Newly Discovered Ollie Young Photos and Information

Three years ago I wrote an article on innovative juggler Ollie Young. Ollie (1875 – 1946) was from Columbus, Ohio (USA) and is remembered for a few notable reasons. First of all, he is credited as the inventor of kick ups with clubs and was one of the finest club jugglers prior to the twentieth century. He was the first juggler ever seen by Harry Lind and was a big inspiration to Lind. One of Harry Lind’s prized possessions was a large poster of Ollie Young, which he loved to show to fellow jugglers. I was recently able to find photos of Lind’s poster and of Lind showing it off to visitors, which you can see below.


Edward Van Wyck and Harry Lind with the Ollie Young poster

Jack Greene and Harry Lind with the Ollie Young poster

Young was one of the earliest vaudeville performers with diabolos and boomerangs. Eventually he became very well-known as the second juggler to add hoop rolling and juggling to his act. This type of juggling was invented by fellow Columbus, Ohio resident William Everhart, and I hypothesized in the early article that Young probably worked as an assistant to Everhart before going out on his own. I have new information that supports this theory. I found an advertisement for Young saying that he was the only other hoop juggler authorized by Everhart to perform hoop rolling and that he paid Everhart a royalty fee for doing so.

When Young made the transition from clubs to hoops around 1901, he took on partners, advertising them as his brothers. Whether they were actually related or not, I’ve not been able to determine. However, I have found many new photos of Ollie and his “brothers,” which you can see below.

In 1908, 33 year old Ollie married Adah Bedford, by all accounts a stunningly beautiful and charming young woman thirteen years younger than her groom. She began to learn the skills of her husband right away, but did not yet join the act. Ollie Young and his brothers continued to perform, during which time Ollie developed a new act with Adah, now known as April. In 1909, “Ollie Young and April” debuted the act that would set them apart from other acts and which they would do for the next thirty eight years. It was the blowing, manipulating, and juggling of soap bubbles. While the couple continued to perform hoop rolling, diabolo, and boomerang throwing, it was their work with soap bubbles that mesmerized audiences and brought them true fame. By 1910, Ollie and his brothers finished up their contracts and from that point on, it was Ollie and April as a duo. I have found several new images of the couple, which you can see below.

New discoveries are being made every week in the realm of juggling history research, and I’m glad to share them here with you. I hope you’ll reacquaint yourself with the original article on Ollie Young and add these new photos and information to your appreciation of his contributions to our art.

David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of twenty-six books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

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