Gert Swazey (1855-1934)

Gert Swazey

Her circus career made Gert Swazey one of Haverhill’s most colorful products.

With Barnum and Bailey’s and other circuses, she perfected a four-horse bareback riding act that included a leap through a ring of fire.

She was believed to be the first female circus performer to wear tights.

From a  tempestuous childhood that included exclusion from Bradford Academy, she toured the country as a performer, then returned to Haverhill to live out her last years in poverty.


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