Birth Defects, Deformities, Limbless Oddities

30205.

John Babtista dos Santos of Faro, Portugal. His condition is described as Ischiopagus dipygus. See NYS Journal of Medicine, Nov. 1979, p. 1933 in Early Medical Photography in America by Stanley Burns.

30323.

Twins born with right leg missing in circus, written on verso.

30324.

Eli Bowen. Partial tax stamp on verso.

30325.

Master Eli Bowen now on Exhibition with Norman’s Museum. Tax stamp on verso.

30326.

Eli Bowen, The wonderful Man with feet but no legs. Also Mrs. Eli Bowen.

30327.

Eli Bowen, Wife and Child.

30328.

Eli Bowen, Wife and Child.

30329.

Eli Bowen, Wife and Child.

30330.

Written on verso “G.F. Spence Elizabethtown Ky. Chas. B. Tripp, Born in Woodstock, Ontario. Age 25 yrs.” This is written by Tripp with his feet.

30331.

Written on verso “Lydia Thomas, Lamartine, Wis. Chas. B. Tripp, Woodstock, Ontario. Age 28 yrs.” Written by Tripp with his feet.

30332.

Written on verso “Mrs. Lydia Brignell, Flint Mich. Chas. B. Tripp, Woodstock, Ontario. Age 28 yrs.” Written by Tripp with his feet.

30333.

Walter H. Stuart, Boston, Mass. Age 34, 1885.

30334.

George Williams, “Turtle Boy,” born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, 1859. He’s actually 21 years old in the photo. George was an accomplished player of the harmonica, drums, flute and panpipes. In 1889, at Worth’s Palace Museum, he was presented with a silver-mounted banjo by his fellow performers. Towards the turn of the century, George owned a 160-acre farm near Wheaton, Illinois. He made his living traveling from small town to small town with his manager, Willis Clark, exhibiting himself in vacant buildings. He spent his later years on the freak show circuit as “King Dodo” from the Fiji Islands.

30335.

Barney Nelson, Armless Boy, age 8.

30336.

Prince Randian (sometimes misspelled Rardion or Randion; 10/12/1871 – 12/19/1934), aka The Snake Man, The Human Torso, The Human Caterpillar and a variety of other names, was a Guyanese-born American performer with tetra-amelia syndrome and a famous limbless sideshow performer of the early 1900s, best known for his ability to roll cigarettes with his lips. He was reportedly brought to the U.S. by P.T. Barnum in 1889, age 18 and was a popular Coney Island carnival and circus attraction for 45 years. Prince Randian (credited “Rardion”) was featured in the 1932 film Freaks, his only film appearance, in which he is seen lighting up a cigarette with a match. Randian (whose birth name is unknown) was born with no arms and legs in Demerara, British Guyana. He was a Hindu and spoke Hindi, English, French, and German. With his wife, known as Princess Sarah (apparently a Hindu woman, born circa 1872), he fathered three daughters and a son. In the 1920s he was working for Krause Amusement Company and lived in Plainfield, New Jersey. Later he and his wife lived in Paterson, New Jersey, until his death. For his act, Randian wore a one-piece wool garment that fit tightly over his body, giving him the appearance of a caterpillar, snake or potato, and would move himself around the stage by wiggling his hips and shoulders. His best-known ability was rolling and lighting cigarettes using only his lips, but he was also capable of painting and writing by holding a brush or stylus with his lips and of shaving himself by securing a razor in a wooden block. He kept all of the props and materials used in his act in a wooden box that he reportedly constructed, painted and affixed a lock to by himself. His cigarette-lighting ability was featured in the MGM film Freaks. Randian died on December 19, 1934, aged 63, of a heart attack shortly after his last performance at Sam Wagner’s 14th Street Museum in New York.

30337.

Lucius Norval Monroe was born into slavery on January 29, 1847 on a plantation in Virginia. A normal child at first, he began to suffer a “strange disease” of the left leg when he was eight years old. Within two years his condition “took possession of his right foot” as well. The disease was probably what we now call fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva; to this day, there remains no cure for it. Fully grown, the ossified man weighed but sixty-seven pounds and it was said that his limbs “ring like metal when struck”. It’s unclear exactly when Lucius entered show business, but  by 1889, he’d already made a career for himself as a dime museum freak, competing directly with New York-born ossified man Jonathan Bass. Accompanying Lucius on exhibition were his faithful valet Mose (James Vanderhoo), and his manager Charles Smith, both of whom are shown in this photo,. Mose and Smith were charged with carrying the bedridden celebrity either in arms or on a litter. In 1891, while appearing at a museum in New York, Lucius was accidentally dropped by his companions and fell down two flights of stairs. He sustained fractures to his right femur and index finger, though because he couldn’t walk anyway his doctors elected not to splint either of the breaks.

