CDV OF TOM THUMB & WIFE

$35.00

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Item Code: 172-4838

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CDV is a waist-up view of Charles Sherwood Stratton (January 4, 1838 – July 15, 1883), better known by his stage name "General Tom Thumb", a dwarf who achieved great fame as a performer under circus pioneer P.T. Barnum, and his wife Mercy Lavinia Warren Stratton (née Bump, October 31, 1842 – November 25, 1919), an American proportionate dwarf, who was also a circus performer.

Image is clear and the contrast is good. Surface has some light dirt from age. Image has yellowed with time.

Reverse does not have a photographer’s imprint.

Together, the couple became famous and their marriage was front-page news. The elaborate wedding took place on February 10, 1863 at Grace Episcopal Church and the wedding reception was held at New York City's Metropolitan Hotel. The couple stood atop a grand piano at the reception to greet some 10,000 guests. While admission to the actual wedding was free, Barnum sold tickets to the reception for $75 each to the first five thousand to apply. Following the wedding, the couple was received and given a reception by President Lincoln at the White House. Tiffany & Co. gave the couple a silver coach. Stratton and his wife toured together in Europe as well as British India. Under Barnum's management, Stratton became a wealthy man. The couple owned a house in the fashionable part of New York and a steam yacht, had a wardrobe of fine clothes, and also owned a specially adapted home on one of Connecticut's Thimble Islands. They would have been millionaires by today’s standards. When Barnum got into financial difficulty, Stratton bailed him out. Later, they became business partners. Stratton made his final appearance in England in 1878.

On January 10, 1883, the couple was staying at the Newhall House in Milwaukee when 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. Six months after surviving the Newhall House fire, Stratton died unexpectedly of a stroke. He was 45 years old, 3.35 ft. tall and weighed 71 lbs. Over 20,000 people attended the funeral. P. T. Barnum purchased a life-sized statue of Tom Thumb and placed it as a grave stone at Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The Stratton’s had one child, a daughter, who died at an early age and is buried in Earlham Road Cemetery, Norwich, Norfolk, England. Two years after her husband's death, Lavinia married an Italian dwarf, Count Primo Magri, and they operated a famous roadside stand in Middleborough, Massachusetts. At age 73, she appeared alongside Count Magri in a 1915 silent film, The Lilliputian's Courtship. When she died more than 35 years later, Lavinia Warren was interred next to her first husband with a simple grave stone that read: "His Wife".  [sm]

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