General Tom Thumb

Web Tom Thumb Waistcoat (c) Museums WorcestershireThis ornate waistcoat and delicate slippers are part of a collection of fine clothing which belonged to Charles Sherwood Stratton, now part of the Worcester City Museum Collection.

Stratton was an American actor who is better known by his stage name, General Tom Thumb, which was given to him because of his dwarfism. Born in Connecticut in 1838, Stratton was just four when he was hired as part of his distant relative P T Barnum’s touring circus. Stratton proved to be a quick learner and a natural actor.  His performances involved singing, dancing and impersonations including Napoleon Bonaparte.

Although it was curiosity about his height which launched his career, it was Stratton’s natural talent that made him an extremely wealthy man who toured the world and became one of the most famous people of his time. When he died at the age of 45, ten thousand people flocked to see his body lying in state.

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