Mrs. Tom Thumb

Lavinia Warren and "baby", by Brady
Lavinia Warren and “baby”, by Brady

If you’re familiar with the story of Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, you’ll know they were married for twenty-some years but never had a child of their own. P.T. Barnum, though, thought it would make for a good story for them to have a baby. Lavinia Warren was unable to bear children, so Barnum would simply rent a baby for them to pose with, and when the baby got too big, he’d go out and rent another one. This is one of the earliest “Baby Thumb” photos, as part of a set of images commissioned from Mathew Brady by P.T. Barnum to promote the Thumbs.

Lavinia Warren, by Appleton
Lavinia Warren, by Appleton

Another CDV of just Lavinia Warren. This is an unusual image that I hadn’t seen before. It really gives you a sense of how small she was, as you get a sense of scale from the chair she’s sitting in- she’s sitting on a bolster and still is barely above the top of the back of the chair.

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