The Early Days
As young men, Ed Liberty and his brother Henry experimented with operating seasonal, low-overhead amusements to supplement their wage work. They ran bowling alleys, shooting galleries, small animal acts, and storefront shows featuring arcade games, peep shows, and exhibitions of small animals. Tattooed performers and itinerant tattooers were staples of these homegrown entertainment venues.
Ed Liberty purportedly entered the tattoo trade after a tattooer working at a family-owned shooting gallery skipped town, leaving his electric tattooing kit behind. By 1919, Ed was commuting to Boston to tattoo wherever he could find cheap workspace.
Edward W. Liberty’s Shooting Gallery Target
Lowell, Massachusetts, c. 1915
Collection of Nora Liberty White