Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump (1841-1919) was the most famous female little person of the 19th century, but more than that — she was one of the most famous people of the 19th century period. Descended from no less than five Mayflower passengers, she began her professional working life as a schoolteacher, then began singing on a cousin’s riverboat. First courted by fellow performing little person Commodore Nutt, she was to go with the most eligible and appropriate bachelor of her time, General Tom Thumb. Her glorious wedding in 1863, orchestrated by P.T. Barnum was one of the most talked about events of the 19th century, and provided some badly needed whimsy when the nation was mired in the absolute depths of the Civil War. She and her famous husband toured the world and became fabulously wealthy. When the General passed away in 1883, Warren was to marry Count Primo Magri.
To find out about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
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