Farini, Signor Guillermo Antonio
Archives of Ontario
77 Grenville Street, Unit 300
52 volumes of textual records 50 centimetres of textual records 48 photographs : black & white prints 22 photographs : black & white prints, mounted on cardboard 7 photographs : black & white prints, sepia toned 16 photographs : black & white pr
Signor Guillermo Antonio Farini (1838-1929) (also known as William Leonard Hunt) was a tightrope walker, circus impresario, explorer, author, painter, inventor, and businessman. Farini was born William Hunt in Lockport, New York, and moved with his parents to Port Hope, Ontario, while very young. There, he became interested in acrobatics and the circus at an early age, reputedly crossing the Ganaraska River on a tight rope. Eventually, he began to perform professionally and adopted the name Farini. In 1860, Farini performed for the first time at Niagara Falls, crossing the gorge via rope onto the deck of the Maid-of-the-Mist. His aerial partner was his adopted son, Lulu, who grew long blond hair and was featured as a female performer. In addition to his acrobatic feats, Farini brought the elephant Jumbo to North America and exhibited a hairy human from Laos, billed as Krao the Missing Link. Farini was also a published author. He took exploratory trips with Lulu to South Africa and published a memoir about these adventures, entitled Through the Kalihari (1886). He authored several other books including How to grow begonias (1897), reflecting his interest in botany. While interned in Germany during the First World War, Farini and his wife Anna (neé Müller) acted as translators, and Farini translated and transcribed daily war events from German newspapers. Farini was also an inventor, particularly of theatrical equipment, improvements to steam engines, and can-packing machines. He also invested in mining companies from around 1890 until the time of his death, including acting as second vice-president of the Rossland Gold Mining Development and Investment Company [ca. 1900]. Lastly, Farini was a painter and sculptor, whose works were exhibited with those of C.W. Jefferys and G.A. Reid in Toronto, 1908. Farini is said to have married several times, the last time in 1886 to Anna Müller (d. 1931), the daughter of a German aristocrat and an accomplished concert pianist who had been taught by Franz Liszt. Collection consists of the records documenting the career and life of G.A. Farini, as well as those of his wife, Anna (neé Müller) and other related records. Records were created or assembled by Margaret Brown, the housekeeper of Anna and executrix of her will, E.G. Nichol, a man involved with the sale of Anna Farini's estate and subsequent research into Farini's biography [ca. 1950], and A.J. Clement, a researcher who contributed the copy prints used by Farini in his publications. Collection includes: biographical sketches of G.A. Farini's career as a funambulist; G.A. Farini's personal files including legal documents, stock certificates, family photographs, and artwork; patents and specifications for G.A. Farini's inventions, including over 30 related technical drawings; G.A. Farini's published and unpublished writings including copies of several of his books; and 38 holograph notebooks containing German news information translated and transcribed by G.A. Farini during World War I. Collection also includes Anna Farini's records including personal correspondence, diaries, music-related documents, and legal documents. In addition, the collection includes records pertaining to the Farini's collected after their deaths including news clippings, correspondence, biographical sketches, and documents pertaining to the disposition of their estates.