30338.

Lucius Norval Monroe and his valet Mose (James Vanderhoo).

30339.

Unidentified.

30340.

Fred Wilson, Lobster Boy. From Somerville, Massachusetts.

30341.

Mme. Babault, the Lobster-Clawed Lady.

30342.

Unidentified.

30343.

Walter H. Stuart, Boston, Mass.

30344.

Ann E. Leak was born in Georgia on December 23, 1839. In spite of a prediction by her mother’s physician that she would die within a few days, she survived. While behind other’s her age in learning to walk she eventually learned to use her feet as most use their hands. She became so adept at using her feet she could skillfully sew and braid hair. Like many, her family lost their money and livelihood during the Civil War, so Miss Leak provided financially for both herself and them. For a while she gave classes in braiding, but the money wasn’t enough to support both her and her parents, so she, reluctantly at first, chose to exhibit her skills. Her first gig was at Barnum’s American Museum, something that she found difficult. But she accepted this way of life and, as she says in her autobiography, “Only the conviction that it seemed best reconciled me to it. My lot was not one of my own choosing, but such as Providence had assigned me, and my feet seemed to be directed in the path that I was about to tread. It is the doom of man that his sky should never be altogether without clouds.” She traveled around the East under the name Ann E. Leak Born Without Arms and while being taken advantage of a few times, for the most part, those she met in her travels treated her very well. She eventually married and traveled under the name Ann Leak Thompson. 

30345.

Written on verso “Mr. Jesse Feary The Mouth Writer, Born in New York City, Age up to year 21 Yrs., 1884.”

30346.

Charles Tripp, the Armless Wonder.

30347.

Written on verso “Charles B. Tripp. Woodstock Ontario Age 34 yrs. Mrs. Sarah Van Ross 622 North St. Meadville Pa. Sep. 1889.” Written by Tripp with his feet.

30348.

Written on verso “Charles B. Tripp, Woodstock, Ontario Age 32 y’s. John Billounge July 19 ’87.” Written by Tripp with his feet.

30349.

Written on verso “B.D. Jordan, Cuba, NY. Charles B. Tripp Woodstock Ontario Age 29 y’s.” Written by Tripp with his feet.

30350.

Written on verso “Thaddeus Fisher Benson, Ills. Charles B. Tripp Woodstock Ontario. Age 26 y’s.” Written by Tripp with his feet.

30399.

Alice Bounds and Mother. These individuals were afflicted with acromesomelic dysplasia, an extremely rare, inherited, progressive skeletal disorder that results in a particular form of short stature known as short-limb dwarfism. The disorder is characterized by acromelia and mesomelia. Mesomelia describes the shortening of the bones of the forearms and lower legs relative to the upper parts of those limbs. Acromelia is the shortening of the bones of the hands and feet. Thus, the short stature of affected individuals is the result of unusually short forearms and abnormal shortening of bones of the lower legs. The very short hands, fingers, feet, and toes are characteristic. These findings are apparent during the first years of life.

30407.

Maximo & Bartola, Aztecs of Ancient Mexico. Máximo and Bartola (also known as Maximo Valdez Nunez and Bartola Velasquez respectively) were the stage names of two Salvadoran siblings both suffering from microcephaly and cognitive developmental disability who were exhibited in human zoos in the 19th century. Originally from near Usulután, El Salvador, the siblings were given by their mother to a merchant who promised he would take them to Grenada to be educated and exhibited. They then went through several guardians afterwards. They were eventually billed as “Aztec Children” and an elaborate story was constructed of how they were found in the temple of a lost Mesoamerican city. They toured the U.S. and Europe, appearing before various regents and dignitaries.

30408.

Maximo & Bartola, Aztecs of Ancient Mexico. Máximo and Bartola (also known as Maximo Valdez Nunez and Bartola Velasquez respectively) were the stage names of two Salvadoran siblings both suffering from microcephaly and cognitive developmental disability who were exhibited in human zoos in the 19th century. Originally from near Usulután, El Salvador, the siblings were given by their mother to a merchant who promised he would take them to Grenada to be educated and exhibited. They then went through several guardians afterwards. They were eventually billed as “Aztec Children” and an elaborate story was constructed of how they were found in the temple of a lost Mesoamerican city. They toured the U.S. and Europe, appearing before various regents and dignitaries.

30409.

Unidentified pinhead.

30600.

Barney Nelson, armless boy.

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