Before there were the Leamy Ladies, there were the Ongar Sisters. And before there were the Ongar Sisters, there were the Vaidis Twins, Louisa and Lizzie, two sisters, though not twins, who had been performing since they had learned to walk. Edward J. Leamy took over management of the sisters in 1876, after their father was killed in a fall while removing the girls rigging from the roof of the Chicago Coliseum.
Like the Leamy troupe, who would succeed them, the Vaidis Twins was an aerial act. It incorporated gymnastics, acrobatics, trapeze work and contortion. The pixyish appearance of the girls, their acrobatic daring and their cockney charm (the family was English) enchanted audiences and the press. They were well received everywhere they appeared.
In 1880, the Vaidis Twins scored a big hit when they introduced the revolving trapeze at the Folies Bergère in Paris. But it was a bitter dispute over the ownership of the revolving trapeze that would end the act’s relationship with Leamy in 1886. The act would continue to perform around the world with great success for two decades after its independence from Leamy. Leamy would continue to promote female aerial acts, eventually introducing the Leamy Troupe in 1894.