An 1880s poster for General Mite and Millie Edwards, a pair of little people who were exhibited around the world as “The Royal American Midgets”, likely due their popularity with European monarchs.
As I’ve said before, I don’t find so-called “freaks” odd in the slightest, I do, however, find it odd that people would pay money to go and stare at them, especially when “people” are royalty. As the poster shows, for example, Queen Victoria was especially fond of these demeaning spectacles, as demonstrated by her inviting General Mite, and other little people, Lucia Zarate and Commodore Nutt, over to Buckingham Palace for her family to have a good old gawp at. According to Her Majesty’s journal, on February 26th 1881, after having breakfast, she:
saw in the corridor some wonderful little dwarfs, called midgets Gen: Mite, the boy, is American, perfectly well proportioned, like a doll, said to be 16, & weighing 6 lbs. He has quite a nice little face, & was dressed like a young gentleman. The girl, Signora Zarate, is a Mexican, weighing little over 4 lbs, perfectly hideous & semi-idiotic, very dark, & with a face like Aztecs. She was smartly dressed, with a train! They walked up & down a long table, arm in arm. Commodore Nutt, an American (very ugly) came at the same time. He is an ordinary dwarf. - The pond in the garden is frozen over.
The poster seems to depict a subsequent visit with Mite accompanied by Edwards. Lucia Zarate, “appeared by special command three times before Queen Victoria and the Royal Family”, whilst perhaps the most famous little person of the era, General Tom Thumb, appeared twice before the Queen and met a three year old Edward VII during a 1844 tour.
[Thanks to Sir Cecil for providing the inspiration for this]