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F.W. Stempel "Signor Faranta"

Collection 108

Stempel, F.W. “Signor Faranta” (1846–1924). Papers, 1883–1932

5 inches

Frederick William “Signor Faranta” Stempel (or Stemple) was born 30 October 1846 in Buffalo, New York, the son of Frederick William Stempel, a brewer from Strasbourg, France. He was the oldest of nine children.

Stempel left home at age 14 to join the circus, and worked as a contortionist for 28 years, touring Europe and America with great success. Later he became interested in the theatrical business, building the first popularly-priced playhouse in the South, located in New Orleans. At one time, he owned the largest theater in the United States. His Iron Theatre (1883-1889), on the corner of Bourbon and Orleans, offered inexpensive, popular entertainment: jugglers, contortionists, trained animals, dancers, sword swallowers, minstrel singers, hypnotists as well as plays. Stempel was a lifelong member of the Elks Lodge. He died in New Orleans on 10 January 1924 and was interred in the Elks tomb in Metairie Cemetery.

This collection consists of Stempel’s scrapbooks, photographs, and newspapers.

This collection is on loan to UAAMC.


1-01 Scrapbook: F.W. “Signor Faranta” Stempel
1-02 Scrapbook: F.W. “Signor Faranta” Stempel, [bills and receipts]
1-03 Photographs: unidentified, n.d. [1 item]
1-04 Newspapers: miscellaneous, misc. dates
1-05 Newspapers: miscellaneous, misc. dates