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Lavinia Warren Stratton


Within a year of the “Thumbs’” wedding it was announced that the couple had become the proud parents of a baby girl, and images such as this portrait of Lavinia holding an infant appeared. Some years later, it was revealed that the story of the “Thumbs’” parenthood was a hoax, authored in all likelihood by P. T. Barnum but carried out with the cooperation of the supposed “parents.” In truth, the Strattons remained childless, and the baby Lavinia posed with came from a foundling home.


Mathew Brady Studio (active 18441883)
Albumen silver print
Frederick Hill Meserve Collection
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

 

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