Josephine Blatt

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Josephine Blatt
Josephine Blatt in the Police Gazette
Born Josephine Schauer Wahlford
c. 1869
Died September 1, 1923(1923-09-01)
Other names Minerva
Occupation Strongwoman
Professional wrestler
Years active ????-1910
Known for First Women's World Champion
Home town Hoboken, New Jersey
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 230 lb (104 kg)
Spouse(s) Charles Blatt
Josephine Blatt
Birth name Josephine Schauer Wahlford
Born c. 1869
Died September 1, 1923(1923-09-01)
Spouse(s) Charles Blatt
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Minerva
Billed height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Billed weight 230 lb (104 kg)
Retired 1910

Josephine Schauer Blatt[1] (née Wahlford) (c.1869 – September 1, 1923), best known by her stage name Minerva, was a strongwoman. She married strongman Charles Blatt in 1888.

Early life[edit]

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[edit]

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.[2]

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[3]— "at the Bijou Theatre, Hoboken, N.J., on April 15, 1895."[4]

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.

Wrestling career[edit]

Blatt was the first woman to ever hold a professional wrestling championship, the original Women's World Championship, won in the 1890s.

In the 1890s she competed across Mexico.[5]

Late life[edit]

Josephine Blatt retired from performance in 1910, and invested in New Jersey real estate. She died on September 1, 1923.


  1. ^ Bombeck, Erma (April 29, 1984). "Many Volunteers Forced Into It". Logansport Pharos-Tribune. Retrieved February 20, 2017.  free to read
  2. ^ "Onstage Competition purpose in question". Seguin Gazette Enterprise. January 6, 1985. p. 15. Retrieved February 20, 2017 – via  free to read
  3. ^ "Sports facts". Kokomo Tribune. August 19, 1990. Retrieved February 20, 2017.  free to read
  4. ^ "Sport Day". The Gettysburg Times. April 15, 1982. p. 14. Retrieved February 20, 2017 – via  free to read
  5. ^ "In Woman's World: The Fair Sex takes An Interest in Athletics". Logansport Pharos-Tribune. June 18, 1892. p. 14. Retrieved February 19, 2017 – via There are Fannie Gorman and Josie Wahlford both of whom have won fame in their ?ine not of mere national limit. The latter is now traveling Meixco where she is astonishing the people with her various feats of prowess.  free to read

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