Sophia Schultz: Triple Threat of the Freak Show

Little Person Sophia Schultz was working on a triple pitch: she could bill herself as a minutely statured, bearded fat lady. The last two are of course cultivated attributes, and truth to tell she didn’t get very far with either of them. She did attempt to grow her facial hair out, and as you can see from the photo above, she has a sort of wispy van dyke going. I’ve seen skimpier ones on dudes at the county fair! And she didn’t really achieve the level of rotundity one would expect to see after buying tickers for the privilege. She’s no Ohio Fat Boy! But she was most definitely of dwarf stature. Author Michael Mitchell speculated that she suffered from hypothyroidism, which suggests that she may also have been mentally impaired. There is little to no biographical information on her, although she was photographed in New York, Boston, and Baltimore in the 1880s, which implies that she was exhibited at dime museums in those cities as well. And if Schultz was her given name, she was likely of German extraction.

For more on performing little people please check out Rose’s Royal Midgets and Other Little People in Vaudeville.