Photographs of General Tom Thumb and Wife, Commodore Nutt and Miss Minnie Warren

INVENTORY #125118

Photographs of General Tom Thumb and Wife, Commodore Nutt and Miss Minnie Warren

E. & H. T. Anthony

Regular price $200.00 Sale

Charles Sherwood Stratton (1838-1883), known by his stage name General Tom Thumb, was a 1.02 m dwarf who became a circus performer under P. T. Barnum. Stratton made his first tour of America under Barnum at the age of five, with routines that included impersonating characters such as Cupid and Napoleon Bonaparte as well as singing, dancing and comical banter. The connection with Barnum was life-long and Stratton eventually became Barnum's business partner. He was famous for his talent as well his small stature, so that over 20,000 people attended his funeral after he died of a stroke at age 45. Another diminutive American entertainer, George Washington Morrison Nutt (1848-1881), began working for Barnum in 1861 at the American Museum in New York. Barnum named him Commodore Nutt, dressed him in a pseudo-naval uniform, and placed him in a miniature carriage in the shape of an English walnut. The carriage, pulled by Shetland ponies, was driven around New York by George's brother Rodnia, who wasn't much taller than his younger sibling. Nutt fell in love with Lavinia Warren, another dwarf working at the museum. Unfortunately for Nutt, Barnum encouraged Lavinia to take Stratton, since Stratton was agreeable to marrying in a public ceremony that Barnum knew would make him a fortune. Thumb and Nutt are said to have had a fist fight over Lavinia, in which Nutt was beaten. Eventually, Nutt agreed to be best man at the wedding, although clearly disappointed not to be the groom. Lavinia married General Tom Thumb in a spectacular wedding arranged by Barnum in 1863. The "Fairy Wedding," as it was known, greatly amused Americans and gave them a welcome relief from the sorrows of the Civil War. Commodore Nutt toured the world between 1869 and 1872 with General and Mrs. Thumb and Minnie Warren, Lavinia's even smaller sister. In fact, Barnum suggested Nutt should marry Minnie but Nutt was by this time disillusioned with women and refused. As indicated by these photos, the couples' tour was successful, even if Nutt and Minnie's love life wasn't. The tour included visits to Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle and Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie in Paris. The entertainers returned to the U.S. rich beyond their wildest dreams. Nutt left Barnum's employ after a quarrel but was never as successful afterwards. He toured with a comic opera company, ran a variety show on the west coast, and operated saloons in Oregon and California before dying in 1881. In 1879 he had married Lillian Elston of California, who was bit shorter than most women but not a dwarf. She cried over his coffin at his funeral, calling him her "dear little boy."

Publication Info

  • Publisher: E. & H. T. Anthony
  • Edition: n/a
  • Date Published: ca. 1870s
  • Place Published: New York
  • ISBN: n/a

Details

  • Condition: Very good
  • Signed: No
  • Dust Jacket: No
  • Jacket Condition: n/a
  • Details:
    Two 10 cm x 6.5 cm photographs. Printed signatures on rear of Charles S. Stratton and Lavinia Warren Stratton, G. W. M. Nutt and Minnie Warren.

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