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Becoming Tom Thumb
Charles Stratton, P. T. Barnum, and the Dawn of American Celebrity
Eric D. Lehman

The Driftless Connecticut Series
Garnet Books
Wesleyan University Press
2013 • 276 pp. 30 illus. 6 x 9"
Biography / American History

$28.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7331-5

$22.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7332-2

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

The definitive biography of an iconic American entertainer

When P. T. Barnum met twenty-five-inch-tall Charles Stratton at a Bridgeport, Connecticut hotel in 1843, one of the most important partnerships in entertainment history was born. With Barnum’s promotional skills and the miniature Stratton’s comedic talents, they charmed a Who’s Who of the 19th century, from Queen Victoria to Charles Dickens to Abraham Lincoln. Adored worldwide as “General Tom Thumb,” Stratton played to sold-out shows for almost forty years. From his days as a precocious child star to his tragic early death, Becoming Tom Thumb tells the full story of this iconic figure for the first time. It details his triumphs on the New York stage, his epic celebrity wedding, and his around-the-world tour, drawing on newly available primary sources and interviews. From the mansions of Paris to the deserts of Australia, Stratton’s unique brand of Yankee comedy not only earned him the accolades of millions of fans, it helped move little people out of the side show and into the lime light.

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“This well-researched biography is evocative and entertaining, always good-humored, and treats its main figure with respect.”—Neil Harris, author of Humbug: The Art of P. T. Barnum

“With this book, Eric Lehman has contributed positively and significantly to the history of Charles Stratton, and I am sure his work will inspire others to continue to uncover the story of this great American performer.”
Michael Chemers, author of Staging Stigma

ERIC D. LEHMAN teaches travel literature and creative writing at the University of Bridgeport. He is the author of seven books, including Insiders’ Guide to Connecticut and Bridgeport: Tales from the Park City. His essays, reviews, and stories have appeared in dozens of journals and magazines.

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A Driftless Connecticut Series Book
This book is a selection in The Driftless Connecticut Series,
for an outstanding book in any field on a Connecticut topic
or written by a Connecticut author.
The Driftless Connecticut Series is funded by the
Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund
at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
For more information and a complete list of books in The Driftless Connecticut Series,
please visit us online at

Fri, 8 Aug 2014 12:19:50 -0500