Billed as the “Thinnest Man in the World,” Harry V. Lewis stood 5 feet, 7 1/2 inches and weighed 80 pounds. He didn’t always hold such a title. Born in 1895 in Leon, Iowa, Lewis was a normal boy until the age of 12. That was when he began to notice weakness in his shoulders and hips. Doctors diagnosed him with a juvenile form of muscular dystrophy. Photo courtesy of the collection of Milo Anthony and Cristina Boothe
Samuel David "Sam" Parks was born on October 20, 1874 in Boston, although he would later change his birthplace to the much more exotic Rio de Janeiro. Parks made his sideshow debut at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and made a healthy living exhibiting himself to medical students before joining up with the Barnum and Bailey circus around the turn of the century.
Mignon was born in the early 1900′s, likely around 1910, with a condition called phocomelia. Phocomelia typically results in the stunting of limbs and the fusion of digits. In Mignon’s case her fingers were fused in such a way as to resemble flippers. Furthermore, as her truncated limbs forced Mignon to waddle rather than walk – her stage name of ‘The Penguin Lady’ was both apt and easily assigned.
Young Francesco Lentini ~ "When his parents refused to acknowledge him, his aunt raised him...eventually handed him...to a home for disabled children...Lentini had hated his extra body parts until he spent time at the home...he met children who were deaf, blind, and mute...learned to walk, ice skate...jump rope. At the age of 8, Lentini moved to the U.S. and entered the sideshow business...he toured with Barnum and Bailey and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show...gained US citizenship at...30" (wiki)
1838, Tom Thumb was born Charles Stratton. He was 5 yrs old, 25 in. tall and 16 lbs. when discovered by P. T. Barnum in 1842. In 1863 Tom Thumb married Lavinia Bump. The baby seen in photographs was not the child of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Thumb, they were unable to have children. The child was an orphan acquired by Barnum, and billed as Tom and Lavinia's child. As the child quickly outgrew the parents, Barnum would rent a local child to pose as the baby of the couple in each town they performed in.
"The (Original) Wild man of Borneo" Zachariah Thomas Mackey Hargis was featured in a lot of sideshows for various circuses and carnivals. He was once the original P T Barnum's "Wild Man of Borneo" but after a falling out he left. Unfortunately he is not mentioned in the museum today because his replacement stayed with the circus and was given the title. (late 1800s-early 1900s)
Liliputians cabinet card photographed by Pach Bros. Midget/ Dwarf Troup of performers or Little People as they are now known. At the bottom of card it is noted that they where in the Pupil in Magic which I believe was a play., but many of them worked as sideshow performers in the circus. Available at CrowCreekUnique on ETSY