Irma Herman
Sideshow Performer
Born: Buffalo, 1900

Born to Ophelia and Louis Kollmer. Irma had an older sister, Margaret, and two brothers, Edmond and Hubert. Edmond was the youngest, and died at age two from tetanus, when he fell on a stick and got a splinter of wood in his eye. Irma was always adventurous and high spirited. She was always getting into trouble. She could never sit still. She always had to be doing something so her parents sent her away to boarding school when she was thirteen. Margaret was content to read, and Hubert was shy.

Irma hated school but loved the music classes, and had aspirations of moving to New York and studying to be an opera singer. Her natural gift was music. She played the piano with great passion and had a style all her own. Irma could hear a song once and sit down at the piano and play it note for note. About a month before she graduated from boarding school she rekindled a relationship with a boy, Albert Herman, who was serving in the army. He had written her everyday from Europe. professing his love and desire to marry her. When he returned for a brief visit, he went to see Irma at school, concocted a plan, and they eloped. Irma never finished school, and let go of her dream of one day becoming an opera singer. She fulfilled her musical dream by playing piano in movie houses. Everyone would come to hear Irma play during the silent films at the local movie house.