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Clementina Starr

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Clementina Starr
BornClementine Starr
circa 1858

Clementina Starr (c.1858-?) was one of the first female escape artists and was mentioned in a June 19, 1899 article of the Denver Evening Post as baffling the local police. She discovered a way to unlock locks, especially handcuffs and leg-irons.


Clementina grew up on farms around Marshalltown, Iowa. She may have performed in museums, small vaudeville theaters, burlesque or touring companies. An ornate letterhead in one of Houdini’s scrapbooks includes Clementine “You Cannot Keep Her Handcuffed”

In June of 1902, she was headlined a vaudeville company playing at Colorado Springs where she also did a challenge handcuff escape at the sheriff’s office to publicize the show.

A “Ventia Starr”, with her handcuff mysteries appeared for a week beginning August 24, 1903 at Denver’s Rocky Mountain Lake, could have been Clementine’s daughter.

Clementine would eventually settle in Colorado Springs, owning and managing a farm outside the city. She would later show up in the 1920 Census owning a farm in Jasper, Texas. [1]