ca. 1885, [Carte-de-visite portrait of ‘Major Tot’ standing on a prop column and wall next to a man of average height in front of a painted backdrop], J. R. Babcock

 Major Tot’s actual name was Pierre Albert Poitras, born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts in 1869. He was hired by P.T. Barnum and billed as “The world’s smallest perfectly developed man.” He eventually grew to a height of 3.5 feet, weighed ninety pounds and wore a child’s size 5 shoe. His father is said to have transported him to engagements in a 14” satchel. Text on the back reads, “Big Success Everywhere! Of Major Tot, The Wonderful Human Midget! Age 16 Yrs, Weight Only 10.5 Lbs.”

via the Wisconsin Historical Society

ca. 1885, [Carte-de-visite portrait of ‘Major Tot’ standing on a prop column and wall next to a man of average height in front of a painted backdrop], J. R. Babcock

Major Tot’s actual name was Pierre Albert Poitras, born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts in 1869. He was hired by P.T. Barnum and billed as “The world’s smallest perfectly developed man.” He eventually grew to a height of 3.5 feet, weighed ninety pounds and wore a child’s size 5 shoe. His father is said to have transported him to engagements in a 14” satchel. Text on the back reads, “Big Success Everywhere! Of Major Tot, The Wonderful Human Midget! Age 16 Yrs, Weight Only 10.5 Lbs.”

via the Wisconsin Historical Society

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite portrait of a circus performer], I. W. Taber & Company
via the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Carl Mautz Collection

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite portrait of a circus performer], I. W. Taber & Company

via the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Carl Mautz Collection

ca. 1870, [carte de visite portrait of three circus performers, billed as the “Murray Midgets”, and a woman], Charles Eisenmann
via Ebay

ca. 1870, [carte de visite portrait of three circus performers, billed as the “Murray Midgets”, and a woman], Charles Eisenmann

via Ebay

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite portrait of a gentleman of slight stature  in military dress], John A. Winberg
via the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Carl Mautz Collection

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite portrait of a gentleman of slight stature in military dress], John A. Winberg

via the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Carl Mautz Collection

ca. 1881, [carte de visite portrait of Lucia Zarate], the London Stereoscopic Co.

Lucia Zarate was genuinely one of the smallest human beings ever recorded…During her period in London she appeared before Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace on February 26, 1881.
Handwritten on verso:  “Greatest Wonder of the Age! Señorita Lucia Zarate, This young lady is 18 years of age, and weighs only 4¾ pounds. Is perfect in form and feature.” 

via the Museum of the History of Science

ca. 1881, [carte de visite portrait of Lucia Zarate], the London Stereoscopic Co.

Lucia Zarate was genuinely one of the smallest human beings ever recorded…During her period in London she appeared before Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace on February 26, 1881.

Handwritten on verso:  “Greatest Wonder of the Age! Señorita Lucia Zarate, This young lady is 18 years of age, and weighs only 4¾ pounds. Is perfect in form and feature.”

via the Museum of the History of Science

"Until the handkerchief of history covers us with its Times New Roman black and white post script..."

This blog is a collection of vernacular photography and ephemera focused mainly within the curious and often misunderstood realm of 19th century America. I have a soft spot for all things silly, antiquated, macabre, and grotesque. The content is from a variety of collections; public, academic, and private. In addition, there's an occasional emphasis on Ulysses S Grant and the Civil War, as well.

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