Midget Mrs. Tom Thumb arrives in Seattle for four performances on June 23 and 24, 1892.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 2/22/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 902
On June 23 and 24, 1892, Mrs. Tom Thumb (Lavinia Warren, 1841-1918) and her "celebrated troupe of dwarfs" are in Seattle for four performances. Mrs. Thumb, Count Magri and his twin brother, Baron Magri, and a number of other Lilliputians along with some taller people present two musical sketches at the Seattle Opera House. Mrs. Tom Thumb is just 32-inches high.

In 1862, Mrs. Thumb was hired by P. T. Barnum to perform in New York City at his American Museum, a museum that exhibited a collection of curiosities. The following year she married the 40-inch-high dwarf General Tom Thumb, the stage name of Charles Stratton (1838-1883), who had begun working for P. T. Barnum in 1842. In 1885, two years after General Tom Thumb died of a stroke, Mrs. Tom Thumb married Count Primo Magri, an Italian midget. She retained her original stage name after she married the Count.

Mrs. Thumb, Count Magri, and his twin brother, Baron Magri, and a number of other Lilliputians along with some taller people presented two musical sketches at the Seattle Opera House located at 4th Avenue on the southwest corner of Jefferson Street. The sketches were The Rivals and Gulliver Among the Lilliputians which combined music, comedy, dancing, and pantomime.

The taller members of the cast were Victor Lee, a sleight-of-hand performer or juggler and mesmerizer, and Charles H. Clark and Miss Florence McMahon, singers. At one point in the performance, Mrs. Thumb rode onto stage in a miniature carriage and miniature ponies that had been presented to her by British Queen Victoria. Mrs. Tom Thumb's "dresses are rich and beautiful and the number of diamond ornaments that weigh her down would arouse the envy of a pawnbroker's wife. ... The little lady sings and talks in a piping voice, her tiny mouth being scarce large enough to emit the sounds clearly" (Seattle Press-Times).

After the matinee on June 24, all were invited to a reception, where they could meet the Lilliputians and shake their hands.

Sources: The Seattle Telegraph, June 24, 1892 p. 5; Seattle Press-Times, June 24, 1892 p. 3; The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 19, 1892 p. 13; Ibid., June 23, 1892 p. 5.

Related Topics:   Celebrities | Curiosities | Theater & Dance | Women's History

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