Wm. Adolph El Paso STUDEBAKER 20 Trophy
Wm. Adolph El Paso “Studebaker 20” trophy/loving cup. The legend reads: “OS APLE Jubilee Association Cup for 10 Mile Free For All El Paso, Tex. Oct. 23, 1912. Won By Wm. Adolph in Studebaker ’20′”Trophy is 15h x 14 w/l. Silver Plate over brass .
William Adolph was a member of Barney Oldfield’s racing team. He met Victoria Codona of the famed Codona Trapeze Family in 1914 in El Paso and married her. Here is Victoria Codona Adolph’s 1983 obit from the New York Times.
Victoria Codona Adolph, a trapeze artist with the Mexican Flying Codona family who later became a featured wire-walker billed as Princess Victoria in a number of American circuses, died Tuesday in Palm Springs, Calif. Mrs. Adolph, who lived in Palm Springs, was 92 years old.
It was primarily Mrs. Adolph’s beauty and fame as a slack-wire performer with Mexican circuses that attracted agents of the Barnum & Bailey Circus to Mexico in 1909, where they recruited her and an aerial act put together by her younger brothers, Alfredo and Abelardo. Alfredo would later become the circus’s star performer and gain fame as the first aerialist to consistently perform the spectacular triple somersault.
Mrs. Adolph, who was born in Vera Cruz of French and English parents, was the fourth generation of circus-performing Codonas. She made her circus debut, said Gregory Parkinson, a circus historian and program director of the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wis., at the age of 6 in 1897, performing with her mother, Hortense, on a trapeze with two flybars six feet apart. In 1904 she had perfected her slack-wire walking act and introduced it with the Metropolitan Circus in Mexico City.
Reviews of her act never failed to mention the beauty and porcelain-like delicacy of the lissome, dark-haired performer who was first known as La Belle Victoria and later as Princess Victoria.
Circus posters abounded depicting her in a long Victorian dress, carrying a parasol or enthroned in a covered howdah atop the lead elephant in the circus parade. One feature of her act, Mr. Parkinson said, was to sway the slack wire in such a way that at some point her body would be parallel to the ground. State Fair Circuit
Princess Victoria remained with Barnum & Bailey off and on until 1918 and also spent time performing in Australia with the Wirth Brothers Circus and making the rounds of state fairs in the United States.
At one of these fairs, in El Paso in 1914, she met and married William K. Adolph, a race car driver traveling the fair circuit as a member of Barney Oldfield’s racing team. She continued performing until 1920 when she was the star of the Denver-based Sells-Floto Circus. Then, said Mr. Parkinson, when she was carrying her first child, she retired to satisfy a desire to have a permanent home. The family purchased a gas station in Walteria, Calif., and in 1939 moved to Palm Springs. Mr. Adolph died in 1975.
It was in 1937 that her brother Alfredo, saddened by the death of his first wife and in the midst of the breakup of his second marriage to circus bareback rider Vera Bruce, shot and killed first her and then himself.
Mrs. Adolph, whose funeral was held Friday in Inglewood, Calif., is survived by her son, Dr. William Adolph Jr. of Palm Springs; a brother, Edward Codona of Hemet, Calif., and a sister, Hortense Ferrante of Costa Mesa, Calif.