome to go get one! This happens only under the supervision of a registered physician, though. Hawaiian doctors just love some good tattooing!!


Hawaii Tattoo Law, “Good Nite” tattoos on eyelids


8) Netherlands 

16 year-olds in the Netherlands are free to get tattooed as long as they have parents consent. That consent however has to be provided in written form and the tattoo shop has to keep it locked in a file for 10 years!


Netherlands Tattoo Law


9) Iran 

Tattooing in Iran is legal, but is challenged by Islamic laws and people with tattoos have been known to get arrested and fined for showing their body art.


Islamic Tattoo Law


10) Adelaide, Australia

A recent law in Adelaide has seen members of motorcycle clubs and their associates banned from operating tattoo parlous!


Adelaide Tattoo Law

Tattoo Sanitation



  •  Can I get infectious diseases from tattoo needles?
  •  What to look for in a sanitary shop environment?
  •  Can I get AIDS from tattooing?
  •  Can my tattoos get infected?
  •  How to look for sterilization?
  •  Are there any medical conditions that will preclude me from getting a tattoo?
  •  Should I get a vaccination shot against hepatitis?

Can I get infectious diseases from tattoo needles?

There has been some concern recently regarding transmittable diseases (particularly Hepatitis-B and AIDS [HIV]) and tattoo shops. Just as in a dentist’s office, as long as the area is strictly sanitized, your chances for infection will be greatly reduced.

Note: If you plan on getting lots of body art (pierces or tattoos), you should seriously consider getting immunized against Hepatitis-B. Hep-B is a much more serious concern than HIV as the virus is much more virulent and easier to catch.

What to look for in a sanitary shop environment

The current popularity of tattooing and body piercing has also brought on an increase in potentially hazardous conditions. For this reason, I am posting the following guideline of what to look out for (in this situation, “artist” refers to both tattooists and piercers):


The area must be well-lit so the artist can see what s/he is doing.

Counter and floor space should be lightly coloured, preferably white so dirt shows up easier.

The spray bottle the artist uses on your skin should be disinfected between customers, or some kind of protective film such as Saran Wrap should be used.

Disposing needles

All needles must be either discarded after EACH use (or at least with each new customer), or autoclaved. Many body piercers operate out of small booths and may not have spent money for an auto-claver, in which they MUST dispose of each needle. NO EXCEPTIONS. Reusing piercing needles is equivalent to sharing IV drugs with strangers.

Needles touching other things

The needles, once open from their sanitary packages, must not be placed on un sanitized surfaces. The piercer should NOT set the needle down on the table, or, heaven forbid, DROP THE NEEDLE ON THE FLOOR!!! If this happens, insist they open a new needle.



The artist must wash their hands prior to putting on their gloves, preferably with an antibacterial/antiseptic solution. Once they put their gloves on, they should not touch anything other than your skin,and the needle. They should not be filling out receipts beforehand, or answering the phone–unless these have been wiped clean beforehand.

 Is there a sink separate from the bathroom sink?

Does the artist use a disposable razor when shaving skin?

Sterile materials should be stored in sealed containers away from things that could cause body fluids or ink to splash on them -The palate that holds the ink caps should be covered with Saran Wrap -After tattooing, the ink caps should be discarded and the ink not reused or poured back into the bottles

Be particularly wary of “outdoor fair booths.” While many are run by caring, experienced artists, these booths allow fly-by-night operators to make some fast money and disappear. If you don’t know the artist, spend time watching them work on others first. Are they reusing needles? Do they use needles that have dropped on the ground?

Can I get AIDS from tattooing?

IMPORTANT NOTE: This section refers to tattooing specifically, and not to other forms of body art. Some, such as piercing and cutting, require the breaking of the client’s skin to a deeper level than what is achieved with a modern tattoo machine.

Obviously there is some concern about AIDS and tattooing because when you get a tattoo, you bleed. But the mechanism of transmission needs to be better understood.

AIDS is transmitted by intimate contact with bodily fluids, blood and semen being the most common. Intimate contact means that the fluid carrying the AIDS virus (HIV) enters into your system.

Injection drug users (IDUs) use hollow medical syringes and needles to inject drugs directly into their bloodstream. It is common practice to withdraw a little blood back into the syringe to delay the onset of the high. When needles are passed from IDU to IDU and reused without sterilization, some of that blood remains in the syringe and is passed on to the next user. If infected blood is passed, the recipient can become infected with HIV, which leads to AIDS.

Tattooing is VERY different from injecting drugs. The needles used in tattooing are not hollow. They do, however, travel back and forth through a hollow tube that acts as an ink reservoir. The tip of the tube is dipped into the ink, which draws a little into the tube. As the needle withdraws into the tube, it gets coated with ink. When it comes forward, it pierces your skin and deposits the ink. You then bleed a little through the needle hole. This happens several hundred times a second.

You are only at risk of infection if you come in contact with infected blood. Since it is only *your* skin that is being pierced during the tattooing process, only *your* blood is being exposed. This means that the only person at greater risk is the artist, because s/he is the only one coming in contact with someone else’s (potentially infected) blood. This is why reputable (and sane) tattoo artist wears surgical gloves while working.

Another source of infection is through the use of infected tools. *This is why it is IMPERATIVE that you make sure your tattoo artist uses sterile equipment.* Needles and tubes need to be autoclaved before EACH AND EVERY time they are used. Ink should come from separate cups and not directly from the bottle. Any leftover ink should be disposed of and not reused under ANY circumstances.

