Tag Archives: General Cardenas

Subjects Identified

Three little people, by CD Fredricks
Three little people, by CD Fredricks

When I had previously posted this image, I stated that I didn’t know the identities of everyone, especially the little person on the right, although I had seen him before somewhere. Well, troll Ebay long enough and another image will show up. He’s Colonel Small. The other little man is Commodore Foote. I’m not certain of the identity of the little woman in the middle, but all three were Barnum performers.

I’m feeling a little bit like doing a review of the little people in my collection, so here goes nothing:

Miss Suzie Reed, by Brady
Miss Suzie Reed, by Brady
Major Littlefinger & Wife, by Eisenmann
Major Littlefinger & Wife, by Eisenmann
The Strattons, George Nutt and Minnie Warren in their Tuilieries outfits
The Strattons, George Nutt and Minnie Warren in their Tuilieries outfits
Unknown Little Person, H.B. Gerncore's Temple of Art
Unknown Little Person, H.B. Gerncore’s Temple of Art
Three little people, by CD Fredricks
Three little people, by CD Fredricks
Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, in middle age
Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, in middle age
The Thumbs, Commodore Nutt and Minnie Warren, as presented to the Queen
The Thumbs, Commodore Nutt and Minnie Warren, as presented to the Queen
Lavinia Warren Stratton Magri and the Magri Brothers, by Ollivier
Lavinia Warren Stratton Magri and the Magri Brothers, by Ollivier
Anonymous CDV, The Thumbs, at middle age
Anonymous CDV, The Thumbs, at middle age
Mr. Tower, by L.J. Hurd
Mr. Tower, by L.J. Hurd
Mr. Chas. Decker, by Henry Heyde
Mr. Chas. Decker, by Henry Heyde
The Thumbs, by the Stereoscopic Co of London
The Thumbs, by the Stereoscopic Co of London
Minnie Warren, by Brady
Minnie Warren, by Brady
Admiral Dot & Lottie Swartwood By Chas Eisenmann
Admiral Dot & Lottie Swartwood By Chas Eisenmann
General Cardenas, Anonymous Photographer
General Cardenas, Anonymous Photographer
Admiral Dot, published by Anthony, photographer unnamed
Admiral Dot, published by Anthony, photographer unnamed
Tom Thumb by C.D. Fredricks
Tom Thumb by C.D. Fredricks
The Magri Brothers with Lavinia Warren, ca. 1895
The Magri Brothers with Lavinia Warren, ca. 1895
Baron Littlefinger & Family
Baron Littlefinger & Family
Major S.E. Houghton
Major S.E. Houghton
Lavinia Warren Stratton, by C.D. Fredricks
Lavinia Warren Stratton, by C.D. Fredricks
Tom Thumb & Lavinia Warren - Walzl, Photographer, Baltimore
Tom Thumb & Lavinia Warren – Walzl, Photographer, Baltimore
Comic Actor by Gurney
Comic Actor by Gurney
The Rice Family, by J. Wood, The Bowery
The Rice Family, by J. Wood, The Bowery
Nellie Keeler, on Bogardus' Sideboard
Nellie Keeler, on Bogardus’ Sideboard
Tom Thumb and Minnie Warren, in their advancing years
Tom Thumb and Minnie Warren, in their advancing years
Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, by Masury of Boston
Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, by Masury of Boston
Admiral Dot, published by E&HT Anthony
Admiral Dot, published by E&HT Anthony
Nellie Keeler, by Bogardus
Nellie Keeler, by Bogardus
Sideshow Family, Aledo, Illinois
Sideshow Family, Aledo, Illinois
Waino and Plutano, The Wild Men of Borneo, by Eisenmann
Waino and Plutano, The Wild Men of Borneo, by Eisenmann
Major Atom, by Chas. Eisenmann
Major Atom, by Chas. Eisenmann
The Reception Dress, The Fairy Wedding
The Reception Dress, The Fairy Wedding
George Nutt & Minnie Warren, Groomsman & Bridesmaid
George Nutt & Minnie Warren, Groomsman & Bridesmaid
Tom Thumb, Wife and "child"
Tom Thumb, Wife and “child”
Bride & Groom, The Fairy Wedding
Bride & Groom, The Fairy Wedding
Lavinia Warren Stratton, Mrs. Tom Thumb
Lavinia Warren Stratton, Mrs. Tom Thumb
Fairy Wedding Group #3
Fairy Wedding Group #3
Commodore Nutt and unknown little woman, Anonymous CDV (probably Brady)
Commodore Nutt and unknown little woman, Anonymous CDV (probably Brady)
Commodore Nutt, Mrs. and Mr. Tom Thumb
Commodore Nutt, Mrs. and Mr. Tom Thumb
Brady's Fairy Wedding
The Fairy Wedding, 1863 E&HT Anthony print, Obverse
Nellie Keeler, by Bogardus
Nellie Keeler- by Bogardus

