Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Blondin, Emile Gravelet
BLONDIN, Emile Gravelet, funambulist, b. in St. Omer, France, 28 Feb., 1824; d. in London, Eng., 22 Feb., 1897. In 1855 he was engaged by William Niblo to perform with the Ravel troupe in New York, and was subsequently part proprietor of a circus. On 30 June, 1859, he accomplished the remarkable exploit of crossing the Niagara river on a tight rope, and afterward crossed with a man on his back, and performed similar feats in other parts of America and Europe. The rope on which he crossed, a short distance below the falls, at a height of 150 feet from the water, was 1,300 feet long and 3¼ inches in diameter.