The key to HIV transmission is *transfer of bodily fluids.* Evidence indicates that infection may require a (relatively) substantial amount of fluid to be passed. A pin prick almost certainly won’t do it. HIV is also a very fragile virus that cannot survive long outside the human body, and is very easy to kill via autoclaving. (I have heard of using bleach to sterilize needles. While bleach is an effective HIV killer, I’m not sure of the procedures for cleaning the equipment after bleach cleaning. As I personally have no desire to have bleach put under my skin, I go with autoclaving as the proper way to sterilize).

If your tattoo artist maintains sterile conditions and procedures, there is almost no risk of infection. I say “almost” because any risk, no matter how miniscule, is still a risk and must be recognized. That said, I am the proud owner of a Jolly Roger tattoo on my right shoulder because I knew my tattooist and knew he had sterile conditions

Can my tattoos get infected?

Not as long as you take care of your new tattoo.  There is a section in the FAQ that covers healing methods in depth. Some people have trouble healing tattoos with colours they are allergic to. If it gets infected and refuses to heal after a few days of using a topical antibiotic, you may want to check with a doctor. Keep in mind this assumes you are a healthy individual without any condition that suppresses your immune system.

How to look for sterilization

Check out the shop thoroughly. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by a clean look. If the needles are not disposed of after each person, then it MUST be “autoclaved.” Autoclaving is a process that pressurizes the instruments and kills any virus or bacteria that might transmit viruses or bacteria. My dentist has two auto-clavers–one gas and one steam–both pressurizing down to 250fsw. He also has spore samples that he autoclaves and sends to a pathology lab to make sure the machines are working.

Ask the artist how they clean their needles. If they don’t say they auto-clave, you are taking your risks. If they say they do, ask to see their machine. Note that in some states, autoclaving is required by law. Other common-sense types of things include throwing out the ink after each customer. Make sure the artists have small wells for each ink colour that they dispense from a larger container, and that these are thrown out after work on you is done. Compare the conditions of the shop to that of your dentist–does the artist wear gloves? Are the areas sprayed clean?

According to the Environmental Health Center, each year, a few cases of Hep-B are reported in people who’ve gotten tattoos within the last two months, but they have not been able to trace the disease back to its source, nor attribute it directly to the tattoo. If you think about it, the tattooist is much more at risk, as s/he has to touch the customer’s blood. While an autoclave will kill the HIV virus, it is not because of the efficacy of the ‘clave, but because of the weakness of that particular virus. Far more insidious is Hepatitis, which is more tenacious, and which a ‘clave does not always kill. Hepatitis is easier to transmit than HIV but all the bugs will be killed IF the autoclave is run properly (i.e., set hot enough & long enough). Some instruments can not, however, be autoclaved since they can not take the heat.

OffTheClothBoffs ADVICE !

EVERYONE should be using disposable needles.

The chemical bath is only as effective as how fresh is it, how concentrated, what chemicals, how “dirty” or contaminated the instruments, how long in the bath, which particular bug is under attack, etc. It is not the device, autoclave or chemical bath, that is as important as the operator. There are many different bugs out there. HIV may be one of the most deadly and Hep among the more easily transmitted but many others have to be considered (including Chlamydia, the infection rate of which is 20%!)  If the artist or piercer is conscientious, reliable and knowledgeable, either device could serve. Again my general rule still stands: “EVERYONE should be using disposable needles.”

The skin should be cleaned with antibacterial soap and water and scrubbing before the procedure to lessen the normal population of germs on the hide. Alcohol doesn’t do much but tends to degrease and cool, so no harm but no substitute.

USE OF DISPOSABLE GLOVES: A conscientious, professional tattooist or piercer will often go through A DOZEN DISPOSABLE GLOVES on one client. Gloves SHOULD be changed every time they touch unsanitized items with their gloves. If you see that the artist does not change gloves after answering the phone, they are not being sanitary. Marginally acceptable is if they pick up the phone (or other objects, such as pencil) with a tissue. Optimally, they should use a new pair of gloves after each potential contamination.

Are there any medical conditions that will preclude me from getting a tattoo?

If you have hemophilia.

If you have multiple allergies, you can always have the artist do a “patch test” on you with the colours you want prior to returning for a regular tattoo. This is similar to patch tests done for perms and hair colouring, and will help you determine if your body will react to some of the pigments.

Also, it is generally not considered a good idea to tattoo pregnant women.

Should I get a vaccination shot against hepatitis?

Without everyone worried about HIV transmission, it is easy to forget that hepatitis (specifically hep-B) is a much stronger and virulent virus to worry about. Fortunately, you *can* get protection against both hepatitis A and B! Check with your health insurance to see if it’s covered–otherwise, you might have to shell out £200 or so for both. There are two shots (injected a month apart) for hep-A, and three shots (injected over the course of six months) for hep-B. You are strongly urged to get protected if you are planning to get tattoos *OR* pierces on a regular basis.

As a warning however, note that a very small percentage of individuals react negatively to Hepatitis B vaccines, and could actually become ill from the vaccines themselves. If you are contemplating getting vaccinated for Hep B, talk to your health care professional to weigh the risks against the benefits. Note: Not all health care professionals are apprised of the most current statistics on the adverse effects of Hep B vaccines

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