Library Collections: Document: Full Text

Sketch Of The Life, Personal Appearance, Character And Manners Of Charles S. Stratton, The Man In Miniature, Known As General Tom Thumb, And His Wife, Lavinia Warren Stratton; Including The History Of Their Courtship And Marriage, With Some Account Of Remarkable Dwarfs, Giants, & Other Human Phenomena, Of Ancient And Modern Times, And Songs Given At Their Public Levees

Creator: n/a
Date: 1863
Publisher: Press of Wynkoop & Hallenbeck, New York
Source: Robert Bogdan Collection
Figures From This Artifact: Figure 1  Figure 2  Figure 3  Figure 4  Figure 5  Figure 6  Figure 7  Figure 8  Figure 9  Figure 10  Figure 11  Figure 12


This pamphlet, published to promote the careers of Charles Stratton and Lavinia Warren, was probably written by P.T. Barnum himself. It describes two of the most famous events in the life of Charles Stratton, his meetings as a child with Queen Victoria in 1844 and his wedding to Lavinia Warren almost twenty years later. Not included here is a long list of the wedding presents received by Charles Stratton and Lavinia Warren by the members of New York City’s social elite. Pamphlets like this were an important form of advertising in the nineteenth century, and this one could be bought as a souvenir by audiences who came to see Stratton and Warren perform in venues around the world.

Next Page   All Pages 

Page 1:



RECEIVING, with an historical eye, the record of mankind, from the days of Eden to those of the Nineteenth Century, we meet with nearly an undeviating average of human size; and so little variableness has been found that we might consider the dimensions of our race, as far as height, size, and proportion are concerned, as approximating an almost universal standard, regarding striking and casual deviations from the usual mutations of mind and matter as only exceptions to the general rule. The mummies of Egypt -- the bones dug out of Indian mounds -- the relics of antiquated religious houses, and the remains found on battle-fields of only a few years' notoriety -- all exhibit the average height of the human species as six feet. We read in sacred history of the existence of a race of giants, before the flood, which afflicted the earth with carnage and conflict. The history of David has made every child familiar with that of his enemy, Goliath of Gath. Saul, King of Israel, was a head taller than the tallest captain of his hosts. One Roman Emperor attained the stature of nearly eight feet. In later days, we hear of O'Brien, the Irish giant, who was eight feet four inches in height; and M. Louis, the French giant, seven feet one inch in height. The Patagonians and inhabitants of Terra del Fuego, are said to average six feet nine inches in height. On the other hand, those who have failed to attain to the usual stature, and have fallen much under it, have also proved exceptions to the general law; and these instances, though, perhaps, not so numerous as the added size, have been far from few. As there were nations of giants, so there have been, and are, communities of dwarfs and pigmies. Ancient history speaks of a nation of pigmies in Thrace, only eighteen inches in height. The Esquimax are generally less than five feet in height, and the Laplanders scarcely average four feet. Dwarfs were in great demand among the ancient Romans, and were called Nadi or Nance. The wife of the Emperor AUGUSTUS had a dwarf named SONOPAS, who was two feet ten inches in height. In later days, we read of Geoffrey Hudson, a remarkable dwarf, eighteen inches high, and a great favorite with Charles I.; a Polish gentleman, Count Browlaski, who, at twenty years of age, was three feet high. Wybrand Solkes and Mlle. Teresia are also well known in Europe. Major Stevens, the first American dwarf exhibited, was forty inches in height. Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Stratton next claim public attention, all other dwarfs, in height and proportion, being far their inferiors, excepting, perhaps, the famous "$80,000" Commodore Nutt. (1)

(1) So called because that is the sum said to have been paid for his services for three years by P. T. Barnum.


GENERAL TOM THUMB, As he is best known, but whose real name is CHARLES S. STRATTON, was born in the town of Bridgeport, Connecticut, U. S. A., on the 4th day of January, 1838. His parents were persons about whom there existed no peculiarity, either in mental or physical organization. At his birth, the General (for so he has been styled by the united voices of his thousands of friends and admirers) weighed nine pounds and a half -- which is rather above the usual weight of children at birth -- so that he bid fair to become, indeed was, a bouncing boy. He grew, daily, like other children, until he attained the age of eighteen months, when Nature put a veto on his further upward progress, and ordered him forever afterwards to remain in statu quo. When he was two years old persons fancied that he had not grown an inch for some time: measures (tape ones) were resorted to for the purpose of ascertaining his stationary condition; but although in every other respect he improved with rapidity, not a hair's breadth was added to his stature. That he was no longer -- no shorter -- no heavier, but much handsomer, was accredited to him by every one. His appetite increased, although his stomach refused to grow larger; he never complained of sickness, but partook freely of the ordinary food, enjoyed refreshing sleep, and has always exhibited perfect health, with the exception of those slight colds to which the most robust are liable. His parents have had three other children, who are of the ordinary size. In fact, there is nothing in his history or appearance, or in that of his family, which furnishes the slightest clue to the astonishing phenomena which are presented by his miniature features and frame. After a suitable training, beneath the personal supervision of Mr. Barnum, he was introduced to the public, at Barnum's Museum, where throngs attended his levees. In January, 1844, he sailed for Europe, first appearing in Liverpool. Proceeding to London, he was patronized by the haut ton of that metropolis. Queen Victoria invited him to Buckingham Palace, where his lively good nature secured him instant success, and resulted in a second royal command, upon which occasion he was presented to the Prince of Wales and the Royal Family.

Next Page

Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12    All Pages