Amelia Butler (born ca, 1840 - died ????), she is best known for being the first female American circus clown that we have records of. Besides that there's not much information on her available .


In 1858, Amelia Butler portrayed a recognizably feminine clown while touring with a show called J. M. Nixon’s Great American Circus and Kemp’s Mammoth English Circus.

She toured from Oakville to Georgetown, Brampton and Toronto in Canada.

Of the two surviving accounts of Butler's performance, she was praised for her ability but was otherwise insulted for her femininity.


I-female clown

Photograph commonly misattributed to Butler

  • A photograph of Tammy Parish is often misattributed as a photo of Amelia Butler. This false belief dates back to at least 2002 when a website called "" used the photo of Parish in an article about the history of female clowns, with users confusing the image to refer to Butler herself. Interestingly, the photograph of Parish is of an unknown source but likely dates to the 1960s or 1970s.
  • In 2013, underground cartoonist Guy Colwell published a children's coloring book titled "Famous Clowns Coloring Book One" which features Amelia Butler in it.