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Charles and Lavinia Stratton

Mathew Brady Studio, active 1844 - 1894
Chicago Albumen Works
Charles Sherwood Stratton, 4 Jan 1838 - 15 Jul 1883
Lavinia Warren Stratton, 31 Oct 1841 - 25 Nov 1919
c. 1860-1870 (printed later)
Modern albumen print from wet plate collodion negative
Image: 9.4 × 6.5 cm (3 11/16 × 2 9/16")
Sheet: 12.6 × 9.6 cm (4 15/16 × 3 3/4")
Mat: 35.6 × 28.1 cm (14 × 11 1/16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Frederick Hill Meserve Collection
Object number
Exhibition Label
A curious aspect of American cultural life during the Civil War era was the phenomenal popularity of a pair of diminutive performers-"Tom Thumb" and Lavinia Warren-who were recruited and marketed to the public by the "Prince of Humbug," P. T. Barnum. Charles Stratton stood just twenty-five inches tall when he debuted as "General Tom Thumb" at Barnum's American Museum in 1842. Taught by Barnum to sing, dance, and act, he toured extensively at home and abroad, earning a fortune for himself and his mentor. Stratton returned to Barnum's museum after several years' absence in 1862-the year that tiny Lavinia Warren joined Barnum's roster. Romance quickly blossomed between the pair. When they announced their plans to wed, Barnum capitalized on the engagement, reaping up to $3,000 per day in admissions from patrons who mobbed his museum to see the famous couple and also purchase their carte-de-visite portraits.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
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