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Mr. History,

I have an odd question: Did Annie Oakley have pierced ears? I recently saw a documentary about Phobe Moses and in many photos of Annie it appears her ears are pierced. Why did I find this strange? I believe American women didn’t routinely pierce their ears until the 1920s and Annie was in her 20s in the photos. Any chance of finding an answer to this silly question?


Jim D.

? ? ?

Dear Jim,

Early photographs of Annie Oakley show no indication of ear piercing, but later ones clearly show either a stud or a more elaborate earring in her ear. I don’t know where you got the idea that pierced ears and earrings were out of fashion in the 1800s, but the attached photos form the Civil War period seem to contradict that notion.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
More Questions at Ask Mr. History




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