The Mystery of Minerva – Iron Game History – April, 1990

For many years, the Guinness Book of World Records contained the following listing in its weightlifting section: “The greatest weight ever raised by a human being is 6,270 lb in a back lift…by the 364-lb Paul Anderson…The greatest by a woman is 3,564 lb with a hip and harness lift by Mrs. Josephine Blatt (nee Schauer) (US) (1869-1923) at the Bijou Theatre, Hoboken, N.J., on April 15, 1985.”1 While Anderson’s career has been well (though not always accurately) documented, Josephine Blatt—or “Minerva” as she was known to the vaudeville and circus audiences of the 1890s—has received scant attention from iron game historians.