Circus sideshow triplets: Ida, Iva, Eva

The Hanna triplets Ida, Iva, and Eva.
Ida, Iva, and Eva Hanna

Charles and Harriet “Hattie” Hanna married in the late 1800s and went on to have at least six children — including a set of identical triplets.

The three baby girls were born in Buffalo, New York, in September of 1906. They were named Ida, Iva, and Eva.

Surviving identical triplets were rare in those days, making the Hanna sisters somewhat of a curiosity. So, as young children, they traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada as circus sideshow performers.

The Hanna triplets Ida, Eva, and Iva at six weeks old
Ida, Eva, and Iva Hanna (at six weeks old)

The girls left the circus to attend school, but began performing again as teenagers. This time around they worked for a musical/comedy theater company in Kansas City, Missouri. One newspaper article mentioned that their talents included “dancing, singing and saxophone playing.”

In their 20s, they retired from show business to get married. Notably, Eva’s husband was George Hulme, better known as the famous mid-20th century circus clown Bumpsy Anthony.

What do you think of Ida, Iva, and Eva as triplet names? Which one of the three do you like best?

P.S. According to the 1910 U.S. Census, two of the triplets’ siblings were named Jennie (older) and Mildred (younger).

Sources:

  • Dawdy, Kirk. “Woodstock and the Circus (PDF).” Local History: Woodstock & McHenry County, Woodstock Public Library.
  • Find a Grave
  • “Wanted — 3 Husbands Just Exactly Alike.” San Francisco Examiner 23 Mar. 1924: 115.

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3 thoughts on “Circus sideshow triplets: Ida, Iva, Eva

  1. I’m not crazy about the name Ida, but I like Iva and Eva. All three at once is over the top, but I understand succumbing to the rare opportunity to give multiples a theme. Ivy, Eve, and Ava would have been a little better — still clearly themed, but with stronger differentiation. I have an acquaintance who is an identical triplet and one of 16 children! I have always wanted to ask him his siblings’ names, but I’m too shy.

  2. Yes, and 4 of those 13 sibs are two sets of identical twins! I have known him for 20 years and was always afraid he would say, “None of your business, weirdo,” if I asked him about their names. But if I ever find out, I will send you a message. ?

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