I have no idea who Benjamin P. Elliott is, but I have to thank him for creating one of my favorite oddball comic strips. Adventures of the Stranded Dime Museum Freaks was Mr. Elliott’s only comic strip series as far as I know, drawn for the Philadelphia North American from March 9 to May 25 1902. Ah, if only he had stuck to the gig. He had all the tools — good drawing ability, sense of humor, goofy imagination.
For those unfamiliar with dime museums, they were entertainment venues, where, for a mere tenth part of a dollar, you could marvel at all sorts of wonders and freaks of nature. Mermaid skeletons, devil babies, two-headed cows, medical oddities … you name, they had it. I imagine around the turn of the century you’d find at least one operating in any major American city. Most of the exhibits, of course, were fakes, or at least fancifully represented, but hey, whaddya want fer a dime, buddy? Here’s a brief introduction to them from Wiki, and here’s a page about Hubert’s Dime Museum in New York City, and below (if the link works) is a Youtube video of some of the exhibits at the American Dime Museum, probably the last of its kind and recently shuttered. I am surprised at how little there seems to be online about dime museums, a great (if not necessarily all that proud) part of American history:
Thanks to Steven Stwalley who provided the scan!