Historical information

Taken in the late 1800s, depicted is a portrait of Charles Sherwood Stratton (professionally known as General Tom Thumb). He is dressed in a formal suit.

Charles Sherwood Stratton was an American performer who traveled with the Barnum & Bailey Circus. The show was founded by Phineas Taylor (P. T.) Barnum in 1871. Charles participated in various acts including singing, dancing, miming, and celebrity impersonations. He gained international fame for his successful career and small physical stature.

Charles performed in Australia in August 1870. He was joined by his touring party as part of the Barnum & Bailey Circus "Round the World" tour. The "Australian Tom Thumb", real name John David Armstrong, made his "audaciously competitive" stage debut alongside Charles when the circus performed at the Prahran Popular Entertainments in Melbourne.

Charles, P. T. Barnum and the circus inspired the popular musical drama film, "The Greatest Showman" (2017).


The photograph is historically significant due to Stratton's status and legacy as an internationally renowned performer. Furthermore, the record relates to the history of performance in Victoria during the late nineteenth century. It illustrates the type of entertainment that was enjoyed by the public during this time.

Physical description

Black and white rectangular photograph printed on matte photographic paper.

Inscriptions & markings

3712 /