A Brace of Little People

A newly arrived pair of circus midgets – Admiral Dot and General Cardenas. The Admiral Dot image is not in the best of condition, but it’s a different photo than the one I already have, and for some reason there are certain little people images that are much more expensive than others – Admiral Dot and Che Mah the Chinese Dwarf being two among them. I have yet to find a Che Mah in a condition I’d like to have it in for less than $150, and I’ve been outbid twice now on nice ones. Dudly Foster is another one that seems to command high prices for some reason.

More on Admiral Dot, from showhistory.com:

Admiral Dot, was born Leopold Kahn in 1857(?). He was uncle of Samuel Kahn, “Major Atom”. In 1870, Phineas Taylor Barnum traveled with friends by train across the western United States. In San Francisco, a German named Gabriel Kahn offered the showman his dwarf son, Leopold. Barnum was quite taken with the little fellow, whom he said was “a dwarf more diminutive in stature than General Tom Thumb was when I found him.” Barnum promptly signed up Leopold under the new name of Admiral Dot, otherwise known as the the El Dorado Elf because he was such “a valuable nugget”.

As early as 1872, Barnum had already coined the phrase “The Greatest Show on Earth”, and now referrred to his circus as “P. T. Barnum’s Great Traveling World’s Fair”. At the time, Admiral Dot was touted as being sixteen years old, twenty-five inches tall, and a mere nineteen pounds. At least initially, Dot appeared on stage with his mother.

Admiral Dot’s career lasted for approximately the next twenty years, despite the fact that as he aged and grew taller he was soon eclipsed in size by smaller performers such as Major Atom, with whom he occasionally performed. Not one to rest on his laurels, Dot developed a stage persona that at one time saw him billed as “The Smallest Character Actor in the World”. During the 1880’s, Dot traveled with the Locke & Davis Royal Lilliputian Opera Company, which was populated by other famous little people such as the Magri Brothers and and Colonel Speck.

By the turn of the century, Leopold Kahn had settled in White Plains, New York, with his twenty-six-inch-tall wife Lottie Swartwood (a fellow performer in the opera company) and their two normal-sized children. Seeking respectability, Dot joined the Elks, sang with the town choir, and opened the Admiral Dot Hotel. The citizens of White Plains named the admiral honorary chief of the fire department, but unkindly referred to his business establishment as the Hotel Pee Wee (which, ironically, burned to the ground in 1911). Admiral Dot died of influenza in his home in White Plains on 28 October 1918, aged 54 years.

Admiral Dot, published by Anthony, photographer unnamed
Admiral Dot, published by Anthony, photographer unnamed

I couldn’t find any biographical references for General Cardenas – for all I know even the last name is fake and he was a Swede from Minneapolis and not hispanic at all. I’ll keep digging and see if I can find more about him. I did find a different photo of him on the Syracuse University online image library that looks like it was taken at the same time because his outfit is identical and the chair next to him appears the same, but its set in a faux-outdoors scene with a bunch of tufted grass around the chair.

General Cardenas, Anonymous Photographer
General Cardenas, Anonymous Photographer

I’ll include some of my other little people with faux-military titles for reference, starting with Major Atom.

Admiral Dot, published by E&HT Anthony
Admiral Dot, published by E&HT Anthony
Major Atom, by Chas. Eisenmann
Major Atom, by Chas. Eisenmann
Commodore Nutt and unknown little woman, Anonymous CDV (probably Brady)
Commodore Nutt and unknown little woman, Anonymous CDV (probably Brady)
Commodore Nutt, Mrs. and Mr. Tom Thumb
Commodore Nutt, Mrs. and Mr. Tom Thumb
Major S.E. Houghton
Major S.E. Houghton