c1881 General Tom Thumb & Wife Signed Charles S Stratton & Photo - P T Barnum - For Sale
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c1881 General Tom Thumb & Wife Signed Charles S Stratton & Photo - P T Barnum -:
The two autographs are 100% original and genuine --- as is the Vintage Photo -- the photo is not signed ---General Tom ThumbCharles Sherwood Stratton and Lavinia Warren wedding photo. From left to right:George Washington Morrison Nutt(1844–81), Charles Sherwood Stratton (1838–83),Lavinia Warren Warren(1849–78).BornCharles Sherwood Stratton
January 4, 1838
United StatesDiedJuly 15, 1883(aged45)
United StatesCauseof deathStrokeResting placeMountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport,Connecticut
41.17189°N 73.22465°WNationalityUnited cm (3.25ft)Weight32 kg (71lb)Spouse(s)Lavinia Warren(m.1863 - 1883)
Charles Sherwood Stratton(January 4, 1838 – July 15, 1883), better known by hisstage name"General Tom Thumb", was adwarfwho achieved great fame as a performer Barnum.
Stratton was the son of aBridgeport, Connecticut, carpenter named Sherwood Edward Stratton, son of Seth Sherwood Stratton and Amy Sharpe. Sherwoodmarried his first cousinCynthia Thompson, daughter of Joseph Thompson and Mary Ann Sharpe. Charles Stratton's maternal and paternal grandmothers, Amy and Mary Ann Sharpe, were allegedly small twin girls born on July 11, 1781/83 in Oxford, New Haven, Connecticut.
Born in Bridgeport to parents who were of medium height, ironically Charles was a relatively large baby, weighing 9pounds 8ounces (4.3kg) at birth.He developed and grew normally for the first six months of his life, at which point he was 25 inches (64cm) tall and weighed 15 pounds (6.8kg). Then he suddenly stopped growing. His parents became concerned when, after his first birthday, they noticed he had not grown at all in the previous six months. They showed him to their doctor, who said there was little chance Charles would ever reach normal height.
By late 1842 (4 years old), Stratton grew only one inch from when he was six months old. Apart from this, he was a totally normal, healthy child, with several siblings who were of average size.Adoption by BarnumCirca 1861
Phineas T. Barnum, a distant relative (half fifthcousin,twice removed), heard about Stratton and after contacting his parents, taught the boy how to sing, dance, mime, and impersonate famous people. Barnum also went into business with Stratton's father, who died in 1855. Stratton made his first tour of America at the age of five, with routines that included impersonating characters such asCupidandNapoleon Bonaparteas well as singing, dancing and comical banter with another performer who acted as astraight man. It was a huge success and the tour expanded.
A year later, Barnum took young Stratton on a tour ofEurope, making him an international celebrity.Stratton appeared twice beforeQueen Victoria. He also met the three-year-oldPrince of Wales, who would becomeKing Edward VII. In 1845, he triumphed at theThéâtre du Vaudeville (France)in the playLe petit The tour was a huge success, with crowds mobbing him wherever he went. After his three-year tour in Europe, Stratton began his rise to superstardom in the United States. Stratton’s fame grew at an astonishing rate, and his popularity and celebrity surpassed that of any actor within his lifetime.
On his return home from his second tour in 1847, aboard the "SS Cambria", he attracted the attention of the explorerJohn Palliserwho "was not a little surprised, on entering the state-cabin, to hear the most unnatural shrill little pipe exclaiming, “Waiter! bring me aWelsh rabbit”.During the voyage, General Tom Thumb contributed to a collection for the relief offamine victims in Ireland.
Stratton’s first performances in New York marked a turning point in the history of freak show entertainment. Prior to Stratton’s debut, the presentation of ‘human curiosities’ for the purpose of entertainment was deemed dishonorable and seen as an unpleasing carnival attraction. However, after viewers were introduced to Stratton and performances, he was able to change the perception people held toward freak shows. Stratton’s lively and entertaining performances made these types of carnival shows one of the most favored forms of theatrical entertainment in the United States.
From the age of seven, Stratton performed in grand full-length fairytale melodramas under the management of P.T. Barnum. A few of the melodramas that Stratton performed were “Hop O’ My Thumb” and the “Seven League Boots”. In these melodramas, Stratton was assigned the title role, which he played on multiple occasions. While Barnum sought to capitalize on Stratton’s small stature, he also aimed to highlight and showcase his many true gifts as a performer. For example, Stratton was noted to be clever in his acts. In addition, he was a talented actor, singer, dancer and comedian.As a result, certain dramatic critics did not focus on comparing his skills to those of the freak show community of which he was a member.Instead, critics judged him on his merits as a professional entertainer.
In 1846 he started to grow for the first time since the first few months of his life, but extremely slowly. In January 1851 Stratton stood exactly 2feet 5inches (74cm) tall. On his 18th birthday, he was measured at 2feet 8.5inches (82.6cm) tall. On his 21st birthday he was 86cm tall. Stratton became aFreemasonon October 3, 1862. Stratton, by now 2feet 11inches (89cm) tall, was initiated to be a Freemason alongside a man who was 6feet 3inches (191cm).Marriage and later lifeThe wedding couple as they appeared on the February 21, 1863 cover ofHarper's Weeklymagazine.
His marriage in 1863 with a little person,Lavinia Warren, became front-page news. The wedding took place atGrace Episcopal Churchand the wedding reception was held atNew York City'sMetropolitan Hotel. The couple stood atop agrand pianoat the reception to greet some 10,000 guests. Thebest manat the wedding wasGeorge Washington Morrison ("Commodore") Nutt, another dwarf performer in Barnum's employ. The maid of honor wasMinnie Warren, Lavinia's even smaller sister. Following the wedding, the couple was received byPresident Lincolnat theWhite House. Stratton and his wife toured together in Europe as well as British India, in particular the area that would later become Bangladesh.
Under Barnum's management, Stratton became a wealthy man. He owned a house in the fashionable part of New York[where?]and asteam yacht, and he had a wardrobe of fine clothes. He also owned a specially adapted home on one of Connecticut'sThimble Islands.When Barnum got into financial difficulty[yearneeded], Stratton bailed him out. Later, they became business partners. Stratton made his final appearance in England in 1878.
On January 10, 1883, Stratton was staying atJohn F. Antisdel'sNewhall House inMilwaukeewhen a fire broke out, which Milwaukee historian John Gurda would call "one of the worst hotel fires in American history". More than 71 people died, but Tom and Lavinia were saved by their manager, Sylvester Bleeker.Death and LegacyStratton's grave at Mountain Grove Cemetery.
Six months after surviving the Newhall House fire, Stratton died unexpectedly of astroke. He was 45 years old, 102 centimetres (3.35ft) tall and weighed 32 kilograms (71lb). Over 20,000 people attended the funeral.P. T. Barnumpurchased a life-sized statue of Tom Thumb and placed it as a grave stone atMountain Grove CemeteryinBridgeport, Connecticut.When she died more than 35 years later, Lavinia Warren was interred next to him with a simple grave stone that read: "His Wife".
In 1959, vandals smashed the statue of Tom Thumb. It was restored by the Barnum Festival Society and Mountain Grove Cemetery Association with funds raised by public subscription.
The cause of Stratton's extreme shortness is still unknown.X-rayswere not discovered until 1895, 12 years after Stratton's death, and the medical techniques of the day were unable to ascertain the pathology underlying his diminutive size.
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