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10.7.07

Midget circus performers











The exhibition of freaks, monstrosities or marvels of nature were essential components of travelling circus exhibitions in Europe and America throughout the Victorian period. What was saleable as far as the freak was concerned was, of course, physical difference, in a form that was both marketable and palatable. The showman was an essential component and it was the relationship between the presenter and the exhibit that produced the freak show. The most popular attractions were oddities with extraordinary talents, who could do supposedly normal things despite their disabilities. Dwarf and midget exhibitors such as Major Mite, Harold Pyott (the English Tom Thumb) and Anita the Living Doll, followed in the example of Charles Stratton and became highly successful sideshow novelties.

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