you’ve probably seen this image,
or a variation of it.
Rock and roll fans probably remember it on a famous concert poster by Alton Kelley for the Vanilla Fudge around 1967.
It was a pretty common sight in ‘hippie’ pad décor until the early 1970’s —
I remember it myself as one of the posters my Uncle Dave had in his room as a teenager.
And if you’re a Wild West History buff,
— which was advertised the memoir of:
Josephine Sara Marcus Earp.
the inclusion of the ‘Kaloma’ image was taken to mean that this was a picture of Josephine in her early 20’s.
It was supposedly taken in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881, by photographer C. S. Fly —
— one of General George Armstrong Custer sold thousands of copies.
The ‘Kaloma’ picture has been used on more than one occasion in books relating to Wyatt Earp —
“Wyatt Earp’s Tombstone Vendetta“,
“Pioneer Jews” —
Both of these publications also identified the model as Josephine.
Many scholars throughout the years have gone along with this identification,
— partly because there is no strong evidence against it.
‘Kaloma’ does certainly resemble Josie Earp —
And, the identification with her and ‘Kaloma’ has been so pervasive,
that copies of the photo have fetched thousands of dollars–
both the 1915 book and the image are considered by many to have been misrepresented —
The book “I Married Wyatt Earp”,
as a propped up piece of fiction,
and the picture as having originally intended as a ‘French-style’ postcard,
or as an art print.
There’s sheet music-
a piece called:
Valse Hesitante (Hesitation Waltz)”,
and published by Cosmopolitan Music Publishing Company,
(1367 Broadway, New York)
that was using the image in 1914–
And the imprint on what is thought to be a first mass pressing of the picture,
also from 1914,
says nothing about Mrs. Earp —
— it simply says “Kaloma Copyright 1914 P.N. Company” —
which had offices (1313 Broadway, New York) a couple doors down from the above mentioned music publisher.
So what’s the real hot skinny about ‘Kaloma’?
Josie Earp was an interesting, vivacious, and adventurous woman…
And it seems somewhat possible that Josephine might have posed for the picture, especially during her days as an aspiring actress.
But how the truth about how such an image might have worked it’s way back to New York,
— and then come to be used in both sheet music and a pseudo-biographical work is impossibly obscured by time.
Whatever the real link there is between ‘Kaloma’ and Josie Earp —
The image is beautiful one, in any case.