Known as the "Marvel of the Twentieth Century" and "The Greatest Crowd Drawer in America," Dr. Key and Jim traveled across the nation teaching kindness to animals through their dynamic act. Through humane training methods, Doc Key was able to nurture Jim's natural abilities to read, write, spell, do math, tell time, sort mail, use a cash register and a telephone, cite Bible passages, and engage in political debate! In addition to these jaw-dropping feats performed in front of enormous crowds, Jim earned a reputation as a psychic when he predicted the marriage of President Teddy Roosevelt's daughter, Alice, to her male companion in the audience. How? When Jim was asked to spell her name, he did so but with the gentleman's last name! Their marriage would transpire in two years time.
The duo was seen by an estimated 10 million Americans and written about in every major newspaper. Fans collected his promotional pamphlets, souvenir buttons, postcards and photos, bought Beautiful Jim Key pennies, danced the "Beautiful Jim Key" two-step, wore Jim Key gold pinbacks in their collars, and competed in Beautiful Jim Key essay contests, while millions signed up to join and support humane groups around the country. Two million children joined the Jim Key Band of Mercy and signed his pledge, "I promise always to be kind to animals."
Jim at the Cash RegisterThe Tennessee State Library and Archives