R.J. James: The Ohio Fat Boy

500 lb R.J. James hailed from Wayne County, Ohio, and went by the billing “The Ohio Fat Boy”. He is known to have performed with Drew’s Dime Museum in Cleveland and Sells Brothers Circus in the 1880s. The fact that he was photographed by Chas. Eisennmann indicates that he almost certainly worked the dime museums on New York’s Bowery as well. It is interesting to note that the “fat boy/baby/lady” sideshow category has, like tattooed people, largely ceased to register as any sort of oddity to speak of. Go to the mall — you will be likely to see NUMEROUS people on the order of R.J. James, and for free. Just one more way in which America has become Sideshow Nation.