Getting ready for the HTC

Tomorrow I fly to Boston to begin a week of research in the Harvard Theatre Collection. This will be my first real visit to the HTC – I had a brief tour of the Houghton Library in 2008 as part of a conference but that was just a glance. Now I’ll be immersing myself completely for five … Continue reading Getting ready for the HTC

Phrenological wonder

This week I had a chance to follow a rather peculiar tip and fell down a most unusual rabbit hole. I’m beginning to think that an exploration of the material outlined below might make for an interesting conference paper or even eventually an article or book chapter… Clara Morris’s Head In her 1897 memoirs, actress … Continue reading Phrenological wonder

China’s “Dwarf Empire”

Just came across this provocative photo series by Sanne de Wilde, which documents “The Dwarf Empire” in China, a theme park populated by hundreds of “little people.” I can’t help but see connections to the nineteenth century performances of Charles Stratton, Lavinia Warren, and others.  For more, read Sean O’Hagan’s Guardian article here.

Snuff boxes

Another object of fascination: snuff boxes. I came across a large collection of snuff boxes bearing Master Betty’s image while I was doing research at the Folger Shakespeare Library several years ago but I haven’t had time to reflect on their significance until now. Though one of my next steps will involve looking for histories of … Continue reading Snuff boxes

Tables and chairs

I’ve become obsessed with tables and chairs lately, particularly tables and chairs  as they appear in images of Charles Stratton, Lavinia Warren, and other dwarf (or little person) performers of the nineteenth century. Now tables and chairs are rather common furniture items and figure prominently in nineteenth century portrait photography, especially photographs of middle-class families, wherein wives stand … Continue reading Tables and chairs

Researchers ready, set…

Today I met with my Research Assistants, Molly, Anthony, and Julie, who will be working with me on the project this year. I’m excited to see what we discover as we follow related research paths… More soon.