Tag Archives: Waino and Plutano

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 Day at the Circus!

Here are some more of my circus freaks/performers collection. We’re going to start our tour of the circus in the sideshow, where P.T. Barnum was a busy man – he collected strange people from all over the world, and when he couldn’t find them from afar, he invented foreign origins for them!

Waino and Plutano(r), the Wild Men of Borneo, were actually brothers born in Ohio with physical and mental developmental challenges. As you can see in the photo, even in adulthood, they were pygmy sized. They did however possess considerable strength for their size, and were known to lift up to 300 pounds. Their real names were Hiram and Barney Davis (no relation!). They were a huge success in Barnum’s circus and over a 25 year career in show business spanning from 1880 to 1905, they earned $200,000, a gigantic sum in that day and age.

Waino and Plutano, The Wild Men of Borneo, by Eisenmann
Waino and Plutano, The Wild Men of Borneo, by Eisenmann

As you can see, this was yet another carte by Chas. Eisenmann, who specialized in photographing theater people and performers. I love the Victorian era advertising slogans – “Portraits taken by Instantaneous Process – Extra Inducements to the Theatrical Profession” on this carte, and on another one I have by him, it shows a photographer striding the globe, with “The Popular Photographer” inscribed below. It’s too bad the carte-de-visite tradition died out; there’s nothing quite like it today in terms of marketing and character.

Next up, also in the sideshow, is the fat lady. Why this particular display was so popular, I’ll never quite understand. I don’t think the fat ladies sang or had any particular performing talent – they were just fat. I think it would have to have been one of the most humiliating experiences in the sideshow, to be looked at that way. At least in the other circus freak cases like the human skeleton or the midgets, they had little or no other viable employment options.

This image is an E&H.T. Anthony publication, with no credit given as to the photographer. The image has the Anthony blind stamps in the corners, and what appears in the scan to even be a fingerprint, possibly of the person who printed and mounted it. It is a breathtakingly beautiful carte in person, and I would suspect that it is probably a Brady carte, given that Anthony owned the Brady negatives for many years, and served as Brady’s publisher/distributor. The lady appears to be Madame Sherwood, a famous fat lady in Barnum’s circus. She also bears a vague resemblance to another fat lady I have, this one from the Brady studio in Washington DC. I don’t think the Brady image is the same woman, but it’s possible.

Madam Sherwood, on an E&H.T. Anthony CDV
Madam Sherwood, on an E&H.T. Anthony CDV

The Brady image:

Circus Fat Lady by Mathew Brady, Washington DC
Fat Lady, Matthew Brady Studio, Washington, DC

Moving under the big top, we have the acrobats! Here is a trio of boy tumblers/high-wire walkers/trapeeze artists. They look very much like the two I have in another cdv, which I’ll post again here for ease of comparison. If they are the same brothers, then the third one’s name is a mystery to me – the first pair appears to be the O’Brien brothers, but in my research, they were only ever a duo, and their father died fairly young as a result of injuries sustained in a circus accident.

Trio of Boy Acrobats, by Drew & Maxwell
Trio of Boy Acrobats, by Drew & Maxwell - possibly the O'Briens?
Circus Siblings, Gurney & Son, New York
Circus Siblings, Gurney & Son, New York