35. Travel Lectures
Nat Brigham Wows Unkapupa
This ad for Nat Brigham in The Lyceumite of March 1906 looks like almost all his other ads—a formal picture of himself. He may appear a bit stern, but he was an enormously effective speaker who also sang during some of his shows about the West. (A Grand Canyon slide suggests the kind of images he used.)
The Lyceumite’s uncompromising critic, Unkapupa, whose “cudgel and crown” logo is shown, summed up his appeal: “Mr. Brigham is the best illustrated lecturer I have ever heard. That’s strong, but true. He can make the average lecturer with illustrated accompaniment look like three dimes. . . I bow low to this gentleman of polished method.”
From 1896 to 1906 Brigham gave 2,000 lectures—that’s about 200 a year. If he was paid $100 a show (and he probably made more), he would have grossed $20,000 a year, or about $500,000 a year in today’s dollars.
Geil Draws Eight Thousand