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:
In my online shopping peregrinations, I came across another Nellie Keeler CDV, so of course I had to add the second varietal to my collection. The captions have it that these are one year apart. Who knows the truth of such things, as so many facts about the circus freak sideshow performers were grossly exaggerated for dramatic effect.
Here is the first one I collected, for comparison:
And somewhat ironically, here is a larger size (roughly 5×7) Cabinet Card of a much larger woman, seated in front of the same dining room sideboard on which Nellie Keeler is posing. When I saw that, I had to grab it just for that cool factor of coincidence. I’d read a lot about how work of battlefield photographers could be connected if not identified by the use of the same backdrops, furniture and even prop weapons/uniforms in Civil War tintypes. While not exactly the same thing, this is my first instance of finding the same props in two different photos of two VERY different subjects by the same photographer.
And last but not least (well, maybe least, based on the factoids on the front of the card) is Admiral Dot – yet another Barnum embellishment with an exalted military rank for someone of restrained stature. A contemporary of General Tom Thumb, Commodore Nutt, Major Atom, Count Rosebud and Baron Littlefinger, he also performed in sideshows.
As the photographer is not credited, it may well have been one of the lesser-known New York studios specializing in the theatrical trade who was able to work a deal with Anthony to distribute their cards.