Tom Thumb Day
Charles Sherwood Stratton was a small person (or dwarf) when he was born. To honor this actor, Tom Thumb Day was established.
Charles Sherwood Stratton, a Connecticut baby born in 1838 was a large one. He grew normal for six months before suddenly stopping growing. He grew very slowly for six months. However, he still had all the normal functions that children his age could perform. He was just over 2 feet tall until he turned nine years old. Then he began to grow slowly to his final height, 35 inches.
P.T. Barnum, a circus legend, learned about Stratton and took him under his wing. He taught him how to sing, dance, impersonate, and even act like famous people. Barnum marketed the act under the name “General Tom Thumb” and it brought Stratton fame. He performed for Queen Victoria and Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII). Stratton married Lavinia Warren on the same day. His new wife was even welcomed at the White House by Abraham Lincoln, then US President.
Stratton was known for his act of General Tom Thumb, which saw him impersonating famous characters like Napoleon and Cupid. He also performed long fairytale plays for Barnum. Many people believed he was exploited for his size. Others believe his fame was due to his talents as an entertainer. After becoming wealthy, Stratton was able to partner with Barnum in business and help him through financial difficulties.
Because it’s Charles Sherman Stratton’s birthday, Tom Thumb Day is observed each January 4. This day celebrates the life and talents of Stratton and encourages others with unique features to work hard and overcome obstacles to reach their full potential.
These ideas will help you celebrate Tom Thumb Day, no matter how small or big it may seem.
Tom Thumb Day provides a great opportunity to learn more about General Tom Thumb and Charles Sherman Stratton. You can learn more about his life, struggles, and the reality of being a small person in late 1800s America by reading a book and watching a documentary.
It could be someone who is smaller, someone with different skin colors or someone with a disability. No matter what your situation, take some time to remember and appreciate those who have overcome all odds. Send a card to someone you care about who has overcome obstacles or made it through difficult times. To celebrate Tom Thumb Day, encourage the underdog and cheer for someone!