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Anna Swan and the circus featured in Colchester Historeum exhibit and presentation

Margaret Mulrooney, curator at the Colchester Historeum, holds a boot that was worn by Anna Swan. The boot, approximately size 16, is currently on display, for the first time ever, at the historeum.
Margaret Mulrooney, curator at the Colchester Historeum, holds a boot that was worn by Anna Swan. The boot, approximately size 16, is currently on display, for the first time ever, at the historeum. - Lynn Curwin

TRURO, N.S.

Anna Swan gained worldwide fame after PT Barnum promoted her in his shows as “the tallest girl in the world.”

This Thursday, Dale Swan, Anna’s great-grand-nephew and a volunteer at the Anna Swan Museum in Tatamagouche, will provide an illustrated talk which includes many fascinating details, about her and PT Barnum. It is scheduled for 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Anna Haining Swan was born Aug. 6, 1846, in New Annan. Her parents were of average height but she was a large baby and grew quickly. When she was 10 she measured 6-ft. 1-in. and when she stopped growing she was 7-ft. 11-in., although PT Barnum promoted her as being 8-ft. 1-in. She had 12 siblings, all of average height.

She moved to New York after PT Barnum offered her work as an attraction at the American Museum, with monthly salary of $1,000.

She and Martin Van Buren Bates, who was 7-ft. 9-in. and known as “The Kentucky Giant,” met and married. They had two children, a daughter who was stillborn and a son who lived only a few hours.

After Anna and Martin stopped touring they spent most of their time on their farm in Ohio, where they had a house built with tall ceilings and doors, and were often visited by other people who had performed in shows and circuses.

Anna died of heart failure, in her sleep, on Aug.5, 1888.

 

 

FACTBOX:


Anna Swan and P. T. Barnum, Colchester’s Giantess and the Greatest Showman

When: Thursday, Jan. 25, 7:30 – 9 p.m.

Where: Colchester Historeum, 29 Young St.

What: An illustrated talk by Dale Swan about Anna Swan and P. T. Barnum

Admission: $5; free for members.

 

 

 

P.T. Barnum
P.T. Barnum

 

 

 

 

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