Seeing the Elephant- By Carol Kammen
Published by the Tompkins County Historical Commission
"In the 19th century, the term 'seeing the elephant' was a way of saying that one had seen the sights, or gained experience greater than normally expected. Elephants were rare in North America, the first exhibited in the United States in 1796. In those days, a showman would tour the countryside with a single exotic animal in a rolling cage. According to an advertisement in The Ithaca Journal, Margaret the elephant visited Ithaca in June 1823, making me wonder what it would have been like to see such an unlikely creature in our quiet community. She and her keeper, who is not named in the newspaper, were most likely making their way from one central New York community to another, passing by Ithaca en route."
- Carol Kammen