SOƒIA 2017
Mackenzie Davis '18,
Tori Chaffee '21, Emily Krueger '21
Jadiea Muldrew '21, & Josie Welker '21
with Dr. Christine Myers

Before cinemas were commonplace, traveling shows brought the outside world into small towns. Monmouth had its own contribution to this cultural phenomenon - a magician known as the Great Nicola whose shows included escape tricks and a disappearing elephant.  Nicola toured not only America and Europe, but Australia, China, India, and parts of Africa and Latin America as well.  In this SOfIA project we will study the history of early 20th-century circuses and vaudeville from multiple perspectives. This will include debating ethical questions and considering the logistics of travel for entertainers a century ago. We will also collaborate with the Warren County History Museum who hope to locate the skeleton of Nicola's elephant in Monmouth using ground-penetrating radar.

Learn more about the Great Nicola...

Entry on Magicpedia

Biographies of Famous Magicians

"There was magic in Monmouth" ~ The Register-Mail

"Revisiting the Great Nicola" ~ The Review Atlas

"Great Nicola performs at Plaza Theatre" ~ The Register-Mail

"Big story buried in Monmouth"
~ JournalStar

"A little magic might help Monmouth find an elephant" ~ JournalStar