Nineteenth-century accounts differ as to the place and time of her birth. In an interview in The Mirror of Manchester, New Hampshire, she claimed to have been born in 1865 in Hamburg, Germany. The Guinness Book of World Records listed her as an American, born in 1869, and various accounts place her either in Hoboken or Elizabethtown, New Jersey in her youth.
World weightlifting record dispute
In the July 1937 issue of Strength & Health magazine, Rosetta Hoffman made the claim that Minerva had lifted 23 men and a platform, in a 3,564 lb hip-and-harness lift.
For several years, the Guinness Book of World Records listed Minerva as having lifted the greatest weight ever by a woman—3,564 lb in a hip-and-harness lift—"at the Bijou Theatre, Hoboken, N.J., on April 15, 1895."
Hoffman may be the source for Guinness record, even though it contradicts, and even enhances, the published claim of the time from the sponsor of the event, the National Police Gazette. The Gazette, a sensationalist tabloid of the period, claimed she lifted a platform with only 18 men weighing "approximately 3000 pounds".
For this feat, the Gazette awarded Minerva with a solid gold loving cup on April 29, 1895; this trophy is now lost.
Josephine Blatt retired from performance in 1910, and invested in New Jersey real estate. She died on September 1, 1923.
- Todd, Jan (April 1990), The Mystery of Minerva, Iron Game History, Vol. 1 number 2, posted at the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles' website
- Roark, Joe (January 1992), The Roark Report: Backlifting, Iron Game History, Vol. 2 number 1, posted at the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles' website
- Minerva at Antiguas Amazonas