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Beautiful Jim Key: The Lost History of the World’s Smartest Horse

Was Beautiful Jim Key a hoax or the real thing? No one was ever able to prove the act was fake. I think it might be an authentic story.


by Kristin Berkery

More than simply the biography of an unusual sideshow act, Beautiful Jim Key by Mim Eichler Rivas takes a thorough look at American history from before the Civil War to the mid-20th century, examining race relations, World’s Fair and exposition history, and the development of the humane movement. The story centers around the “Arabian-Hambletonian educated horse” Beautiful Jim Key, his breeder William Key, who was a business-savvy former slave, and their promoter, Albert Rogers, a privileged young New Yorker who aspired to being a philanthropist.

A VIP pass to one of Beautiful Jim Key’s performances at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
From Beautiful Jim Key by Mim Eichler Rivas

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