Josephine Schauer was born in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1869. At 20 years old she married Paul Blatt, a local strongman known as “Hoboken Hercules”. They began doing joint strength acts where she took the name “Minerva”.
During the 1890’s, Minerva worked in diverse weightlifting spectacles and toured all over Europe and the United States with various circuses. She demonstrated such stunts as breaking horseshoes with her hands; breaking steel chains by expanding her chest; catching 24 lb cannon balls fired from a cannon 30 feet away; lifting a chair with a 60 kg man and raising him in front of her with the extended arms. She was capable of lifting a 165 kg stone with a single finger.
On April 15, 1895 at the Bijou Theatre in Hoboken, Minerva stood on a high platform and harnessed herself to another platform below with 23 men on it. It had a total weight of 3,564 lbs (including harness and chains) and she lifted all of them off the floor. She was listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as having lifted the greatest weight ever by a woman, but the source is in dispute.
She also received national attention following her 1893 victory in a weightlifting contest over another professional strongwoman, “Victorine”. She accepted the championship belt which recognized her as the “World’s Strongest Woman.”
Josephine Blatt retired from performance in 1910 and invested in New Jersey real estate. She died on September 1, 1923 in Hoboken.
Edited from: Iron Ladies at the edge of XIX and XX centuries & Wikipedia
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