Today is the birthday of Pauline Musters (1876-1895), at 23 inches tall the smallest woman ever recorded. She began to be exhibited when still an infant; in later years, she acquired dancing and acrobatic skills to enhance the act. She was billed as “Lady Dot’, “the Midget Mite”, and “Princess Paulina”. A native of the Netherlands, she toured extensively in Western Europe before coming to the U.S. in 1895 to play the vaudeville house Proctor’s Fifth Avenue. It is while she was staying in New York that she contracted pneumonia and died.
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.