Mimi Garneau

Martin Tenor Guitar owned by her


According to the Blue Book of Guitars: - similar to the Model 2-17 Second Version, except in four-string tenor configuration and two-per-side tuners, total production of 45 instruments, mfg. 1927-28.


Beautiful CF Martin Tenor Guitar with the original chipboard case, original grover tuners. The case definitely show signs of wear but still protects the guitar. The top has signs of wear through the finish which really gives it that antique look. It still looks and plays great. Also on the back of the heel, there is a hole where a strap button used to be. The neck is straight and the frets have very little wear. The bridge was reglued before I got the guitar and looks like a proper repair although there was a couple of glue drops inside the body if you look way in under the bridge. The tone is incredible. The serial number is 35872 which dates this guitar to 1928. There is some separation of the back and side near the lower bout on the treble side that you may want to reglue but I don't think it is worth doing at this time. It is stamped martin on the back of the headstock and inside of the guitar and the serial number is stamped on the inside on the neck block. Serial Number 35872. Look it up for yourself on the Martin site. There is a photo in the case supposedly of the original owner whose name was Mimi Garneau who was a sword swallower. VERY COOL!!!! Her name was written on the case also on a Oceanic Steamship Company Label , with the name of the ship "Mastonia" the destination "Honolulu, TH" and the Stateroom number "31"


The previous owner told me that he purchased this at an estate sale.


Leonardo's Music and Antiques in Micanopy, Florida. We just acquired a 1928 Martin tenor guitar (aka baritone uke) that belonged to Mimi Garneau. In conducting some research on Mi Mi I found your wonderful website. I was just wondering if you knew of any collector's or family members that would be interested in this. The guitar itself is very rare and very desirable to guitar collectors, as only 45 of this model were ever produced, but I wondered if sideshow collectors would be also be interested. Below is a link to the listing for the guitar as we are selling it immediately.


For more information,



Becky Hudson

Leonardo's Music and Antiques



Mimi Garneau was born as Hazel Jude Thomas in 1890 (also reported as 1894) near Phillipsburg, PA. The young woman learned to swallow swords and began performing under the name Jude by the late 1920s. She soon gained acclaim by becoming the first woman to swallow a neon sword. By the early 1930s Jude met her husband-to-be, Fred Garneau. It’s unknown why she eventually adopted the first name Mimi.

Garneau’s early sword swallowing career included performances with Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and with the Al G. Barnes, Sells-Floto, and Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey shows. In addition to guzzling steel, she also occasionally operated a flea circus and managed a sideshow.
The early 1940s proved to be

 a difficult period for Garneau. Her husband died in ‘41, and her son from a previous relationship, Billee Hamilton, was drafted into World War Two and killed in Sicily.

Garneau persevered and continued performing for several decades, and even made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Steve Allen in 1961. Toward the end of the ‘60s she finally hung up her swords. Garneau continued to perform with her flea circus, complete with specially designed props and real fleas. She traveled for several years with her talented parasites before finally retiring in the mid-1970s.

Garneau spent her final years in Tampa, FL, where she passed away on Feb. 22, 1986.


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