Ladies and Gentlemen, The Illustrious Katie Sandwina
June 7, 2013 7:24 AM   Subscribe

Strongwoman ("Almost nightly she bent iron bars, broke chains, supported enormous weights, including a 1,200-pound cannon on her shoulders..."), suffragette ("...she became vice-president of the suffrage group that formed within the Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1912"), wife ("But by his own account he recalled only entering the ring, a blue sky and being carried away from the ring by Kate like a prize"), mother ("... Sandwina had to crawl under barbed wire to get herself to a hospital. When she arrived, the hospital was full and she gave birth on the floor"), businesswoman ("After her retirement, Kate, Max and Ted opened a bar and grill in Queens, where the entire family performed on Saturday nights. Though advanced in age, Kate was still able to bend iron bars, lift heavy barbells and support her husband with an ease that showed she still possessed great strength"), and devastatingly charming interview subject ("And, besides, a man who is embracing a woman wants to hold a supple and warm body in his hands - not a lobster!"). Also: one of the subjects of the cutest marital photo of all time.
posted by julthumbscrew (13 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
I love this! Thanks for posting. I especially like the affectionate grin on her husband's face in that photo. Definitely a cute interview, too!
posted by kavasa at 7:50 AM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Check out the pictures: she did it all wearing heels! (presumably casually lifting three people wasn't enough of a challenge otherwise)
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:52 AM on June 7, 2013

This is amazing! Thanks for posting this!
posted by halcyonday at 7:53 AM on June 7, 2013

I was really hoping she'd be holding up her husband on her bicep in the marriage pic.

Still super cute though.
posted by Aizkolari at 8:06 AM on June 7, 2013

My girlfriend started lifting at the university fitness center with a bunch of other people in her CS program. The men have left for summer but she and one other woman are still stacking weights... can't wait to hear about what the guys think when they get back in the fall, because I'm pretty sure they aren't keeping up with the training.

I think she'll love to read about this lady! Thanks for posting this.
posted by one of these days at 8:33 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was curious about where her bar was.... Apparently it was a corner bar & grill in Ridgewood, on the border of Glendale, Queens. This pdf has a picture.
posted by zarq at 9:36 AM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Great post, great woman.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:09 AM on June 7, 2013

Wow! Thanks for the story, julthumbscrew - an FPP that just makes me smile looking at it.
posted by infini at 10:24 AM on June 7, 2013

Side note: I found out about the Awesomeness of Sandwina in a slightly-amusing way. A tattoo-artist friend of mine had a calendar of old Ringling Brothers posters. She and I were both DELIGHTED by Sandwina (and her caption, "The Perfect Female Specimen!"). One afternoon I stopped by the shop, one thing led to another... and now an image of Sandwina hoisting a sack of grain above her head is permanently emblazoned on my upper arm.

I was SLIGHTLY leery of Googling her (quote: "Oh god, what if she collaborated with Nazis or something?!"), but my sister was NOT. Thankfully, everything we found out about her was completely delightful, and I am proud to have her riding around on my skin, hoisting heavy things in a brand-new century.
posted by julthumbscrew at 10:43 AM on June 7, 2013 [6 favorites]

This post is delightful. I wonder if Sandwina's family carried one of the myostatin-inhibiting mutations?
posted by Svejk at 12:23 PM on June 7, 2013

That's an awesome story!
posted by tavella at 1:35 PM on June 7, 2013

That PDF zarq linked to was a hoot! "Mama, don't hit him too hard!" LOL
posted by Xenophon Fenderson at 6:17 PM on June 7, 2013

Katie Sandwina was a true amazon.

So, what they're saying is that she was a brick... house.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:27 PM on June 7, 2013

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