Josephine Blatt

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Josephine Blatt
Josephine Blatt in the Police Gazette
Josephine Schauer

New York City, US
Died(1923-09-01)September 1, 1923 (aged 54)
New York City, US
Other namesMinerva, Josie Wohlford
Professional wrestler
Years active1887–1910
Erafin de siècle
Known forFirst Women's World Champion
Home townHoboken, New Jersey
Height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight230 lb (104 kg)
Spouse(s)Christian Friedrich Wohlfarth
Charles Blatt
Henry Bercaw

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

Early life[edit]

Blatt was born in New York, the ninth child of German immigrants Joseph and Louisa Schauer.[2] Her father immigrated in 1858 and her mother two years later.[3]

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.[4]

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[5]— "at the Bijou Theatre, Hoboken, N.J., on April 15, 1895."[6]

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.[7]

Late life[edit]

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

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


  1. ^ Bombeck, Erma (April 29, 1984). "Many Volunteers Forced Into It". Logansport Pharos-Tribune. Retrieved February 20, 2017. Free to read
  2. ^ 1880 United States Federal Census
  3. ^ 1900 United States Federal Census
  4. ^ "Onstage Competition purpose in question". Seguin Gazette Enterprise. January 6, 1985. p. 15. Retrieved February 20, 2017 – via Free to read
  5. ^ "Sports facts". Kokomo Tribune. August 19, 1990. Retrieved February 20, 2017. Free to read
  6. ^ "Sport Day". The Gettysburg Times. April 15, 1982. p. 14. Retrieved February 20, 2017 – via Free to read
  7. ^ "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 Mexico where she is astonishing the people with her various feats of prowess. Free to read

External links[edit]