Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cartes de Visite of Tom Thumb and Company

Mrs. Inez Koch donated several cartes de visite of Tom Thumb, his wife, and others who appeared with him in the 1800s, to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.  The picture above was originally sold by John W. Pittock of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Tom Thumb’s real name was Charles Sherwood Stratton. He was born to normal size parents, but as a youngster he stopped growing. In 1842, under the management of the famous theatrical promoter P.T. Barnum (a distant relative), he began a show business career as “Tom Thumb.” In 1863 Charles Sherwood Stratton married Lavinia Warren, who was also of short stature; the wedding was a major news story of the time. On their wedding trip, the couple met President Lincoln.

Between 1869 and 1872 George Washington Morrison Nutt, known as “Commodore Nutt” toured the world with Mr. and Mrs. Tom Thumb and Minnie Warren, the sister of “Mrs. Tom Thumb.”

Hewson Peeke wrote in his book A Standard History of Erie County that General Tom Thumb appeared at Norman Hall in Sandusky on April 27, 1869. When the General and his “troop of little folks” appeared in Cleveland in May of 1868, the Plain Dealer reported that Commodore Nutt was “the life of the whole party.” The article continued, “There is more fun and mischief in his little body than is usually allotted to a whole family.”  Mr. and Mrs. Tom Thumb and Commodore Nutt and Minnie Warren achieved fame and financial success in their interesting career. 

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