On March 23, 1844, General Tom Thumb—just over two feet tall—was warmly received at Buckingham Palace by young Queen Victoria. As a talented performer with showman P.T. Barnum he became a wealthy international celebrity, and epitomized a turning point in 19th century entertainment, as polite society allowed themselves to be fascinated by so-called freaks of nature. John Woolf take a reflective, dignified look at how these remarkable individuals—many of them marginalized and forgotten—were exploited in the context of show business, celebrity, and promotion, while also considering how their fame could at times empower them.
The Wonders: Lifting the Curtain on the Freak Show, Circus and Victorian Age
Author: John Woolf.