John Rogan, “The Negro Giant”


Rogan, Hanging With His “Shorty”

This post is one of a series honoring Black History Month.

John Rogan (ca. 1865-1905) was one of the tallest men reported since the beginning of modern record keeping, eventually reaching a height of 8′ 9″. A native of Sumner County, Tennessee he spent most of his earlier life on crutches. By his young adulthood he couldn’t stand or walk at all, and had to be pushed around on a cart. He earned his living by selling souvenir photos of himself at the local train station. Newspapers of the time billed him as “The Negro Giant”.

He is the second tallest person in recorded history, after Robert Wadlow (whom we will be profiling tomorrow).

To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.


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