Of all the work I’ve done as a juggling historian, I’m probably proudest of my research into Frank Le Dent ((1886 – 1948). Previously, all we really knew was that he supposedly juggled 11 balls. We also only had one photo of him. Through a year of research, I discovered a huge amount of information on him, including confirmation that Frank performed both 11 balls and 9 plates in his act, long before Enrico Rastelli became famous for flashing 10 balls in practice and performing 8 plates. I wrote a previous article about Le Dent, as well as an entire chapter on him in my book Rediscovering History’s Great Jugglers Volume 1, which gave even more information, including the evidence about him performing 9 plates. Since writing that article, I’ve found many new photos of Le Dent and wanted to share these with the juggling community. Four of these came at great expense through my purchase of a very old scrapbook of juggling photos. Two others came via fellow juggling historian Alan Howard, who purchased a different scrapbook with some photos of Ledent with some fellow jugglers. Another photo was found in a scrapbook of Jack Greene in the IJA Archives. The rest were found in the archives of the Museum of Juggling History. Thanks to Jack Kalvan for his help cleaning up the first four photos below. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so let’s take a look at what these photos have to say.
Museum of Juggling History Archive Photos
These first four photos are taken from when he was performing 9 balls well in his act and was less confident with 10 balls, but willing to try it. This would likely date these from 1906 to early 1908.
The above photo’s table sign reads “This trick has been done by him 150 times” in Yiddish.
The next is from 1908. Note that he has 12 balls on the display rack.
The next photo is from later in his career, when he had mostly transitioned to performing comedy juggling and specializing in doing “bouncing hats juggling.”
Alan Howard’s Photos From The Roy Arthur Scrapbook (Thanks, Alan)
These two photos show Le Dent with two other jugglers. The three of them were apparently part of a larger group of jugglers gathered for a special show. They were called the 11 Jays, which apparently meant eleven jugglers.
Photo From Jack Green’s Scrapbook
This shows one of the same photos from up above, just cropped into a circle.